St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke blasted a catalogue of controversial refereeing decisions after his side were pipped by Southern League Premier Division Central title favourites Kettering Town last Saturday.

Marheineke insisted it was official Shaun Barry, rather than the pacesetting Poppies, who was responsible for his side's 2-1 loss at Westwood Road in a game which attracted a crowd of 639.

Saints hit the front through a Robbie Parker penalty in the first half, but succumbed to two Kettering goals in the second period either side of the visitors seeing a contentious penalty saved by Saints keeper Martin Conway.

And Saints then had a strong appeal for a second penalty of their own ignored late on as they attempted to salvage a point.

"I'm really angry as we were not beaten by Kettering," snapped Marheineke. "We were beaten by a referee who is unfit for this level of football based on that performance.

"Thanks to one man - and one man only - we've been robbed of what could have been an excellent result against the league leaders.

"Kettering were given the softest penalty I've ever seen by a linesman 25 yards away, there was a clear foul in the build-up to their winning goal, and then we had an absolute stonewall penalty not given with two minutes to go.

"There is no doubt in my mind the referee bottled some big decisions and cost my team.

"I'm sick and tired of this happening to little St Ives Town. We don't get decisions from referees who are scared to make mistakes against the so-called big clubs."

Saints have now gone six league games without a victory - being involved in four draws and two defeats in that time - but they remain 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

Marheineke expects the capture of Gavin Hoyte to be completed this week.

The former St Neots Town defensive colossus will arrive at Westwood Road from Step 4 side Bedford Town.

Saints go to Banbury this Saturday when another defender, Charlie De'Ath, will be available after serving a one-match ban against Kettering.

But striker Danny Kelly, who can also operate in defence, is out with a hamstring injury.