Ricky Marheineke watched his St Ives team get back to their best and admitted: “We needed that.”

Saints put their Southern League Division One (Central) play-off challenge back on track with an impressive 3-0 success against Petersfield last Saturday.

Wideman Ben Seymour-Shove provided an early breakthrough before a second-half brace from striker Andrew Phillips sealed victory in front of a fine crowd of 319.

It was enough to maintain fifth spot in the standings – the final play-off position – following a tough month. Saints also have a five-point buffer over the chasing pack.

Marheineke said: “It was vital to get back to winning ways after losing a couple of games during February.

“We didn't just get the right result, we produced a very good performance and hopefully that will fill the players with confidence for the challenges that lie ahead.

“They had looked a bit scared to make mistakes in our previous couple of games, but the way they played against Petersfield was a reminder of what they can produce.

“We went with a new system and we looked solid defensively and dangerous in attack.”

Frontman Phillips looks set to be a key figure for Saints during the remainder of the campaign.

He has already struck five times since his Boxing Day arrival from Stamford and Marheineke, who has another striker, Stuart Eason, to join Spalding on a dual registration deal, is confident plenty more goals will follow.

Marheineke added: “I spent a long time trying to get Andrew to the club.

“He hadn't played a lot of football during the 12 months before he joined us, but he is now finding his feet and we will start to see the best of him on a regular basis.”

Saints hit the road for Hanwell Town this Saturday. The London side are only eight points above the drop-zone, but provided a stern test in the reverse fixture when a solitary Harry O'Malley header earned the points for Marheineke's men.

“Every point counts at this stage of the season,” continued the Ives chief. “We need to focus fully on our own games and not worry about what is going on elsewhere.”