Seething St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke slammed the ‘embarrassing’ refereeing decision which condemned his team to defeat last night.

Saints were beaten 1-0 at fellow strugglers Hayes & Yeading in a Southern League Premier Division match settled by a controversial second-half penalty.

The official pointed to the spot in the 73rd minute when defender Liam McDevitt appeared to make a perfectly-timed and ball-winning challenge inside his own box. Olumide Durojaiye gratefully slammed the penalty past Saints keeper Ollie Sutton.

“How the referee has managed to give a penalty in that situation is embarrassing,” said Marheineke.

“It was a situation of our own making due to a mix-up between our defender and goalkeeper, but we dealt with it well only for the referee to absolutely kill us.

“I have to be accountable as a manager when my team doesn't play well because people want answers, but it doesn't work like that for referees.

“They just rock up from one game to the next and aren't even made to apologise for their performances.

“It is the second time in four games that a referee has cost us at least a point after the sending off of Tim Trebes at Kings Langley recently.”

But Saints cannot point the finger of blame for an eighth successive league match without victory solely at the referee. They were guilty of spurning good chances in both halves.

Strike duo Ben Seymour-Shove and Danny Kelly squandered clearcut opportunities in the opening period before Josh Dawkin, Buster Harradine and Harry O'Malley fluffed their lines in front of goal during the second half.

Marheineke added: “We have to hope there will be a time when refereeing decisions start going for us, rather than against us and when the opportunities we create end up in the back of the net rather than being saved or missing the target.”

Saints remain outside the relegation zone only on goal difference.

They are locked together on points with a Cirencester side they travel to face this Saturday.

* Striker Danny Watson has snubbed a return to St Ives Town.

Watson was one of the club's promotion heroes with 18 goals as they claimed Division One (Central) play-off glory last season.

But he has now opted to remain at that level again with AFC Kempston Rovers rather than return to ProEdge Westwood Road.