Ricky Marheineke accepts that St Ives Town have to plug their defensive leaks if they are to win their survival fight.

St Ives Town striker Dylan Wilson scored both of their goals in the home defeat at the hands of Lowestoft Town. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONTSt Ives Town striker Dylan Wilson scored both of their goals in the home defeat at the hands of Lowestoft Town. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT

Saints missed an opportunity to climb out of the Southern League Premier Division Central drop-zone last Saturday when beaten 5-2 by fellow bottom-six side Lowestoft Town at Westwood Road.

Marheineke's men have now leaked nine goals in their last two home games following a 4-3 defeat at the hands of AFC Rushden & Diamonds on New Year's Day.

And they have already shipped 11 more goals this term (53 in 26 games) than they conceded in the whole of the 2018/19 campaign.

Marheineke said: "There's no denying it was a really poor result against Lowestoft in a game which we had identified as one in which we needed to pick up points.

St Ives Town captain Robbie Parker saw an early penalty saved in the loss to Lowestoft Town. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONTSt Ives Town captain Robbie Parker saw an early penalty saved in the loss to Lowestoft Town. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT

"Creating chances and scoring goals is not an issue any longer, but preventing them at other end certainly has become a problem.

"That is a major reason why we are sitting second-bottom and fighting to stay up, and we have to bring down the number of goals we concede.

"We want to get out of this situation and we know from the backing the fans are giving us that we're not alone in that. The players again showed much they care as well."

Saints were boosted by the return of former favourite Andrew Osei-Bonsu after a spell at Billericay Town and there was also a new face between the posts.

Bradley Lashley was drafted in from Northampton Town after Saints lost previous number one Finley Iron, who was recalled by Cambridge United and immediately dispatched out to St Neots Town, last week.

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Lashley has joined on an initial 28-day deal which is then likely to be extended, and made a number of smart saves despite conceding five times during his debut.

It was a tale of two penalties as Saints fell behind early on. Captain Robbie Parker's eighth-minute spot-kick was saved by Lowestoft keeper Luis Tibbles but Malachi Linton made no mistake at the other end moments later.

Saints man Ben Seymour-Shove and Trawlerboys forward Jacek Zielonka missed glorious chances before the visitors doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time as Connor Deeks blasted through a crowd of players.

There was still time in the first half for Seymour-Shove to see a strong penalty appeal ignored and soon after the action resumed a Matt Foy goal was wrongly ruled out for offside.

Any hopes of a Saints revival in the second period were then dashed when they conceded twice in the space of 60 seconds.

Miguel Lopez glanced in a third Lowestoft goal in the 53rd minute and it was rapidly followed by an Andrew Fisk effort after slips from Lashley and Saints defender Tom Wood.

Saints refused to roll over as they hit back with a quick double of their own from Dylan Wilson who bagged a seven-minute brace. He classily tucked away a Foy pass in the 57th minute before slamming in an Aaron Phillips cross to take another chunk out of the hosts' arrears.

Those Wilson goals sandwiched a fine double-save from Lashley but the debutant Saints keeper was beaten again by Zielonka late on.

Marheineke added: "We're coming in for a lot of criticism and rightly so as we're not getting results, but this was another case of the scoreline not telling the story of how well we played.

"We could easily have been 2-0 up but found ourselves 1-0 down after giving away a silly penalty, and Ben then missed a chance he tucks away 99 times out of 100.

"Other things (such as not getting a penalty before half-time and the disallowed goal) also went against us."

Saints go to Stourbridge this Saturday, 3pm.