St Ives suffered more Southern League Premier Division heartbreak when being hit by a pair of latre Hitchin sucker-punches on Tuesday night.

They succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at ProEdge Westwood Road after conceding in the 89th minute and again in stoppage time as the visitors snatched victory.

It was a result arguably more difficult to stomach than any of the previous 14 league losses suffered by Ricky Marheineke's men in what is fast turning into a torrid season.

Saints led courtesy of a James Hall penalty – awarded after Tom McGowan was wrestled to the ground at a corner - just before the half-hour mark, but the pivotal moment of the match arrived eight minutes into the second half.

Goalkeeper James Goff fluffed a clearance that was seized upon by Hitchin frontman Jonny McNamara. His bobbling shot looked bound for the net until being blocked by the recovering defender Daniel Moyes.

Referee Robert Evans deemed Moyes had used an arm to keep out the effort and promptly issued the first red card of the club legend's long career. It was a conteoversial decision which completed a miserable night for Moyes who suffered a broken nose in the first half when being caught by an elbow.

Lucas Kilpatrick tucked away the resulting penalty, but Saints shrugged off their numerical disadvantage to perform superbly until being undone in the dying moments.

Josh Bickerstaff was allowed to rise unchallenged to head in a corner as Hitchin hit the front and Elliot Bailey then sealed an outcome that was particularly harsh on the hosts.

I'm getting sick and tired of hearing that we didn't deserve to lose games,” said manager Marheineke.

“We played well in the first half and deserved our lead. We also looked comfortable in the early part of the second half until a ludicrous sending-off has changed the game.

“I don't think the ball hit 'Moyesy on the hand and I don't even think the shot would have gone in as it was hit with no pace whatsoever.

“It is a ridiculous decision to deem that worthy of a red card, but we continued to play well with 10 men and looked a threat on the counter-attack. To lose in the way we did really hurts.

“My goalkeeper stayed on his line when I needed him to come and claim the corner and we end up giving a lad a free header from close range at the back post.

“It was a sickener to concede a goal like that after putting in such a terrific shift. It was a gimme for Hitchin and it meant another positive result slipped away.

“We could easily have another 10 points on the board which would put us comfortably in mid-table. Instead we find ourselves scrapping near the bottom and we have to stop letting points slip away.”

Third-bottom Saints are at home again this Saturday when they entertain Banbury United, 3pm.

One man who won't feature is Hall, who has departed for lower-level Cambridge City for a second spell with that club.

Midfielder Ollie Snaith has moved in the opposite direction to join Saints on loan.