SAM Bantick came back to haunt his former club as Canvey Island recorded a 3-2 Isthmian North triumph over Heybridge Swifts.

Bantick marked his full debut by claiming a brace of goals inside the opening 13 minutes at the Aspen Waite Arena.

Jason Hallett also netted in the Gulls’ victory and boss Mark Bentley was keen to praise Bantick after making a flying start to his Canvey career.

“Against a team who are flying at the moment, we stood up and were counted,” said Bentley.

“It was a great performance from us and we started very well.

“Bano has come in to score goals - that’s what he is all about.

“He’s a good player who is misjudged by a lot of people on the outside.

“I have got to know him over a year of conversations where I have been trying to get him to the club.

“He will be very good for us and I’m delighted for him.

“It was a great start for him and he was buzzing.”

Bantick gave Canvey an early lead by finding the corner of the net.

And Bantick doubled the Gulls’ advantage soon after by rounding off a fine team move which involved Hallett and Albert Levett.

Heybridge halved the deficit on 27 minutes as Harrison Chatting struck the post and former Gull Jordan Cox slotted home the rebound.

However, Canvey’s two-goal advantage was restored soon after the hour mark thanks to Hallett’s curling effort.

Alex Teniola bundled home from close range to make for a nervy final moments, but Canvey held on to secure all three points.

And, having seen the Gulls suffer a heavy defeat to Histon in their last Isthmian North outing, Bentley was pleased with his side’s display.

“It was definitely one of our best performances of the season,” added Bentley.

“I have questioned our character, certainly after the defeat against Histon last week.

“A lot was said and I dug a few individuals out.

“I was looking for a response because it was sink or swim time.

“They had to either take the criticism and prove me wrong or go under and leave the club.

“Everyone pulled together and it was a great performance and great result.”