NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: No disgrace in derby draw for St Ives as they prepare to face play-off chasers

Declan Rogers hit St Ives Town's winner at Tiverton. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON

Declan Rogers hit St Ives Town's winner at Tiverton. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke insists his side’s failure to see off 10-man local rivals St Neots Town in a midweek derby clash is no reason for disappointment.

The Southern League Premier Division showdown at ProEdge Westwood Road ended in a 1-1 deadlock on Tuesday night.

Declan Rogers put St Ives ahead early in the second half against his former club, but the visitors levelled late on through Nabil Shariff despite being at a numerical disadvantage for 66 minutes following the dismissal of defender Johnny Herd.

“The boys were very down after the game, but there was no reason for them to be disappointed,” stressed Marheineke.

“We played well in difficult conditions against a good side. A point extended our unbeaten run to four games and kept us moving in the right direction.

“It was a hard-working and honest performance – the only thing missing was a second goal which would have killed the game off.

“We did create chances – as you would expect with an extra man for much of the game – but we couldn’t take them.

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“Even though St Neots went down to 10 men, they were brave and didn’t change their attacking play. They deserve credit for that and also or the way they hung on in the game in the opening 20-25 minutes of the second half when we battered them.”

St Ives are back on home soil tomorrow when they entertain play-off chasing Slough Town, 3pm – when Marheineke hopes the poor condition of the ProEdge Westwood Road playing surface will actually be a help to his side.

Marheineke expects to have loan ace Ben Baker back in the fold after he was forced to sit out the derby clash against St Neots due to a complication with the paperwork concerning the extension of his move from Kettering Town.

Marheineke added: “I really think we would have won that game with Ben in the team.

“Everyone saw the amount of problems Tom Knowles caused St Neots and Ben is a similar type of player who would have provided just as much threat on the other flank.

“It will be great to have him back and the condition of the pitch could really work in our favour against Slough.

“They have a lovely new 3G, so they’re not going to enjoy our place.”

Midfielder Peter Clark is out with a hamstring injury picked up early in the derby draw on Tuesday.