St Ives Town made a winning return to action after their enforced coronavirus lay-off thanks to a 3-1 success at home to Redditch United.

Nathan Hicks, seen during his time with Biggleswade Town, scored twice for St Ives Town against Redditch United. Picture: DANNY LOONathan Hicks, seen during his time with Biggleswade Town, scored twice for St Ives Town against Redditch United. Picture: DANNY LOO

They were handed an early boost when Redditch full-back Kieran Donnelly was sent-off in just the third minute and yet despite that the visitors took a lead with a deflected strike.

However, a penalty from Marc Richards before half-time and two well-taken second half goals from Nathan Hicks ensured a winning return.

St Ives handed a debut to Luke Howell, the former MK Dons and Dagenham & Redbridge defender making the move from National League South Hemel Hempstead Town.

The red card for Donnelly, given after he raised his hands to Richards, would have been just the start they would have hoped for in what was their first game in over two weeks.

The visitors quickly reshuffled their team to leave just a lone striker up front but while it allowed the hosts plenty of possession, they struggled to find a route through the Reds’ tight back-line.

Worse was to come for Ives as an effort on 21 minutes from Jordan Clement clipped off a defender and crept past Martin Conway low to his left.

The game quickly reverted to its previous pattern with Ives enjoying a lot of possession and trying patiently to find a way through the massed ranks.

Micahel Gyasi spurned a golden opportunity on the half hour, shooting wide from 12 yards.

But it was from that distance that St Ives drew level.

Ben Seymour-Shove was fouled by Aaron Davies and Richards made no mistake with the penalty for his third goal of the season.

Gyasi had spent most of the first half causing the Reds defence problems with his pace and trickery and he caught them napping nine minutes into the second period as Town went ahead.

He saved a seemingly lost cause by keeping the ball in and then had the presence of mind to pick out Hicks in the centre who duly obliged by side footing the ball in the bottom corner.

The goal that finished off any lingering resistance from the Reds arrived 15 minutes before the end.

Patient build up from Ives was suddenly sparked into life by Williams as he strode forward and let fly with a shot.

That was half-blocked but ran invitingly to Hicks and he curled a left-footer into the top corner.

Ives saw out the remaining time with little problem to climb up to 14th in the table.

St Ives Town: Conway, Howell, Toseland, Gyasi, Jackson, Solkhon, Seymour-Shove (Ballinger 66), Parker, Richards, Williams (Patrick 84), Hicks (Clifton 89).

Sub (not used): Patrick.

Goals: Richards (pen) 35, Hicks 54, 75.

Attendance: 156