NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: “I’m confident we can turn it around,” insists St Ives Town chief

St Ives Town captain Robbie Parker scored during their defeat at the hands of Coalville Town last Sa

St Ives Town captain Robbie Parker scored during their defeat at the hands of Coalville Town last Saturday. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT - Credit: Archant

Manager Ricky Marheineke admits St Ives Town must become better in both boxes to drag themselves up the Southern League Premier Division Central standings.

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHY

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke. Picture: J BIGGS PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

Saints are unsurprisingly stuck in the relegation places after picking up just one point from their opening six games of the 2019/20 campaign.

Their tough start continued when falling to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Coalville Town at Westwood Road last Saturday - a match they briefly led before succumbing to two quick goals from their unbeaten visitors.

And while Marheineke is adamant the standard of his side's performances have deserved much greater rewards, the combination of not scoring enough goals (only two so far) and conceding too many (nine already) is a worrying trend.

"Having only picked up one point is obviously a concern," said Marheineke. "The individual errors we're making are also a worry and our inability to defend our box from set-pieces is unacceptable.

"But having said that, we are playing really well and have matched or bettered our opposition in four of our six games.

"We haven't been opened up often at all and we've been creative in attack, but we need to tidy things up in both boxes to give ourselves the chance of taking points.

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"The team are giving absolutely everything with their work-rate, attitude and application being brilliant, but I only feel we are getting 95 per cent out of the players. The missing five per cent is mentality and we need to be stronger in that respect.

"I'm confident we can turn it around as long as we continue to work hard and hopefully have a bit of luck on our side."

Saints were denied by the woodwork as Dan Clifton hit the crossbar early on against Coalville, but they did succeed in snapping a goal drought of more than seven hours when skipper Robbie Parker fired them ahead five minutes into the second half.

It was the first time they had found the net since Danny Kelly equalised in their draw against Tamworth on the opening day of the season and well worth the wait as Parker produced an exquisite touch to control and then a precise finish to convert a Ben Jackson cross from the right.

But the high of hitting the front was soon followed by a couple of lows as Saints were pegged back within five minutes and then found themselves behind only 12 minutes later as Coalville responded well to continue their unbeaten start to the season.

The visitors were given a helping hand by Saints full-back Ty Ward, whose needless trip on Alex Dean gave them a 55th minute penalty which Kairo Mitchell duly tucked past Martin Conway.

And the Saints keeper was then beaten again from double the distance as Tom McGlinchey's low drive from 25 yards caught everyone by surprise - including the scorer himself! - as it crept into the net.

Saints rarely looked like clawing their way level with a Jack Snelus snap-shot, which was deflected wide, the closest they came.

And they were arguably fortunate to finish with a full complement with defender Charlie De'Ath only receiving a caution for a cynical challenge on Coalville man Luke Shaw late on.

Saints have a break from league action this Saturday when entering the FA Cup at the first qualifying round stage.

But Marheineke's men certainly won't have an easy task when entertaining lower-level Berkhamsted - the current Division One Central leaders - at Westwood Road, 3pm.

The Saints chief added: "It's a welcome break from the league, but it is a very tough test as well."