Losing top spot does not bother St Ives Town boss - but snapping up striker does delight him

Jared Cunniff hits St Ives Town's equaliser in their 1-1 draw against Uxbridge. Picture: LOUISE THOM

Jared Cunniff hits St Ives Town's equaliser in their 1-1 draw against Uxbridge. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke was not in the least bit concerned about losing top spot in Southern League Division One (Central).

Saints have dropped to third despite extending their unbeaten league run to seven matches when drawing 1-1 with Uxbridge at ProEdge Westwood Road last Saturday.

Marheineke’s men fell behind just after the hour, but Jared Cunniff levelled nine minutes from time when scoring for the second successive match.

His side were eclipsed by Chalfont St Peter at the head of affairs with AFC Rushden & Diamonds subsequently leapfrogging both sides in midweek.

But Marheineke insists Saints are well on course to hit their play-off target for this term.

He said: “It was nice for everyone involved in the club to be top of the league for a while. It was a little piece of history and a great achievement, but it was almost inevitable we would get knocked off at some point.

“We’ve not actually been playing ever so well for a while, but that’s understandable given the amount of injuries which have affected us.

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“It was definitely a point gained last Saturday as Uxbridge were probably the better team over the 90 minutes.

“We hadn’t really looked like scoring, but Jared popped up with a goal to keep our unbeaten run going.

“Our challenge is continue hitting the points targets we’ve set ourselves to make sure we are in the play-offs. That goal hasn’t changed and won’t change.”

Saints face two away tests in the space of four days. They travel to Northfield tomorrow ahead of a Tuesday visit to Barton Rovers.

The trips signal the start of a tough run of fixtures through into the new year which includes clashes against fellow promotion-chasing teams Chalfont, AFC Rushden & Diamonds, Royston and Egham.

Marheineke has been successful in his pursuit of Scott Joseph with the striker agreeing a move from title rivals AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

“We are hopeful the paperwork will be completed in time for him to come into the squad at Northwood tomorrow,” added Marheineke.

“He trained with the squad last night and looked very sharp. He is a player who possesses a very good goalscoring record and he likes to shoot on goal whenever he gets the chance.

“The way he plays the game should suit or style and the challenge is to get him enjoying his football again after not getting a lot of action at Diamonds lately.

“I feel he will prove to be an important addition to the squad.”

St Ives will travel without six regular players tomorrow.

A scan has confirmed captain Luke Knight has a torn groin and he remains a long-term absentee with fellow midfielder Jack Higgs.

Stuart Eason is due to undergo a scan on a suspected hernia so won’t be involved while Phil Draycott is still nursing an Achilles problem.

Defender Dan Moyes and midfielder Jack Warwick are both unavailable.

Saints have agreed to make the short trip to higher-level neighbours St Neots on January 12 for a Hunts Senior Cup semi-final.