Important win over Gloucester keeps St Albans City fighting in the Vanarama National League South play-off race

Tom Bender wins an aerial battle. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Tom Bender wins an aerial battle. Picture: LEIGH PAGE - Credit: Archant

A nine-minute hat-trick from Sam Merson was enough to clinch a vital 4-1 win away to Gloucester City.

Tom Bender headed Saints in front on 42 minutes but the Tigers levelled on half-time through Robbie Cundy.

But Cundy was then dismissed 15 minutes from time for a foul in the penalty area and Merson swept home the spot-kick before completing his treble.

Manager Ian Allinson said it was a difficult game played in breezy conditions, but admitted the penalty tipped the game in City’s favour.

He said: “I was right behind it and for me he’s left the ball and played the man so I think it is a penalty.

“I don’t know if it is a second yellow card but we have to take them because at this stage of the season we need to grasp anything to get the three points.

“We were fortunate because the red card changed the game but the win was important and so was the three goals as that has helped our goal difference.”