St Albans City ended their winless streak with a 1-0 win over Maidstone United at the weekend, but there was a stroke of fortune about it.

The only goal of the game came from United defender Ross Marshall who haplessly turned the ball past his own goalkeeper midway through the second half.

That was enough for the Saints to pick up all three points at Clarence Park and climb up to 19th in the table.

Visitors Maidstone are pushing for a place in the play-offs and nearly had a stroke of luck themselves early on when goalkeeper Chris Lewington’s clearance was almost carried into the Saints net by a strong wind swirling around the ground.

Dean Snedker was alert enough to react and back-peddled to catch the ball with a strong right hand.

In a game of few opportunities, a free-kick for both sides, each of which sailed harmlessly over the bar, was all that either set of fans had to get excited about during the first half, with Joe Iaciofano’s acrobatic attempt from inside the area also posing more of a threat to the fans behind the goal than to Lewington’s net.

The game opened up a touch more after the break and Saidou Khan had the first real shot on target shortly after when he pirouetted neatly in the area to fashion a sight at goal, only for his near-post strike to be beaten out by Snedker.

Khan’s clever movement was to provide a brief bit of respite from a game mostly lacking in quality and the normal order was restored when Scott Shulton’s attempted volley from just outside the area cleared the stand behind the net, with goals looking increasingly unlikely for both teams.

An almighty scramble in the Maidstone six-yard-box saw players from both sides hoofing the ball into one another, with the home side desperately trying to force it into the net and the visitors doing all they could to prevent it from going in. Eventually it was United who prevailed on this occasion, just about hacking the ball clear after several failed attempts.

However, the Saints managed to find a way through just after the hour mark when some clever thinking from Shulton released Rohdell Gordon on the right with a quick free-kick and his cross was flicked past Lewington at his near post by Marshall from inside his own penalty area.

Maidstone tried to recover and really ought to have levelled the contest when Justin Amaluzor broke free from the Saints’ defence to give himself a one-on-one with Snedker. However instead of shooting when he had the chance he deliberated for far too long and James Kaloczi got back in time to make a vital challenge. United players were adamant that the referee should have pointed to the spot, but the tackle was deemed to be a fair one by the official.

Jefferson Louis and Solomon Nwabuokei were both similarly wasteful late on when they took far too long to pull the trigger with the goal at their mercy.

Snedker was called into action for a final time from a Maidstone set piece in the dying moments of the game, when a delivery from deep was flicked into the path of Ibrahim Olutade, but his stooping header lacked strength and the keeper was able to thwart the danger.

The win was St Albans’ first in five games and after the match manager Ian Allinson told the club website that City deserved their slice of luck.

“We were fortunate enough to get a deflected goal,” he said.

“It was nice for us to get a bit of luck and go on and win the game.”