SWINDON Town disposed of Wessex League outfit Petersfield Town 5-2 at Love Lane this evening.
Two first-half goals from Michael Smith, a late brace from substitute Will Randall and George Barker’s confident finish completed a comfortable victory for the Robins, who also missed a penalty.
It was a worthwhile run-out for Mark Cooper’s men, who emerged through a difficult first half-hour to ease past their hosts, who scored through Ash Howes and Ryan Coker.
Smith, Barker, Louis Thompson and Nathan Byrne all had sights of goal in the opening 15 minutes, though none could work Matt Shortt in the Petersfield goal.
On the quarter-hour, Massimo Luongo exchanged passes with Barker in midfielder and broke into the penalty area but his sidefooted effort bounced back off Shortt’s right-hand post.
The Petersfield keeper was in the thick of the action again three minutes later, as Smith cottoned onto a loose ball in the box to fizz a stinging half-volley towards goal, only for Shortt to get his body in the way.
Swindon had a glorious chance to take the lead in the 25th minute, when Barthram was brought down clumsily in the box, but Smith saw his low penalty well saved by Shortt to the keeper’s left.
The Robins finally went in front with eight minutes remaining of the first half. After Luke Heard handled on the line, Smith stepped up to successfully convert from 12 yards at the second attempt.
Moments later the Town striker came within a whisker of his second goal of the evening. Byrne clipped in a floated cross from the left and Smith headed against the top of the crossbar.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to steer further in front, however, and it was Smith who notched both his and Swindon’s second in the 43rd minute. Luongo, who seemed to give himself an extra five seconds on the ball throughout, slipped in the lively Barthram down the left and he crossed for Smith to tap home.
Town started the second half slowly and were punished in the 56th minute, when Ash Howes came off the bench to curl a sumptuous free-kick beyond Tyrell Belford in the Robins’ goal.
The visitors’ third goal of the evening came with a little over 20 minutes remaining. Barthram surged down the right and picked out substitute Will Randall with a low cross, and the youth teamer obliged with a terrific first-time finish.
Randall doubled his own tally less than 10 minutes later, collecting a Barker throughball to round the goalkeeper and slot home, before Barker turned goalscorer, wriggling past two defenders on the edge of the box before smashing the ball into the back of the net.
Late on, Coker broke free to prod a miscued effort past Belford, after Cooper had made six substitutions, as the hosts had the final say.