NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Ives Town hope to drink to a successful end to the Southern League Premier Division Central season
- Credit: Archant
Points mean pints for St Ives Town during the remainder of this season.
Manager Ricky Marheineke revealed the club have come up with a liquid incentive to ensure his players’ thirst for Southern League Premier Division Central successes doesn’t wane in the closing weeks of the campaign.
Saints could be forgiven for having one eye on their summer holidays as they sit in mid-table safety – 15 points clear of the relegation zone and 13 points off the play-off spots.
But a possible top-10 finish is still within reach and Marheineke is happy his men have an extra slice of motivation in the form of a win bonus to put towards the kitty for their end-of-season bash.
Speaking ahead of a trip to second-placed Stourbridge this Saturday, he said: “It’s all too easy to have one foot on the beach when sitting in mid-table as we are doing, but that’s not something we want to see happen.
“There’s an incentive for the players to win football matches and I’m sure they’ll want to rack up as much money as they can for their end-of-season do.
“We are still determined to finish as high as we can and we’re looking for the players to show us they want to be at this football club beyond this season by performing well in the final six games.
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“Hopefully we can add one or two new faces in the summer, but we certainly don’t want to have a mass overhaul of the squad in the way we did last summer.
“However, we have to be realistic and accept we can’t compete financially with a lot of clubs at this level.”
There was certainly no shortage of effort last Saturday as Saints were beaten 2-0 by play-off chasing Alvechurch at Westwood Road.
But an occasional lack of quality was in evidence during a match in which Marheineke’s men conceded early goals in each half.
Kyle Morrison was left unmarked to head the opener after just six minutes and Tom Tonks provided the finish to a slick move from the Midlanders three minutes into the second period.
Saints, who have won only four of their 18 home games in the Premier Division Central this season, applied plenty of pressure to no avail in the closing quarter of the contest.
Recent signing Gavin Hoyte flicked a close-range effort over the bar at full-stretch, Ty Ward was denied by a fine save from Alvechurch keeper Dan Crane and Jake Newman nodded against the outside of a post.
Marheineke added: “I watched Alvechurch in their previous game at King’s Lynn and we knew they would come out of the traps at 100mph. We expected an onslaught so it’s all the more disappointing that we started both halves really poorly.
“We set up with a gameplan to keep things tight and grow into the game but that went out of the window after conceding in the sixth minute.
“That said I thought the lads put in a good shift and were very competitive, but we couldn’t take the good chances that came our way.”