St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke hailed the battling qualities of his players as they pocketed a valuable Southern League Premier Division point on Tuesday night.

Saints delivered a terrific defensive effort to shut out a talented Merthyr team in a goalless draw at ProEdge Westwood Road.

It was a result which snapped a run of three successive defeats in all competitions for Saints and earned plenty of praise from their boss.

Marheineke said: "It was a very hard-earned point against a good side who I expect to be right up there in the table.

"They have some outstanding quality and it was all about making sure we kept ourselves in the game.

"They did have a few good chances, but I felt we were good value for a point and the clean sheet was particularly welcome after shipping seven goals in our previous two games.

"It was much more like the sort of performance I expect from my team and it showed we have corrected things which have cost us of late."

Merthyr squandered the better chances in both halves with St Ives skipper Charlie De'Ath making a vital goal-saving block during the second period.

Goalscoring opportunities were few and far between for Saints with Andrew Phillips was denied from 30 yards and point-blank range in quick succession in the opening half before Jack Higgs was just too high with a dipping free-kick late on after substitute Joe Carden had been scythed down.

The point lifted Saints above local rivals St Neots into 17th place in the Premier Division standings, and they have two more important home clashes in the coming days.

They entertain promotion hopefuls Leamington this Saturday and then host Biggleswade on Tuesday.

"It was an important point against Merthyr and now the challenge is to try to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later," added Marheineke.