Miserable September ends with St Ives Town receiving another demoralising defeat

St Ives Town will be glad September has ended after another Southern League defeat.

St Ives Town will be glad September has ended after another Southern League defeat. - Credit: ST IVES TOWN FC

A hat-trick from Ben Stephens consigned St Ives Town to a sixth game without a win at home to Barwell.

The barren spell in the Southern League Premier Division Central is aside from the exits from FA Cup and the League Cup which have also happened in the period and heaped pressure on manager Ricky Marheineke.

The 3-1 loss was made all the worse as it came against another of the sides struggling this season, the Canaries having not won since the opening day of the season prior to their visit to Westwood Road.

With both sides low on confidence going into this fixture, a good start for either was always going to be vital and Ives almost got it in the third minute.

Nabil Shariff fed Nathan Hicks cutting in from the left but his low shot from 12 yards deflected off the legs of keeper Max Bramley and ricocheted to safety off the top of the post.

Ives then found themselves behind, Stephens outmuscling Josh Flanagan on the left and coming inside unchallenged before beating the exposed Paul White with only six minutes on the clock.

White had to produce a brilliant reaction stop moments later to keep the deficit at one and it looked to have been crucial when the hosts equalised on 13 minutes.

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Michael Richens showed a glimpse of his undoubted quality as he threaded the perfect through ball between the visitors' centre-backs to pick out the run of Liam Cross.

Once more Bramley closed him down quickly and again the shot deflected off his legs but unlike earlier the deflection was not enough to prevent the ball finding the net.

Ives should have then went in front but after Shariff was wrestled to the floor in the box, he fired the resulting penalty wide of the target.

And Barwell retook the lead before the half-hour was done, Stephens pouncing on a loose ball and firing into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Still in the game at the break manager Marheineke had to lift his charges for the second period and they were out early for the restart, no doubt with his words still ringing in their ears.

An early goal was what was required and Richens came close to providing it with only 43 seconds of the half gone, a skimming low drive from 25 yards that needed a one-handed diving save low to right from Bramley.

Kyron Stabana should have made the game safe for Barwell but scooped an effort from 12 yards over the top with the goal at his mercy but Stephens got his and his team's third with a rising drive into the top corner.

Hicks clipped the top of the bar and McWilliams found the side netting as Ives tried to set up a grandstand finish but in the end the game petered out to a tame and disappointing conclusion for the home side.

St Ives Town: White, McWilliams, Toseland, Richens, Solkhon, Flanagan, Cross, Nabi (Parker 78), Shariff, Williams (Snelus 69), Hicks (Milne 82)

Subs (not used): Heath, Faris, Rhaman.

Goal: Cross 13

Barwell: Bramley, Stabana, Percival, Pepe, T.Brown, Edjenguele, L.Brown, Brown-Hill (Powell 79), Stephens (Edwards 72), Hickey, Abadaki (Dunkley 61).

Subs (not used): Castle, Nisevic.

Goals: Stpehens 6, 28, 62

HT: St Ives Town 1 Barwell 2

Attendance: 142