NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Ives Town chief insists his men must learn from heavy midweek defeat as they reach the halfway stage of the Southern League Premier Division season

Phil Draycott hit St Ives Town's goal in their defeat at Kettering. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT

Phil Draycott hit St Ives Town's goal in their defeat at Kettering. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town suffered a heavy defeat as they reached the halfway point of their Southern League Premier Division campaign on Tuesday night.

Struggling Saints were beaten 4-1 at title-chasing Kettering Town. Phil Draycott hit a late consolation on a night when only the exploits of goalkeeper Tim Trebes prevented a bigger hiding.

Manager Ricky Marheineke said: “We played relatively well in the first half – particularly the opening 30 minutes, but we didn’t manage to get a goal at the time when we were doing best in the game.

“We were then all over the place defensively in the second half and that’s just not good enough.

“We ended up conceding four goals and it would have been seven or eight had my goalkeeper not been in tremendous form.

“We addressed it after the game when I was critical of a few of their lads and I will be interested to see the way in which they respond.

“It was a tough evening and we have to learn from it.”

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Draycott saw a good early opportunity kicked away by Poppies keeper Phil White before Saints defender Miles Smith brilliant blocked at the other end as Lindon Meikle looked set to put away a Ben Milnes pass.

The hosts eventually hit the front in the 17th minutes when Aaron O’Connor struck from 10 yards and only a goal-line clearance from Gary Mulligan denied Saints a quick leveller after White hopelessly mis-judged a looping Ben Seymour-Shove cross.

While Saints matched their high-flying hosts for much of the opening period, it was one-way traffic after the break as Kettering dominated.

O’Connor was denied a second goal within a minute of the restart and then delivered for Rene Howe to double the advantage

There was brief respite as Saints went on the attack long enough for Seymour-Shove to fire against a post from a tight angle, but any faint hopes of a fightback were ended when Ben Milnes struck with 17 minutes to go.

Rhys Hoenes gobbled up a fourth Kettering goal after Saints keeper Tim Trebes had done superbly to keep out Matty Stevens’ initial effort.

A curling Draycott free-kick did at least provide a consolation in the closing stages of a 16th defeat in 23 Premier Division outings for Saints this term.

Saints lost midfielder Tom McGowan to a knee problem at half-time. They also have Peter Clark out injured currently.

Latest signing Danny Watson was sent on as a substitute just after the hour. The striker has returned for a second spell with a club he helped to promotion in 2015/16.

Another difficult test awaits at Chesham this Saturday.