NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Biggest game of the season for St Ives Town

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke in conversation with assistant boss Craig Adams. Picture: DUNC

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke in conversation with assistant boss Craig Adams. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town face their most important fixture of the season tomorrow.

That is how manager Ricky Marheineke has billed a Southern League Premier Division Central clash with Hitchin at Westwood Road, 3pm.

Saints and their Hertfordshire opponents are both in the bottom six of the standings and will go into battle level on 11 points.

While Marheineke stopped short of insisting his side have to win, he does admit that it is a game they can ill-afford to be beaten in.

And the Saints chief has called on supporters to be his side's 12th man as they bid to make the most of home advantage.

"There is no doubt it is our biggest game of the season," said Marheineke. "And it is one we must not lose.

"It's always important to pick up results against the teams around you in the table and Saturday is no different.

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"Everyone can see we're not in great form. We look defeated and short on confidence, but it is my job to put that right.

"Hopefully we will have a couple of additions to boost the squad and we really need the fans to turn out in force and get behind us as well.

"We're well aware of the fact we haven't given a lot to shout about so far this season, but we're all in this together.

"Hitchin supporters will definitely travel in good numbers and I hope it's not a repeat of last Saturday when the away fans from Soham outnumbered our fans."

Marheineke completed the capture of midfielder James Peters from Bedford Town ahead of their FA Trophy stalemate with Soham last Saturday.

Peters is back for a second spell at Westwood Road and has also played for fellow local clubs St Neots Town and Eynesbury Rovers.

The signing of attacking midfielder Joe Curtis from Premier Division Central rivals Stratford Town is also complete.

But further additions are still likely with Marheineke keen to draft in a defender and a forward.

Full-back Ben Jackson and utility man George Bailey could also be fit to face Hitchin.

Saints were then dumped out of the FA Trophy at the first qualifying roun stage when suffering a 3-0 replay defeat at lower-level Soham on Tuesday.

Marheineke's side have now failed to score in six hours of football following four consecutive blanks in league games against Alvechurch and Royston and in both legs of the Trophy tie.