St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke questioned the attitude and ability of his players following a fifth successive defeat.

Tom Knowles puts St Ives Town ahead early on in their 4-2 defeat to Farnborough. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHYTom Knowles puts St Ives Town ahead early on in their 4-2 defeat to Farnborough. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHY

Saints slumped to a 4-2 home loss at the hands of Farnborough in the Southern League Premier Division yesterday to continue a worrying slump.

Marheineke’s men enjoyed an upturn in form around the turn of the year, but they have since allowed their standards to slip with dismal defending being the biggest concern.

Declan Rogers uses his head for St Ives Town against Farnborough. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHYDeclan Rogers uses his head for St Ives Town against Farnborough. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHY

That was again in evidence yesterday when Saints were masters of their own downfall after initially hitting the front through loan star Tom Knowles.

But their lead last only five minutes as Connor Calcutt levelled from 25 yards and another four minutes later Marheineke’s men found themselves behind when Andrew Sealey-Harris was gifted a free header from a corner.

St Ives Town defender Jordan Jarrold during the club's recent defeat to Farnborough. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHYSt Ives Town defender Jordan Jarrold during the club's recent defeat to Farnborough. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHY

And the hosts’ deficit increased early in the second half following a calamitous mix-up and collision between captain Charlie De’Ath and goalkeeper Tim Trebes which left Sealey-Harris able to stroll the ball into the empty net.

Marheineke unleashed striker Dubi Ogbonna from the bench on the hour and he needed only five minutes to make an impact when firing in a low shot through a crowd of players.

Saints then upped the ante as they went in search of a leveller, but that left them vulnerable to quick counter-attacks and one such break led to Farnborough’s clinching goal as Michael Fernandes had too much speed and strength for Jordan Jarrold before beating Trebes with a quarter-of-an-hour to go.

Defender Danny Kelly was thrown up front late on and squandered a glorious chance to set up an exciting climax, but instead Saints were left to reflect on another self-inflicted defeat.

“We’re good going forward, but absolutely embarrassing defensively,” snapped Marheineke. “We allowed a player to have a free shot for the first Farnborough goal and then gave them a free header for their second.

“People were actually laughing about the mix-up between my goalkeeper and captain for the third goal – it was that comical - and the final Farnborough goal stemmed from one of our corners with a player having two opportunities to clear the ball.

“It’s quite simply not good enough, but do I see it changing anytime soon? Probably not.

“I don’t think the players care enough and to brutally honest they’re probably not good enough so we have some decisions to make going forward.

“They have another game on Tuesday night to try to change my opinion, but we need to stop conceding three and four goals in matches for that to happen.

“I can’t question the effort of the lads, but they are making far too many stupid mistakes. There is still a chance we could go down and that’s not a position we want to be in with 12 games to go.

“I let the players know I was angry after we threw it away at Merthyr, but we had more of an open discussion after this game. I don’t think screaming and shouting has a positive effect in any way.

“The players all had an input and some of the things they said have given me food for thought, but first and foremost they have to stop letting each other down.”

Saints are back on home turf on Tuesday – weather permitting – when hosting Redditch in a rearranged clash.