NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Hard work pays off handsomely as St Ives Town continue winning Southern League streak
- Credit: Archant
There was a triumph for rags over riches at Westwood Road last Saturday.
St Ives Town - the most cheaply assembled team in the Southern League Premier Division Central according to manager Ricky Marheineke - enjoyed a terrific 2-0 victory against Nuneaton side that he believes could be the costliest of all at that level.
One thing money can't buy is hard work and Saints typically displayed that in abundance as they stretched their winning league run to three matches despite spending much of the afternoon pushed deep into their own territory and dealing with Borough pressure which was almost constant for parts of the game.
The match was ultimately settled by two goals in the second half as Tom Wood's classy opener was followed by a Ben Seymour-Shove clincher that could well find its way to a DVD of goalkeeping bloopers.
Midfield ace Wood steered in a precise finish from the edge of the box in the 71st minute before Seymour-Shove left Nuneaton number one Jordan Wright red-faced with six minutes to go.
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The Saints ace chased down what appeared to be a lost cause, forced the visiting goalkeeper into a moment of panic, gleefully snatched the ball and strolled into an empty net.
But the victory owed much to the brilliance of Saints' on-loan goalkeeper Fin Iron who produced a catalogue of smart saves and commanded his box with authority during frequent bombardments of crosses and long throws.
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Even when Iron was beaten on four occasions, the woodwork and perfectly positioned defenders came to Saints' rescue.
The former prevented them from going behind early on when Mark Coulson inadvertently headed a long throw against his own upright.
Coulson and Aaron Phillips then produced goal-line clearances during the same Nuneaton assault on the stroke of half-time.
And Danny Kelly then preserved their hard-earned clean sheet in the dying moments when keeping out a goalbound effort from Borough captain Luke Benbow.
"I wouldn't be surprised if that Nuneaton team is not the most expensive in this league," said Marheineke. "And there is absolutely no doubt that we have the smallest budget.
"We had a gameplan to nullify Nuneaton and pose a threat ourselves, but it went out of the window pretty early on as we ended up under far more pressure than we hoped.
"But, if all else fails, we always know we have the levels of hard work and commitment to keep ourselves in games.
"We had to do that for most of the first half when we have seen our goalkeeper make great saves and players make clearances off the line.
"We threw bodies in front of the ball and generally defended for our lives before getting the goals in the second half.
"Tom's strike is one of very high quality while Ben has been rewarded for pressing and forcing a mistake from their goalkeeper.
"We were cynical in our box and clinical in their box. It was a really good St Ives Town performance and another really pleasing result to keep our good run going."
Typically there were injury problems for Saints to overcome before and during the game.
Full-back Ty Ward pulled out in the warm-up with an ankle problem while inspirational skipper Robbie Parker was forced off at the break with a knee injury.
They also lost defender Aaron Phillips to a hamstring issue in the closing stages as the casualty list shows no sign of shrinking, but it isn't stopping their points tally from growing.