NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Ives Town ordered to be better in both boxes after Bishop’s Stortford setback

Tom Knowles was one of the St Ives Town goalscorers in their defeat at Bishop's Stortford. Picture:

Tom Knowles was one of the St Ives Town goalscorers in their defeat at Bishop's Stortford. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke admitted his side threw away a Southern League Premier Division victory yesterday.

Saints were beaten 4-3 at Bishop’s Stortford in a seven-goal thriller, but Marheineke was quick to insist the game should have ended in a clear victory rather than a narrow defeat.

He was left fuming by the concession of four goals for the second time in the space of five days (Saints were beaten 4-0 at play-off chasing Chesham last Tuesday) and also a failure to take enough of the excellent chances they carved out.

“Bishop’s Stortford didn’t win that game of football – we lost it,” said Marheineke. “And there are two main reasons for that.

“We didn’t take enough of our chances, and we didn’t defend anywhere near well enough.

“We showed an inability to stop crosses coming into our box, or defend those that did come in, and then gifted a six-foot plus player a free header from a set piece for the decisive goal.

“It doesn’t matter how well we play at times, we won’t win matches at this level when conceding four goals. We’ve done that twice in a few days and it can’t continue.

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“We came away from Bishop’s Stortford with nothing when we should have had three points. I always want my players to come off the pitch having done everything they could for each other, but that didn’t happen yesterday.

“We had a good run recently when we weren’t actually creating that many chances, but we were being ruthless and defending well.

“Now we’re carving out more opportunities than ever, but not finishing them off while also failing to keep things tight at the back. We’re going to have to work hard to put those things right.”

Saints hit the front 10 minutes into an action-packed clash when Ben Barker finished after Lloyd Groves headed a Tom Knowles free-kick into his path.

The advantage proved to be short-lived as Dipo Akinyemi hauled Bishop’s Stortford level only eight minutes later, but Saints were back ahead by the half-hour mark when Snaith slammed in a rebound after a Baker shot was blocked.

Only a fine double-save prevented Knowles and Miles Smith from extending the lead before Saints goalkeeper Tim Trebes diverted a long-range Akinyemi free-kick against the bar.

But there was no stopping the Bishop’s Stortford frontman eight minutes into the second half as he hauled his side level for a second time.

Akinyemi buried a pass from veteran strike-partner Jamie Cureton, who had seen his initial effort tipped onto a post by Trebes, and barely two minutes later Saints were behind.

Cureton, still going strong at the age of 42, showed all the class that has earned him more than 300 career goals, to smartly convert a Jordan Westcott cross.

A brilliant solo strike from Knowles, who beat two defenders during a marauding run from the halfway line which ended with a cool finish, restored parity before the mid-point of the second period.

But the decisive moment arrived with 15 minutes to go as Marvel Ekpiteta headed in from a corner. It was a moment which highlighted their defensive shortcomings on a day when their attacking quality deserved at least a point.

Saints are back in action on Tuesday when entertaining local rivals St Neots Town in a Hunts Senior Cup semi-final at ProEdge Westwood Road, 7.45pm.