ST ALBANS MEN took a major step towards reclaiming their Premier League status with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Stourport in Worcestershire on Sunday, while nearest rivals Bournville could only draw at Brooklands to see the Tangerines open up a four point gap at the top of the table.

Saints dominated the first-half but squandered several opportunities, with Ian Hammond, Gareth Terrett and Pete Ellis all coming close.

However, the Tangerines finally got the goal they deserved early in the second-half when Craig Hawkins split the defence with a measured pass, which Alex Jennings latched onto before crossing for Ellis to tap home.

Five minutes later, the Saints should have put the game beyond the home side when Terrett's weak penalty stroke was saved by the keeper, but, in truth, St Albans held on fairly comfortably for the three points.

"I was pleased with our performance," said coach Julian Halls. "We were able to maintain our intensity on the field and give our youngsters valuable experience for the future. We must win this type of game if we are serious about promotion."