When the going got tough, St Ives Town got going last night.
Ricky Marheineke’s side snapped a run of five successive defeats when triumphing 1-0 at Frome in the Southern League Premier Division clash.
An early Dubi Ogbonna penalty provided the only breakthrough as the depleted Saints claimed a welcome and well-deserved victory in a re-arranged fixture.
Marheineke was only able to call on 11 senior players and one young substitute for the 350-mile, seven-hour round trip to deepest Somerset, but they were excellent to a man.
Marheineke said: “We could easily have felt sorry for ourselves being so short of players, but every one of them showed they wanted to be here and worked hard for each other.
“We left at 2pm, we didn’t get home until 2am and a lot of lads had to take time off work, but they picked up a terrific result earned by an excellent performance.
“We probably should have been further ahead by half-time and also hit the bar in the second half. I did fear we might be made to pay for not scoring more goals, but our goalkeeper came up with a couple of really important saves when we needed him.
“I’ve been critical of the number of goals we have conceded in recent games, but we defended our box superbly. We know we have to work hard to give ourselves an opportunity of winning games at this level and we did that.”
The rapid pace of loan ace Tom Knowles earned the spot-kick which gave Saints an early advantage.
He was clipped by defender Ben Whiteley when shaping to shoot following a quick counter-attack which stemmed from a Frome corner.
Ogbonna made no mistake from the spot and could have doubled the lead moments later when thwarted as he attempted to go round home goalkeeper Kyle Phillips.
Wideman Ben Baker was also close to a second St Ives goal before the break when steering a Luke Warner-Eley cross wide at full-stretch.
The same player then came even closer 10 minutes into the second half when firing a fierce shot against the underside of the bar
Moments of danger at the other end were few and far between for a Saints defence impeccably marshalled by centre-backs Daniel Moyes and Charlie De’Ath.
But goalkeeper Tim Trebes was called upon to make two smart saves in quick succession in the final quarter-of-an-hour to deny Frome dangerman Jon Davies.
The frustrated home side were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when kipper Shaun Teale was red-carded for a reckless lunge on Ogbonna.
The effects of that challenge forced the Saints goalscorer out of the dying moments with youngster Gordon Torkornoo introduced for a first-team debut.
Saints have back-to-back home clashes against play-off chasing opponents in the coming days.
They entertain Chesham at ProEdge Westwood Road on Saturday before hosting Slough Town on Tuesday.