Formation change sparks sizzling run of form for St Ives Town

St Ives striker Danny Watson celebrates a goal with Harry O'Malley in the victory against Leighton T

St Ives striker Danny Watson celebrates a goal with Harry O'Malley in the victory against Leighton Town last Saturday. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke has refused to get carried away by his side’s rise into a share of Southern League Division One (Central) leadership.

Only goal difference is keeping Marheienke’s men out of pole position after they thumped Leighton Town 5-0 at ProEdge Westwood Road last Saturday.

It completed a fine few days for a side who hit 13 goals in the space of three games while making FA Trophy progress and rising up the league standings.

And Marheineke admitted a change of formation has been the secret to their high-scoring success.

He reverted to a 4-4-2 system for a Trophy triumph over Rugby 10 days ago and stuck with it in both league games since - a 4-2 win at Aylesbury United last Wednesday and the Saturday rout of lowly Leighton.

He said: “I want everyone - players and supporters - to enjoy the success we’re having, but I don’t want anyone to get carried away.

“These good results have come against sides we should be beating and you only have to look at our record against other teams around the top of the table to see we still have some work to do.

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“We were beaten at home by leaders Royston and held to draws by Aylesbury and AFC Rushden & Diamonds. That’s only two points from three games.

“But I have said all along that we have a good squad capable of achieveing our target of bettering the ninth-placed finish and the points tally of last season.

“Hitting 13 goals in three games is good going through and it is nice to see the change of formation work so well. I don’t regret trying something different in the early weeks of the season, but this is the way to go.”

Two former Leighton players helped put their old club to the sword last Saturday. Striker Danny Watson struck two of the Saints goals while wideman Phil Draycott had a hand in three of them.

Peter Clark’s opener was a result of a slick counter-attack while Charlie De’Ath doubled the advantage when heading in a Draycott corner.

Watson volleyed in his third seven minutes before the break and Saints were not about to take their feet off the pedal in the second period.

Stuart Eason pounced for a fourth goal four minutes after the restart and Watson completed the scoring on the hour.

St Ives hit the road for their longest trek of the season this Saturday when visiting bottom side Petersfield in Hampshire. It is a journey they are making in a fleet of cars as the club’s finances cannot stretch to the cost of a coach.

Marheineke added: “They are only bottom because they’ve had a good run in the FA Cup so we are not expecting an easy game by any means.”

Marheineke also took plenty of positives from his side’s Red Insure Cup exit in midweek when they were on the receiving end of a late comeback from higher-level Huntingdonshire rivals St Neots Town.

Saints were eventually pipped 2-1 after conceding twice in the final eight minutes, including a stoppage time winner. They earlier led courtesy of a Jared Cunniff strike (his first since returning to the club) and saw a Peter Clark contentiously ruled out for offside.

“We were outstanding for 85 minutes,” he continued. “The players deserve a hell of a lot of credit for the way they dominated so much of the game against a top Step 3 side.

“We also made plenty of changes to the team for the game and it shows the strength we have in the squad.”