St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke was left to reflect on shortcomings at both ends of the pitch following a heavy Saturday defeat.

Ben Seymour-Shove threatens for St Ives Town at Nuneaton Borough. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSONBen Seymour-Shove threatens for St Ives Town at Nuneaton Borough. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON

The struggling Saints were brushed aside 4-0 at promotion-chasing Nuneaton Borough in the Southern League Premier Division Central.

But it is a match which could have come complete with a very different outcome according to Marheineke, whose side remain one place above the drop-zone.

Saints fell behind to a Ryan Edmunds strike after 17 minutes and their deficit was doubled by David Bremang early in the second half.

But they responded well to that second setback as Joe Curtis saw a goalbound header cleared off the line before Foy fluffed a glorious chance in a one-on-one situation.

Tom Wood in action for St Ives Town during the defeat at Nuneaton Borough. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSONTom Wood in action for St Ives Town during the defeat at Nuneaton Borough. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON

But an inability to find the net proved costly as a Luke Benbow penalty with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining sealed Saints' fate. Bremang then struck again late on.

"We were beaten by a better side - it's as simple as that," said Marheineke.

"But the really disappointing thing is the final scoreline slightly flattering Nuneaton.

"It was a case of us being punished for making individual errors against a high-class team and not able to put away the good chances we created.

St Ives Town captain Robbie Parker on the ball at Nuneaton Borough. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSONSt Ives Town captain Robbie Parker on the ball at Nuneaton Borough. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON

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"It could well have been a different story had we taken some of them in the second half."

Saints are back in action on Boxing Day when they face a 60-mile trip to Suffolk to take on Needham Market (1pm) in their final outing of 2019.

And Marheineke insists it is an important clash - against a side who put them out of the League Cup earlier in the season - in their bid to escape the clutches of relegation.

"Needham Market are a really good side even though their results have been indifferent," added Marheineke.

"We know their manager likes to play out from the back and they will look to get on the ball.

"But perhaps the condition of pitches at this time of year - and following the recent weather - will suit us more than them.

"It would have been a bonus to have picked up something at Nuneaton on Saturday but this game at Needham Market is one where we need a result.

"It looks very much like it will be any three from five teams going down and we have to ensure we're not one of them."

Saints then begin 2020 with a home clash on New Year's Day when hosting AFC Rushden & Diamonds before going to table-toppers Tamworth on January 4.