NON-LEAGUE: Fitting finish to a fine season for St Ives Town

St Ives Town are all smiles following their win at Coalville last Saturday. Picture: SUBMITTED

St Ives Town are all smiles following their win at Coalville last Saturday. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

If St Ives Town ever appeared on Mastermind, their specialist subject would almost certainly be gaining 1-0 victories.

It’s the way they like to get their business done. Grab a goal. Defend for your lives. Pocket three points.

That’s how the curtain came down on the Southern League Premier Division campaign last Saturday when Ricky Marheineke’s men sealed their best-ever finish of 13th with an eye-catching triumph at Coalville.

Ben Seymour-Shove – a player in sparkling form in the closing weeks of the season – provided the only breakthrough on the half-hour before his defensive colleagues shut up shop in the second period when the high-scoring hosts went on the attack.

In fact they became the first side to prevent sixth-placed Coalville scoring in a home match all season. Saints’ 16th clean sheet of the campaign (in 42 league matches) was achieved despite losing Owen Wallis to injury in the warm-up.

Marheineke said: “We challenged the players to do two things in this game – not to get beaten by a team who had already won at our place and to try to keep a clean sheet as no other side had managed that at Coalville.

“They are among the leading scorers in the division but they have also conceded a lot of goals and felt we would get chances ourselves.

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“That’s how it panned out in the first half when the only slight disappointment is we didn’t take more of the good opportunities that came our way.

“We expected Coalville to come at us hard in the second half which they did, but as we have done so many times this season we defended our lead brilliantly.

“We’re fiercely proud of the number of clean sheets we’ve kept and to have conceded so few goals.

“Of course we would have liked to have scored a few more and that will be one of the challenges for next season.”

But an excellent campaign certainly won’t tempt Marheineke to make bold predictions of further progress next term.

The feet of the Saints chief remain firmly on the ground and he’ll ensure those of everyone connected to the club stay there too.

“We should never forget that success for St Ives Town is staying at Step 3,” added Marheineke.

“It’s something we have managed again this season and that will also be the goal next season as well.

“Anything beyond that is a bonus in terms of league position and cup runs, which are something we certainly want to improve on.”