A FEW flashes of brilliance from Australian superstar Ben Barba lifted an error-strewn, stop-start from the gloom and helped deliver what was eventually an emphatic victory on the scoreboard.

It was never a pretty encounter – and the penalty count did not help – but in Barba Saints had an ace card to play to help them to four wins from as many matches.

The Red Devils took an early lead from a penalty, and although Saints were a touch impatient with the ball, once Barba grabbed the game by the lapels they had the game under control.

In the end 34-2 was a pretty lop-sided scoreline, with a three-try flourish in the last 10 minutes putting the icing on what was a pretty stodgy looking cake at times.

Barba, however, ensured that the majority of the 10,008 crowd went home happy.

It was a smart piece of play from the Saints full back, kicking early in the set for centre Tommy Makinson to race on to and touch down that registered the first one.

And just before the break, Barba found himself in space and he did the rest, accelerating past the cover for another to make it 8-2 at the break.

With the game having the potential to drift, Barba again imposed himself on the game and from a standing start he shimmied and stepped before reaching over the line.

A Richardson conversion and penalty seemed to settle it at 16-2, with former Saints prop Lama Tasi being yellow carded for a second high shot in a row.

It was still a pretty ugly affair, but three tries in the last 10 minutes ensured it finished with a bit of a flourish against a now broken, ill-disciplined outfit.

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook polished off good work from Makinson and especially Mark Percival to force his way through a back-pedalling defence.

Then after a Zeb Taia break, Theo Fages had the wherewithal to kick on the hoof for Jonny Lomax to chase and touch down.

And with the hooter sounding, many a player would have tempted to see the last tackle out and count the spoils.

Barba had other ideas and the team was rewarded for his audacity, carving a hole through the heart of the Red Devils defence after a one-two with Dom Peyroux before sending the ball back inside for Richardson to link up.

Powerhouse prop Luke Thompson was soon on the scene, and nobody was stopping him as he tore through with his arm aloft to touch down in front of the West Stand.

Pretty emphatic at the end, but despite four wins from four, Saints know they still have improvement in them that will be needed in the big games to come between now and Easter.