NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Birthday boy Ben gives his St Ives Town team-mates the gift of Southern League Premier Division glory

Ben Seymour-Shove hit the St Ives Town winner on his 23rd birthday.

Ben Seymour-Shove hit the St Ives Town winner on his 23rd birthday. - Credit: Archant

Birthday boy Ben Seymour-Shove handed his St Ives Town team the perfect present today.

The frontman hit the decisive goal as Saints triumphed 2-1 at Cirencester to claim a first win in nine Southern League Premier Division games.

His 71st minute strike ended a barren run stretching back to late August and also completed a fine comeback from Ricky Marheineke’s men in Gloucestershire.

“I’m relieved to get the three points,” said Marheineke. “I was nervous on the sidelines due to the fact we had not won for so long and I sensed my players felt the same.

“I’ve been critical of them when we have been losing games, so it is only right I praise them after a victory.

“When battling to stay in a division, it is vital to beat the teams around you in the table. We have managed to do that so far this season and this result was another example of it.

“Even though we weren’t at our best in the second half, we got the job done.”

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Saints fell behind to a fine strike after a quarter-of-an-hour from Cirencester man Adam Connolly.

But they were rewarded for a pleasing first-half performance when skipper Charlie De’Ath headed in a Jack Higgs corner.

They should have hit the front moments later only for Josh Dawkin to mis-kick with the goal at his mercy and another good opportunity early in the second half ended with Cirencester being reduced to 10 men after Ben Seymour-Shove was illegally halted.

But they were reliant on recalled goalkeeper Tim Trebes to prevent the 10-man hosts from hitting the front again midway through the second period.

He went the right way to save a penalty – conceded by De’Ath – and Saints struck the crucial blow soon after as Seymour-Shove delivered another milestone moment.

The local lad, who hit the goal that earned Saints’ their first-ever win at Step 3 level back in August, and who marked his 100th appearance for the club in goalscoring style earlier this month, struck on his 23rd birthday.

Marheineke added: “We were excellent in the first half when we created some great chances and were unfortunate not to come in at the break with a good lead.

“Cirencester going down to 10 men early in the second half probably had more of an effect on us than them. We seemed to lose our shape and concentration, and looked more under threat than we had done at any point in the game.

“Tim came up with a great save from the penalty when we needed it and then Ben got the winning goal soon afterwards.”

Saints remain 20th in the Premier Division table – one place and two points above the drop-zone.

They could drop into the bottom four in midweek when the two sides directly below them – St Neots and Cirencester – are both in action.