By Lance Jenkinson
St Albans Saints are back in the big time.
The Saints have been promoted to the top flight National Premier League after a dominant 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory at Churchill Reserve on Sunday.
Things were looking shaky for St Albans early in the match.
They trailed in the 18th minute when Victory’s Nishan Velupillay was the finisher on a slick counter-attacking goal.
With so much on the line for St Albans, it did not want to wait too long for a response. The Saints swung into action and found a quick equaliser through Joseph Monek in the 29th minute.
Monek incredibly scored directly from the corner.
Four minutes later, a strong play from Ayodeji Omoboye earned a free kick for St Albans when he was dragged down.
It would result in a championship-winning goal to Jordan Wilkes, who followed up after Monek’s free kick was parried away and he launched a powerful strike into the bottom corner.
St Albans only needed a point to secure the title, but it went one better with all three. The Saints will return to the Victoria’s top competition for the first time since 2017.
While St Albans earned promotion, Whittlesea Ranges will play in NPL 3 next season.