NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: How St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke would love their super season to have a silver lining . . .
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke has challenged his players to provide the perfect end to a successful season.
Saints have the chance to capture silverware in their final fixture of the 2016/17 season when hosting fellow Premier Division side Hayes & Yeading in the final of the Southern League Challenge Cup on Saturday, April 29.
The final of this competition is usually played over two legs, but league chiefs have scheduled it as a one-off occasion this term with Saints having been handed home advantage.
And, after clinching promotion by winning the Division One (Central) play-off final on the last day of 2015/16 in front of more than 1,500 fans, Marheineke is hoping for another unforgettable occasion at ProEdge Westwood Road.
He said: “We’ve already achieved our goal of securing safety in the Premier Division in our first-ever season at this level.
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“That means we can already class it as a good season, but winning a trophy on the final day would turn it into a great one. It would be the icing on the cake.
“Home advantage doesn’t necessarily give us a better chance as we have played a lot of our best football on the road, but we have a good record at our place.
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“I’m certainly happier to have a one-off game rather than a two-legged final played in midweek. It’s the final Saturday of the season and an occasion that everyone can look forward to.
“Hopefully people will turn out in force to get behind us.”
Mid-table Saints are likely to start as favourites to lift the trophy with opponents Hayes & Yeading currently stuck in the relegation zone.
Marheineke’s men booked their place in the showpiece with a 2-0 success against lower-level Aylesbury United in a semi-final clash finally completed at the third attempt 10 days ago.
A first-half double from Josh Dawkin did the trick for a Saints side who had to see out the final 20 minutes with only 10 men after full-back Jack Bradshaw picked up a knock with Marheineke having already made all three available substitutions.