NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Ives Town shine beside the seaside with Southern League Premier Division success at Weymouth

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke.

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke. - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town enjoyed a winning start to their second Southern League Premier Division campaign - as a classy performance came complete with a slice of good fortune.

New recruit Lewis Hilliard provided the only goal on his debut when scoring direct from an 83rd minute corner as Saints triumphed at Weymouth.

And while the manner of the breakthrough might have been unusual, as Hilliard’s inswinging flag-kick found its way through a crowded goalmouth and bounced into the net, it was no more than Ricky Marheineke’s side deserved.

Saints had the ball in the net on two further occasions in the closing stages, only for the celebrations of striker Danny Kelly to be cut short on both occasions.

His first effort was ruled out for use of the elbow when holding off a defender to convert a Ben Seymout-Shove cross, and Kelly was then adjudged to have converted another Seymour-Shove pass from an offside position moments later.

And only the woodwork had prevented Saints from hitting the front late in the first half when the returning Phil Draycott saw a fine free-kick kept out by the underside of the bar.

“I’m really happy to get the three points,” said manager Marheineke. “We concentrated on our own performance, went about our business in the right way and deserved the result.

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“We probably should have put the game to bed with a second goal, but we were excellent defensively and our goal was pretty much untroubled with the exception of a couple of efforts from long distance.”

Goalscorer Hilliard was one of four debutants in a new-look St Ives team, while wideman Draycott and striker James Hall both started second spells with the club.

The victory came complete with a clean sheet for goalkeeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle – another player making a first appearance for Saints.

The 19 year-old Guyana international has been borrowed from League Two side Barnet and delivered an accomplished debut display.

Marheineke added: “It’s hugely important to get off to a winning start and hopefully we can build on it against Biggleswade on Tuesday.”

Full-back Brett Longden went off with a groin problem and is a doubt for Saints’ first home outing when they host Biggleswade.