RICKIE Lambert scored twice as Saints took a major step towards promotion with a 2-0 win Crystal Palace.

Nigel Adkins' side moved three points clear of second-placed Reading, while they went seven ahead of West Ham, who were playing Birmingham in today's late kick-off at Upton Park.

Lambert headed Saints in front after 39 minutes, as he charged in at the back post to meet Danny Butterfield's cross from the right.

And he sealed the win in the 56th minute when he danced past the Palace defence and fired in a low left foot shot.