NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Ives Town are certain of Southern League Premier Division safety, but manager Ricky Marheineke is in no mood to celebrate
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Town are mathematically certain of Southern League Premier Division survival – but manager Ricky Marheineke was in no mood to boast about it.
Saints were involved in a goalless draw at rock-bottom Gosport Borough on Saturday as they snapped a run of four successive defeats.
It was an outcome which left Marheineke’s men 17 points clear of their basement opponents in a campaign where only the rock-bottom finishers will face the drop.
And Saints should be grateful for that. Were this a typical season where the bottom four are relegated, they would find themselves the same margin from safety.
A rare clean sheet was a source of positivity for Marheineke at Gosport, but a series of squandered second-half chances only served to highlight why his side find themselves sitting third-bottom of the standings.
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“To be at this level again next season was our target and it’s great that it’s now mathematically certain,” said Marheineke. “But it certainly doesn’t mask the fact that we’ve had a poor season.
“This was another game which highlighted why we find ourselves in the position we do.
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“Our goalkeeper didn’t have to make a save in 93 minutes of football and it’s pleasing to have a clean sheet because they have been few and far between.
“We never looked like conceding and it was a question of whether we could get a goal to win the game, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
“We had three glorious chances in the second half and didn’t take any of them. We should be talking about a 3-0 victory, but we’re reflecting on a 0-0 draw instead.
“It was still a huge improvement based on what we produced at St Neots a couple of days earlier.”
There was little excitement in a dour opening period, but Saints created a series of excellent opportunities in the second half.
Ben Baker saw a goalbound effort deflected wide before an unmarked Charlie De’Ath was unable to get a telling touch to a Tom Knowles corner seconds later.
Those two players then reversed roles as Saints fashioned another glorious chance with Knowles heading wide from 10 yards after being picked out by a fine De’Ath cross.
The woodwork prevented them hitting the front inside the final quarter-of-an-hour as Knowles’ low cut-back was deflected against his own post by Borough defender Rob Flooks.
Declan Rogers saw a 25-yard effort kept out by a smart save from the resulting corner before Lloyd Groves headed wide from the next flag-kick.
And Rogers then spurned Saints’ final chance to earn maximum points when steering a Rogan McGeorge cross over the bar from close range.
Saints entertain Redditch tomorrow night (Tuesday) in the first of four home games in a week. They also host Basingstoke on Thursday, Dorchester on Saturday and Stratford next Tuesday.