NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Praise for St Ives Town players as upturn in fortunes continues courtesy of success against play-off chasers

Josh Dawkin hit the opening goal as St Ives Town beat Redditch. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON

Josh Dawkin hit the opening goal as St Ives Town beat Redditch. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

Manager Ricky Marheineke praised the ‘attitude and application’ of his St Ives Town players after seeing a season-changing run of successes continue yesterday.

Saints recorded a fourth successive Southern League Premier Division victory when beating play-off contenders Redditch United 2-1 at ProEdge Westwood Road.

It was a well-deserved triumph achieved thanks to plenty of attacking panache and defensive grit as Marheineke’s men climbed another place to 15th and pulled six points clear of the relegation zone.

They are statistics which would presumably have been beyond the wildest dreams of Marheineke and his players when they subjected to a 7-0 home slaughter by five weeks ago, but that negative has certainly been turned into a positive.

Marheineke said: “It was a really good performance and I’m pleased for the lads. They were outstanding in everything they did on and off the ball.

“We played some great stuff to deservedly get ahead and a three or four goal lead wouldn’t have been an unfair reflection of the game.

“Then, when Redditch got on top in the last half-an-hour, we had to show a different side. We had to work exceptionally hard, we had to be brave and we had to put bodies on the line.

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“That side of our game had been missing until the last month, but everyone has stuck together to come out of a tough time. The upturn in fortunes is all down to the attitude and application of the players.

“We were caught between styles a bit and had some issues to address. The lads have bought into what we want from them, worked hard on the training pitch and taken it into games.”

Saints fluffed a golden opportunity to hit the front when Jack Higgs saw a fourth-minute penalty kept out by giant Redditch goalkeeper Brad Catlow.

But he made amends within a minute by winning possession in midfield and launching the move from which Josh Dawkin (who had also earned the spot-kick) fired in the opening goal.

Higgs was then denied by Catlow from double the distance of his penalty before Dubi Ogbonna could only steer the rebound into the grateful arms of the prostrate keeper.

Ogbonna then saw a deflected shot drift millimetres wide of the far post with Catlow rooted to the spot as Saints were frustrated in their attempts to double the lead before the break.

And another gift-wrapped chance went begging early in the second period as Ogbonna steered a close-range header wide after being picked out by a Higgs cross.

But the second goal Saints craved did eventually arrive just before the hour as Danny Kelly converted an Ogbonna pass after Tom McGowan had seized possession.

Redditch hit back seven minutes later when Luke Keen turned in from close range and that was the cue for the visitors to up the ante.

A Saints side who had dominated much of the contest were now firmly on the defensive and only a pair of terrific blocks preserved their advantage.

The dependable Daniel Moyes was first to excel after Reece Hales shot had beaten Trebes before Mark Coulson threw himself in the way of a goalbound Gurjit Singh effort with two minutes to go.

Saints face a long trip to Dorchester on Tuesday night.