NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: The hard work is paying off as St Ives Town climb into the top half of the Southern League Premier Division

Ricky Marheineke celebrates after guiding St Ives Town to promotion last season.. Picture: DUNCAN LA

Ricky Marheineke celebrates after guiding St Ives Town to promotion last season.. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT - Credit: Archant

Delighted manager Ricky Marheineke believes St Ives Town executed their Huntingdonshire derby plan to perfection last night to continue a wonderful run of form.

Saints completed a Southern League Premier Division double over their local rivals by storming to a 4-0 triumph at the Premier Plus Stadium.

Liam McDevitt, Danny Kelly and Ben Seymour-Shove put Marheineke’s men in command with first-half goals before Josh Dawkin struck early in the second period to sink their managerless hosts.

Marheineke said: “We knew it was important to start the game well given St Neots’ current situation.

“They’ve conceded early goals in a lot of their recent games and then had a mini-collapse, and that happened again.

“A three-goal lead at half-time was a perfectly fair reflection of how the game had gone and, if anything, we could have been even further ahead.

“It can sometimes be difficult to keep going forward and doing the right things when a game is already pretty much over, but we got the fourth goal early in the second half to put the result beyond any doubt.

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“We were then happy to sit on our lead, but we could still have scored a couple more goals.”

Not so long ago, it was St Ives sitting in the Premier Division drop-zone as their debut season in Step 3 football threatened to turn sour.

But Marheineke has galvanised his side in the wake of a 7-0 home drubbing at the hands of Kettering Town in early November.

They are unbeaten in all seven league games since that pivotal day in their season and climbed into the top half of the standings for the first time courtesy of last night’s effortless triumph.

But Marheineke was quick to admit there is no magic formula behind their transformation from a side seemingly facing a battle for survival to one sitting comfortably at Christmas.

“It’s just down to hard work,” he added. “It was made clear to the players that had to do more in training and in games.

“They had to understand what we wanted from them and then go an implement it. They have stuck together to turn the season around and I cannot praise them highly enough.

“This win takes us up to 12th in the table and that’s a terrific position to be in at Christmas in our first-ever season at this level.

“The fact we’re 11 points clear of the relegation zone is also a great achievement and we have to continue producing the sort of performances that we have done lately.

“Our target is to reach 48 points as we believe that is the figure we’ll need to stay up. The sooner we can do it, the better.”

St Ives have another derby date on Boxing Day when they entertain tenants Cambridge City at ProEdge Westwood Road, 1pm.