Ty Ward enjoyed a dream full debut as St Ives Town earned a ‘fantastic’ victory yesterday (Saturday).
Midfield ace Ward, signed recently from higher-level Hemel Hempstead Town, made one goal and scored the other as Ricky Marheineke’s men triumphed 2-1 at Tamworth in the Southern League Premier Division Central.
The success in the Midlands completed a fine double for Saints after they launched the campaign back in August with success in the reverse fixture at Westwood Road.
Their latest victory left them closer to the play-off places (six points) than the relegation zone (eight points) as they punch above their weight at Step 3 to great effect.
A delighted Marheineke said: “It was a really good away performance to earn a fantastic result at a very tough place to go.
“We knew Tamworth would be very direct so we opted to play with a back five and look to hurt them if possible on the counter-attack. We have the quality and versatility in our squad to be able to switch between a number of systems.
“The boys took on board what we wanted from them and implemented it very well in the first half before putting bodies on the line when required in the second half.
“Ty was one of the players to come into the side and it was great to see him involved in both goals as he played very well on a day where we were excellent to a man.
“I’m proud to manage this group of players and it is a pleasure to be around them.
“Their effort and application is terrific and they are so keen to be successful – both for the club and each other.”
Saints hit the front after just 10 minutes as Ward laid a long ball into the path of another recent addition, Jake Newman, to finish first-time, but they were pegged back from the penalty spot midway through the opening period after Jarvis Wilson handled a cross.
Moments after being beaten by that spot-kick, Saints keeper Martin Conway almost restored his side’s advantage when his free-kick was almost fumbled into his own net by rival number one Jas Singh.
The Tamworth man got enough of a touch on the ball to avoid being left with egg on his face, but he was soon picking the ball out of his net again as Ward struck at the second attempt to open his Saints account on the half-hour.
Tamworth adopted a more attacking approach in the second period but Saints defended resolutely with Conway pulling off two terriic saves just after the hour to keep his side ahead.
The pair of results against Tamworth provide further proof of the fine progress being made by Saints.
Just six years ago these two clubs were four levels apart with Saints still in the Premier Division of the United Counties League while Tamworth were playing in the National League, but last Saturday night it was Saints sitting a couple of places higher in the Premier Division Central standings.
Saints continue a hectic run of games when they host Royston on Boxing Day, 1pm. They then welcome Lowestoft to Westwood Road this Saturday, 3pm.
Marheineke’s side kick off 2019 with a short strip to St Neots Town on New Year’s Day, also 3pm.