St Ives Town returned to winning ways in the Southern League Premier Division Central last Saturday – thanks to the imagination of assistant manager Craig ‘Bully’ Adams and the excellent execution of their players.
Set-piece goals from defenders Ben Jackson and Charlie De’Ath inspired a second-half turnaround and earned a 2-1 triumph against relegation battlers Hitchin Town at Westwood Road.
Both goals arrived from corner routines delivered by Ben Seymour-Shove and for which manager Ricky Marheineke was quick to deliver credit to his number two.
“Bully works endlessly on set pieces and I’m delighted for him that both of our goals came from rehearsed corners,” said Marheineke.
“We lost at Hitchin last month and we didn’t want to see them take six points off us. It looked like that might happen at half-time, but we did very well in the second half.”
Seymour-Shove and Ollie Snaith both squandered good opportunities to put Saints ahead before they fell behind just before the half-hour mark to an Isaac Galliford goal.
They had to wait until three minutes into the second half to level when Jackson pounced on a Seymour-Shove corner at the far post.
And the same supply line was responsible when Saints completed their comeback on the hour as De’Ath getting on the end of another Seymour-Shove flag-kick with a powerful header.
“It was a really even first half,” added Marheineke. “We had two very good chances that we didn’t take and then found ourselves behind after Hitchin’s first real attack.
“I don’t think we deserved to be behind at the break, but we hadn’t really been on it in the first half either.
“We were too sluggish for my liking and we told seven or eight lads at half-time that they really needed to up their level of performance.
“They provided the perfect response as we stopped Hitchin from having possession, showed a lot more bravery on the ball and got the goals we needed.”
Saints remain much closer to the Premier Division Central play-off places (six points) than the relegation zone (13 points).
They face another team fighting for survival this Saturday when travelling to second-bottom Halesowen, 3pm. That is followed by a re-arranged trip to Leicestershire side Barwell on Tuesday, 7.45pm.
A couple of new faces could feature in the Saints’ squad for those games with Marheineke keen on making additions – particularly in defence following the loss of loan player Sam Cartwright.