NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Not enough quality or hard work is a recipe for a fifth successive Southern League Premier Division defeat for St Ives Town

Dubi Ogbonna scored and was sent off in St Ives Town's defeat at Farnborough. Picture: LOUISE THOMPS

Dubi Ogbonna scored and was sent off in St Ives Town's defeat at Farnborough. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

Manager Ricky Marheineke was left to bemoan a lack of quality and heart after St Ives Town fell to a fifth successive Southern League Premier Division defeat yesterday.

The disappointed Saints chief pointed the finger of blame at his attacking players after a 2-1 reverse at Farnborough which left them third-bottom of the standings.

He insisted too many glorious chances went begging in a contest in which both teams were reduced to 10 men - and Marheineke also rapped the same players responsible for not finding net over a lack of defensive work.

“It’s a game we could have won. It’s a game we should have drawn. It’s a game we have ended up losing,” said Marheineke.

“We are lacking quality and the work ethic required. Too many players are happy to go forward, but not so keen to work in the other direction.

“If Farnborough had the same opportunities as ourselves, I’m sure they would have taken three or four of them.

“We only managed to put one away and even that was due to a goalkeeping error.”

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Saints handed a debut to full-back Miles Smith following his arrival from Corby Town – and the former St Neots man almost created an opening goal within five minutes.

Smith’s fine cross from the right was headed inches wide by an unmarked Tom McGowan as the first of many fine opportunities went begging.

Only the woodwork prevented Saints from falling behind moments later as Farnborough man Dan Walker fired against the bar with goalkeeper James Goff beaten.

But there was no such lucky escape for Saints when Walker powered into the box to fire past Goff and open the scoring in the 11th minute.

But Marheineke’s men responded well as they levelled within seven minutes when Ogbonna was left with the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net after Farnborough keeper Luke Cairney fluffed his attempt to deal with a McGowan pass.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men when Glen Southam was dismissed for collecting two of the 10 cautions issued by the referee Damith Bandara.

The Farnborough man was yellow-carded following a flare-up with Saints assistant boss Jack Cassidy and then booked again for a poor challenge on Peter Clark.

Ben Seymour-Shove and Ogbonna squandered good chances in between those two offences from the Farnborough man before a host of other cautions were issued in the run-up to half-time – including one to Ogbonna for kicking the ball away.

And that proved to be a costly offence when he was cautioned again midway through the second half after being deemed to have raised an elbow when challenging Farnborough captain Josh Huggins for an aerial ball.

Ogbonna and Jimmy Hartley both went close to putting St Ives ahead earlier in the second period and Seymour-Shove drilled an effort just wide when a pass to Ogbonna appeared a better option.

Farnborough had posed occasional threat when at a numerical disadvantage and that increased once the man-power had been evened up by referee Bandara.

Walker saw one well-struck effort deflected inches over the bar, but made no mistake when presented with another opportunity three minutes from time.

Saints can’t afford to dwell on their latest defeat as they return to action tomorrow (Monday) at Hitchin.

Marheineke hopes attacking duo Danny Kelly and James Hall will return after missing the Farnborough trip due to injury and becoming a father respectively.