Two stunning goals helped St Ives Town end their wait for a Southern League Premier Division Central victory last Saturday.
Ricky Marheineke’s side snapped a run of six matches without success when triumphing 2-1 at Banbury in his 250th game in charge - condemning their hosts to a first home defeat since October in the process.
They had to survive an early onslaught before hitting the front in spectacular style as Andrew Osei-Bonsu struck from long range after 15 minutes.
Another high-class effort from Ben Seymour-Shove, who curled in a precise shot from just outside the box, doubled the lead six minutes before the break.
Munashe Sundire and Robbie Parker were close to adding further goals early in the second half before Saints saw their advantage halved by Ravi Shamsi.
They were fortunate not to concede to the same player again 90 seconds later, but a Saints defence superbly marshalled by debutant Gavin Hoyte, despite a groin problem, were rarely troubled again as they earned another notable success in a season in which they are punching well above their weight.
That’s largely thanks to the fourth best defensive record in the division. They have let in just 34 goals in 31 games with the only the top three – Kettering Town (33), Stourbridge (29) and King’s Lynn (31) - doing better in that respect.
“Our success has been built on defending well,” said Marheineke. “That didn’t happen last season and it caused us a lot of damage.
“It was vital we made ourselves hard to beat again and we have put a lot of work into ensuring that is the case.
“We would love to score a few more goals, but we know we possess players capable of producing real quality as our goals at Banbury showed.
“Our defensive record means we always have a chance of picking up results and the most pleasing thing is that we have done so well with a lot of young players.
“We have sometimes lacked a real leader and that was part of the thinking behind bringing Gavin to the club and he had an excellent debut when helping us pick up a great result at Banbury.”
Saints’ haul of 40 points so far this term is seven more than they managed in the whole of last season.
They remain 11 points clear of the drop-zone and can extend that gap with a trip to rock-bottom Bedworth coming up this Saturday, 3pm.