NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Excuses are running out as St Ives Town allow more precious points to slip away
- Credit: Archant
Manager Ricky Marheineke admitted the excuses are fast running out for struggling St Ives Town.
Marheineke's men remain in the Southern League Premier Division Central drop-zone after a 3-2 defeat at Bromsgrove Sporting last Saturday.
Saints left the Midlands empty-handed despite their hosts being reduced to 10 men after just 15 minutes. They were eventually undone by a late goal after earlier leading and levelling.
"We have no more excuses to make," admitted Marheineke. "The squad is almost back to full strength and I believe it is good enough to start picking up points.
"If that doesn't happen it is down to things we are not doing well enough rather than any other circumstances.
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"We should have left Bromsgrove with at least a point, but three silly individual errors have cost us goals.
"Some of our players are low on confidence and others are possibly questioning themselves. Some may not be good enough for this level but they the best available to meet our finances.
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"It is the job of myself and Bully (assistant manager Craig Adams) to manage the players and get the best out of them.
"I would walk away if I didn't believe I could keep the club up."
Saints handed a first appearance of the season to teenage goalkeeper Shay Griffiths with regular number one Finlay Iron injured.
And it wasn't long before the young deputy was picking the ball out of his net as Michael Taylor put Sporting ahead in the third minute.
That opener arrived only seconds after Ben Seymour-Shove squandered a golden chance for Saints, but the visitors did soon succeed in finding the net as loan capture Cameron McWilliams opened his account for the club.
Saints appeared to be given the upper hand after a quarter-of-an-hour as Sporting man Leon Broadhurst was dismissed for an ugly challenge on Seymour-Shove, but they were unable to make the most of their numerical advantage as they fell behind for a second time only five minutes later when Harry Higginson headed in a corner.
A terrific Tom Wood block and a super Griffiths save denied Will Shorrock further goals for the hosts before the break and Saints' young keeper pulled off an even better save to thwart Shaquille McDonald in the opening minute of the second period.
They proved to be vital contributions as Saints levelled moments later when captain Robbie Parker coolly converted from the penalty spot after George Bailey was bundled over.
Defender Charlie Johnson and recent recruit Joe Curtis were then denied by smart saves from Sporting keeper Dan Platt as Saints attempted to seize the initiative and claim a much-needed victory.
But they were left with nothing after being stung by a Sporting winner from Taylor in the 83rd minute following a slip by Wood.
Saints remain two points from safety ahead of a home clash against fellow bottom-six outfit Stratford Town at Westwood Road this Saturday, 3pm.