JON Benton marked his return from injury with a superb 82nd minute strike to help Southend United’s under-18 side register their first victory of the season.

Benton struck with eight minutes remaining to secure the Shrimpers a 2-1 win against Stevenage at Boots & Laces.

And the youngster was delighted to come back with a bang.

“It was good to be back on the pitch and it was a touch to get a goal in the first game back,” said Benton.

“When it fell to me on the edge of the box it was like it was too good to be true but it was a good finish to find the bottom corner.

“It was good for me and it was good for the team as well.”

Benton was joined on the scoresheet by Oli Coker and the midfielder was thrilled to help Blues pick up all three points.

“It’s been tough for the under-18s,” said the midfielder.

“They work hard every day and I know the coaches work their hardest as well.

“It was good to get on the pitch and to help them get the result that they needed, not just for myself but for the team as well.”

Benton suffered his injury 10 months ago but it was not until after he had helped the Shrimpers reach the area final of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup that he was diagnosed with a fractured foot.

And it was tough for the teenager to be on the sidelines.

“I got injured in November in the FA Youth Cup, I had a few hospital appointments and they couldn’t really figure out what I’d done,” said Benton.

“I wanted to play but it was a bit painful.

“The last game I played was the Cambridge game in the semi-final and I managed to score with my fractured foot!

“I was in good form and it was a shame to get the injury.

“It set me back a bit, but it’s good that it’s led me to be 100 per cent fit at the start of the season and it’s good to take off where I left off.

“I’m hoping to get many more goals throughout the season as well.

“It’s not been the nicest of times but setbacks happen in football and I felt as though I dealt with it well.”

Blues opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Coker opened his account for the campaign with a well-taken effort.

However, Stevenage equalised shortly afterwards with a fine finish from Finlay Johnson.

But Blues hit back to triumph eight minutes from time when the fit-again Benton accurately fired home from long range.

And the teenager is now keen to build on his impressive comeback.

“I would like to get some games in the under-23s and I’d like to get a chance to train with the first team too,” he added.