BLUE SQUARE SOUTH Hayes & Yeading United 2 St Albans City 1
Hayes & Yeading United closed to within one win of the play-off zone after a flurry of goals within five minutes either side of half-time left them with a narrow victory over St Albans City.
Ram Marwa found the net for the second successive game and Matt Ruby grabbed his third goal of the season to increase City's barren spell to 12 league games without a win.
United are now three points off Maid-enhead United, who have recently had to get rid of numerous players as they tighten their belt.
With the league's top four beginning to open up a gap it is starting to look like United are one of six teams scrapping for the final play-off spot.
A cagey opening sprang into life in the eighth minute when Marwa troubled Paul Bastock with a long range volley and St Albans responded immediately when Jonathan Hunt's free kick was flicked just wide by James Fisher.
Both sides went close with headers, Josh Scott just off target with a glancing effort from a Dale Binns corner and former Northwood defender Fisher hit the bar from another Hunt delivery.
Steven Gregory again tested Bastock from distance before his opposite number Delroy Preddie produced the save of the game to block Hunt's close range header.
Ruby lunged bravely to clear before Paul Hakim could convert and just before half-time both goals were breached.
Ruby centred for Will Hendry, back from suspension, whose shot was touched in by Marwa but when Scott Cousins sent Hunt to the by-line his cut back was converted by Solomon Shields to bring the visitors level.
United had another chance in stoppage time when Ruby connected with Hendry's corner but Tom Cadmore could only find the side netting from the knock down, yet three minutes after the interval United did regain the lead.
Ruby again got his head to a corner, this time from Binns and although Bastock managed to tip his effort on to the crossbar, the centre half followed up to bundle the ball over the line among a bevy of players.
Bastock acrobatically kept out a Hendry volley and from the resulting corner Cadmore headed in only to see his effort ruled out for a foul, while Scott also had a great chance as United looked like running away with the game, only to find the post when he seemed likely to convert Hendry's misdirected shot.
Despite a Hakim drive from outside the area that went wide and a Fisher shot straight at Preddie, United held on comfortably to bank an important win.
UNITED: Preddie, Allen-Page, MacDonald, Cadmore, Ruby, Marwa, James, Gregory (Mulley 79), Scott, Hendry, Binns. Subs not used: Coleman, Collins, Perkins, Howe.
Goals, United: Marwa 43; Ruby 48. City: Shields 45. Attendance: 256.