St Ives Town are mathematically certain of Southern League Premier Division survival – but manager Ricky Marheineke was in no mood to boast about it.

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke was proud of the efforts of his team and the volunteers who ensured their game against Hereford went ahead.St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke was proud of the efforts of his team and the volunteers who ensured their game against Hereford went ahead.

Saints were involved in a goalless draw at rock-bottom Gosport Borough on Saturday as they snapped a run of four successive defeats.

It was an outcome which left Marheineke’s men 17 points clear of their basement opponents in a campaign where only the rock-bottom finishers will face the drop.

And Saints should be grateful for that. Were this a typical season where the bottom four are relegated, they would find themselves the same margin from safety.

A rare clean sheet was a source of positivity for Marheineke at Gosport, but a series of squandered second-half chances only served to highlight why his side find themselves sitting third-bottom of the standings.

“To be at this level again next season was our target and it’s great that it’s now mathematically certain,” said Marheineke. “But it certainly doesn’t mask the fact that we’ve had a poor season.

“This was another game which highlighted why we find ourselves in the position we do.

“Our goalkeeper didn’t have to make a save in 93 minutes of football and it’s pleasing to have a clean sheet because they have been few and far between.

“We never looked like conceding and it was a question of whether we could get a goal to win the game, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

“We had three glorious chances in the second half and didn’t take any of them. We should be talking about a 3-0 victory, but we’re reflecting on a 0-0 draw instead.

“It was still a huge improvement based on what we produced at St Neots a couple of days earlier.”

There was little excitement in a dour opening period, but Saints created a series of excellent opportunities in the second half.

Ben Baker saw a goalbound effort deflected wide before an unmarked Charlie De’Ath was unable to get a telling touch to a Tom Knowles corner seconds later.

Those two players then reversed roles as Saints fashioned another glorious chance with Knowles heading wide from 10 yards after being picked out by a fine De’Ath cross.

The woodwork prevented them hitting the front inside the final quarter-of-an-hour as Knowles’ low cut-back was deflected against his own post by Borough defender Rob Flooks.

Declan Rogers saw a 25-yard effort kept out by a smart save from the resulting corner before Lloyd Groves headed wide from the next flag-kick.

And Rogers then spurned Saints’ final chance to earn maximum points when steering a Rogan McGeorge cross over the bar from close range.

Saints entertain Redditch tomorrow night (Tuesday) in the first of four home games in a week. They also host Basingstoke on Thursday, Dorchester on Saturday and Stratford next Tuesday.