St Ives cemented their position at the top of Southern League Division One (Central) yesterday with what boss Ricky Marheineke dubbed ‘the most satisfying result of the season’.

Marheineke's men struck twice in the opening seven minutes to lay the foundations for a 2-1 success over bottom side North Greenford United at ProEdge Westwood Road.

Harry O'Malley and Chae Simons were responsible for the double-salvo and a patched-up Saints side held on to take maximum points despite having a host of important players missing.

“It was the most satisfying result of the season given the circumstances of missing so many key players,” said Marheineke.

“We had to find a way of winning the game and the early goals gave us the opportunity to do that despite being so up against it.

“It was never going to be pretty, but we stuck to a gameplan to come through it. The lads deserve a huge amount of credit for giving absolutely everything to keep us top of the table.”

O'Malley slid in a Phil Draycott free-kick to break the deadlock after just 50 seconds and score for the second successive match. The full-back had also delivered the goal which took Saints top for the first time in their history when beating Hanwell last Tuesday night.

His opener was swiftly followed by a second goal as Simons got his head on Jordan Jarrold's left-wing cross, but any thoughts of cakewalk for Saints were quickly dismissed.

Goalkeeper Tim Trebes made two smart saves before the break and visiting striker Aaron McLeish fluffed a glorious chance only 20 seconds into the second period.

But Saints didn't learn their lesson as the same North Greenford man halved his side's arrears four minutes later.

McLeish squandered another fine opportunity to haul the strugglers level and then saw a second strike in stoppage time ruled out for offside as Saints survived with their advantage intact.

Charlie McManus became the second 16 year-old scholar to be handed his first-team debut in successive matches when appearing as a late substitute.