St Ives Town star Josh Dawkin suffered a horrific injury on the final day of the Southern League Premier Division season.
Dawkin was taken to hospital in Swindon with a double-break of the right leg in the club’s 2-0 defeat at champions Chippenham. He underwent lengthy surgery on Sunday.
The Saints’ leading scorer was injured in a 42nd minute challenge with a home player which went unpunished. The match was delayed for more than an hour.
Marheineke said: “The performance and result are irrelevant on a day like this – everyone’s thoughts are just with Josh.
“It was a poor challenge and it was immediately clear Josh was in a bad way.
“We’re very grateful for the way our physio Liam Peaks, intern Gemma Smith and club secretary Marina Howlett, who is a nurse in the intensive care unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, looked after him while we waited for an ambulance to arrive.
“Josh was obviously in a hell of a lot of pain, but he was cracking jokes by the time he was lifted into the ambulance.
“He’s a great guy who has been an unbelievable player for us since coming in last summer.
“Our players were distressed to see a friend and a team-mate suffer an injury like that, but credit to them for completing the game in a professional manner.”
Saints, who already trailed 2-0 at the time of Dawkin’s injury, have finished their debut campaign of Step 3 football in 15th place in the Premier Division standings.
Their season could still come complete with a silver lining as they entertain relegated Hayes & Yeading in the League Challenge Cup final next Saturday.
One man who won’t feature in that game is Jack Higgs. Marheineke confirmed the midfielder left the club last night after learning he was only due to be a substitute against Chippenham.
“It’s a very selfish decision from Jack eight days before the end of the season,” added Marheineke. “As far as I’m concerned he has let his team-mates down.”