St Ives Town delivered a performance worthy of the achievement yesterday.
Ricky Marheineke’s men moved joint-top of the Southern League Division One (Central) standings after a success every bit as emphatic as the final 5-0 scoreline suggested.
They didn’t just beat Leighton Town, they battered them into submission and rubbed further salt into the wounds as two players who moved between the clubs during the summer played starring roles. Striker Danny Watson struck two of the Saints goals while wideman Phil Draycott had a hand in three of them.
It was also a third successive victory in the space of six days, during which time they have slammed in 13 goals and made big strides forward in two competitions. These are good times down at ProEdge Westwood Road.
The opener yesterday arrived as a result of counter-attacking at its finest. Ben Seymour-Shove burst forward and slipped the ball into the path of Peter Clark who finished with precision to provide the fitting end product to a move started by a Jordan Jarrold tackle and also involving Draycott.
Seymour-Shove had already rattled the bar from an offside position and bounced a 20-yard drive just wide when onside before playing such a key part in the breakthrough after 13 minutes.
Saints doubled their lead with another goal simple yet effective in its execution. Draycott landed an inswinging corner onto the forehead of Charlie De’Ath with pinpoint accuracy and big defender did the rest on 31 minutes.
And they only had to wait another seven minutes to effectively have the points in the bag as Watson controlled and volleyed in after Staurt Eason and Harry O’Malley had both used their heads to direct a Jordan Jarrold launch into his path.
There was a rare scare for St Ives goalkeeper Tim Trebes moments later as he fluffed a clearance and could only watch on as Kerran Birch landed a 40-yard lob onto the roof of the net.
Any thoughts the Saints would be content to sit on their advantage in the second period were quickly dispelled as Eason pounced from point-blank range after visiting goalkeeper Sam Mazurek had made a mess of dealing with a Draycott cut-back.
A smart block from Steven Gentle and a goal-line clearance from captain Luke Knight kept Saints’ clean sheet intact before they fired what would prove to be the final blow on the hour.
It was a goal as direct as they come – a Trebes clearance, an Eason flick-on and a cool Watson finish as he celebrated a second goal against the club he left in the summer to move to Westwood Road.
He would, no doubt, have liked a hat-trick, but his hopes were soon dashed when hauled off as boss Ricky Marheineke rang the changes moments later with the match long since over as a contest.
There was little more incident of note with Jarrold and O’Malley both going close to bringing up a half-dozen with long-range piledrivers while Trebes remained untroubled as his 50th – and arguably easiest – appearances in a Saints shirt came complete with a shut-out.
Saints now set the pace alongside a Royston outfit who have inflicted their only league defeat of the campaign.
Trebes is likely to be busier on Tuesday when they are involved in a clash of the Huntingdonshire footballing titans at St Neots Town in the opening round of the Red Insure Cup.
But, on this evidence, they couldn’t be blamed for fancying their chances of causing a shock.