NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: ‘Textbook performance’ keeps St Ives Town moving in the right Southern League Premier Division direction
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Assistant boss Jack Cassidy saluted a ‘textbook performance’ as St Ives Town climbed into their highest Southern League Premier Division position of the season.
Cassidy - in charge with manager Ricky Marheineke at a family wedding - dished out the plaudits in the wake of a 2-0 success at Basingstoke last Saturday.
Strike duo Dubi Ogbonna and Danny Kelly provided the first-half goals which earned a valuable victory, while a super Saints showing ensured goalkeeper Tim Trebes’ 100th appearance for the club was also one of his quietest.
The victory lifted them into 16th spot – four points clear of a relegation zone which still featured another Huntingdonshire side, St Neots Town, after they suffered a home humiliation when going down 5-1 to fellow strugglers Hayes & Yeading.
Cassidy said: “We were excellent from start to finish.
“We were organised and disciplined when out of possession, but what pleased me most was the way we used the ball ourselves.
“Defensively and offensively, it was right up there with our best displays of the season. You could call it a textbook performance.”
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It certainly came complete with a perfect start as Ogbonna turned in a third-minute corner from Jack Higgs - another man completing a century of outings in a St Ives shirt.
And fellow frontman Kelly then doubled the advantage when converting a Tom McGowan cross 10 minutes before the break.
Saints continued to threaten in the second half of the game when Ogbonna was denied by a goal-line block, before turning provider for McGowan to guide another good chance just wide.
No Saints player came closer to a third goal than Harry O’Malley, but the right-back saw his header hit the bar after being picked out by substitute Ben Seymour-Shove’s free-kick.
Hosts Basingstoke predictably applied the pressure in the closing stages and a Sam Deadfield effort did beat Trebes, but Jordan Jarrold dashed back to head off the line and preserve a deserved clean sheet.
St Ives are now unbeaten in three Premier Division games and will aim to extend that run when hosting play-off chasers Redditch United this Saturday. A long Tuesday trip to Dorchester then follows.
Cassidy added: “They’re both going to be tough games for different reasons, but hopefully we can continue to build momentum.
“Redditch are challenging for a play-off spot and are on a good run of their own, while a trip all the way down to Dorchester is not ideal on a Tuesday.
“We’ll need to assess availability ahead of that game as it may pose problems for some lads due to work commitments.”
Saints have defensive issues this Saturday as Liam McDevitt is away while captain Charlie De’Ath is still being troubled by an infected gash to his ankle.
It means the dependable Daniel Moyes may be required to step in, just as he has done in recent FA Trophy games.