If St Ives Town were ever to appear on Mastermind, winning ugly would surely be their specialist subject.
The Saints are masters of grinding out results when not at their best in far from ideal conditions.
That was the case again yesterday at a boggy ProEdge Westwood Road as they edged to a 2-1 success against Kings Langley.
Manager Ricky Marheineke had billed this as a match his team could not afford to lose and that never looked a particularly likely scenario despite the visitors having plenty of possession.
A quickfire opener from Ben Seymour-Shove certainly helped for St Ives. He slammed in a low Josh Dawkin cross with the match still inside its opening minute.
There was a long wait for another goal, but provider turned scorer as Saints doubled their lead with 12 minutes to go.
It was also a rather fortunate strike as visiting goalkeeper Xavi Comas came out to block a Dawkin effort only to see the ball rebound against the St Ives man and roll into the net.
Dawkin had been sent clear by a flick from substitute Charlie De’Ath, who operated as a striker after being introduced in the second half and was only prevented from scoring by a smart Comas save.
De’Ath did find himself in his more familiar defensive surroundings in the final few minutes as Saints had to soak up pressure from a Kings Langley side who halved their arrears only a couple of minutes after they had been doubled.
Jack Waldren ghosted into the box to loop a header back over goalkeeper Tim Trebes and into the far corner of the net, but there were few other moments of alarm even though Saints were guilty of defending so deep that they may well have been advised to swap their studs for flippers and snorkels.
They did threaten another goal themselves on the break on a couple of occasions, but searing pace from substitute Morgan Penfold was unfortunately followed by a reluctance to shoot.
“The win takes us another step closer to where we want to be,” said Marheineke, making reference to his long-standing 48-point target.
“We’re on 40 now and a couple more wins will virtually get us to the tally we feel will keep us up.
“The performance might have lacked a bit of quality, but I can’t fault the work ethic of the lads.
“The conditions dictated how we played to some extent. It wasn’t a pitch to try to play football on.
“The main thing is coming out of it with the three points.”
There was a post-match question from one local broadcaster concerning possible St Ives’ interest in the play-offs.
It was quickly dismissed by Marheineke, although his team are now closer to the top five (14 points adrift) than the bottom four (16 points clear).
That in itself is a fine achievement for a club playing at this level for the first time.
Their journey continues at Stratford on Tuesday.