Marheineke frustrated as Town slip up

RICKY Marheineke says Huntingdon Town will be ‘hell bent’ on winning promotion after they lost their big top-of-the-table clash at Harborough Town on Saturday.

Huntingdon went down 3-1 on the Northamptonshire-Leicestershire border and dropped to second with their opponents on the day replacing them at the top of the United Counties League Division One table. But, with third-placed Bugbrooke St Michaels losing 3-2 at Burton Park Wanderers, as things stand Marheineke’s side need just three points from their two remaining games, which are both at home, against ON Chenecks and Rothwell Town, on the next two Saturdays.

Bugbrooke are seven points behind Huntingdon in third place - but have a game in hand. This means Huntingdon could still be handed promotion without kicking a ball on Wednesday night when Bugbrooke host Buckingham Town at their Birds Close ground. If Bugbrooke lose, it’s all over for the Badgers.

Huntingdon went 1-0 up after starting the Harborough game really well. Charlie Bowden gave the visitors their lead when he lobbed the on-coming home goalkeeper on 15 minutes. And the visitors had already seen another chance headed off the line. But by half time they were 2-1 down. And while the visitors were chasing the game late in the second half, the home side scored their third goal to secure the points - but not promotion just yet as they still have to play Bugbrooke on the last day of the season.

“We should have done a lot better,” said the Huntingdon manager. “Certain players underperformed, it wasn’t nerves, it was just one of them days.”

After the final whistle Marheineke gathered his players in the middle of the pitch and gave them a public pep talk. And when he spoke to The Hunts Post 10 minutes later, he was clearly frustrated at the outcome of the game.

He said: “We got our noses in front but uncharacteristically some of the players seemed to think that by going 1-0 up they suddenly had a divine right to go on and win the game.

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“After that first 15 minutes we took our foot off the pedal and I don’t think defensively we dealt with their front three very well at all.

“In the last half-hour of the first half we were poor and all over the place.”

Marheineke made changes to the formation and his team’s personnel for the second half and substitute Dan Drain made a difference in midfield, ending up with a bloody nose for his troubles following a kick in the face from teammate Niks Savalnieks.

With 15 minutes remaining the manager threw more caution to the wind and the team were hit on the break.

“In the second half we looked on top but I never really felt comfortable,” the manager said. “They were dangerous on the counter attack and they sucked us in and tried to hit it long.

“We had a couple of good chances to get back on level terms and then they scored from one of our attacks.

“The better team won but we have another two important games to go. We need to win these two games and we will be hell bent on doing that,” he said - though the celebrations could in fact begin on Wednesday night if Bugbrooke slip up.