SWINDON Town ended their woeful recent FA Cup record in spectacular fashion this afternoon, roaring into the second round with an emphatic win away at non-league side Dartford.

Town have fallen at the first hurdle in each of the last five seasons, with three of those early exits inflicted by opposition outside of the Football League.

With Dartford sitting top of National League South, they may well have fancied their chances of inflicting more agony on Town, although that was never likely following a classy performance from David Flitcroft’s side at Princes Park.

The visitors needed just a dozen minutes to break the deadlock in Kent through Timi Elsnik before Harry Smith and a second for Elsnik put the game to bed before the half-time whistle.

It was more one-way traffic after the restart as Town went 5-0 up after just 50 minutes when Amine Linganzi and Paul Mullin hit the goal trail, with the only blot on the visitors’ copy book the consolation netted by Richard Sho-Silva in the dying stages.

The victory was Town’s fourth in succession in all competitions and sees them safely into the draw for the next round on Monday.

Town boss Flitcroft made six changes to the side that edged to a 1-0 win at home to Wycombe Wanderers in the Checkatrade Trophy in midweek, with the team much more akin to that which had triumphed 3-0 away at Port Vale in their last League Two fixture the previous weekend.

There were just two alterations to that XI as Elsnik replaced John Goddard in a midfield trio, with Mullin taking the place of Keshi Anderson on the right-hand side of Town’s front three.

The Crystal Palace loanee was not even named amongst the substitutes, suggesting he had not been given clearance to play by parent club Crystal Palace. Ellis Iandolo was the man to fill the gap in the only alteration from the matchday 18 that featured at Vale Park.

There was an early scare for the Town defence when Ryan Hayes saw a shot deflected and Olly Lancashire sliced his attempted clearance but the visitors survived when they were awarded a free-kick.

Swindon swiftly raised the tempo and Mullin curled their first effort wide from the edge of the box before they promptly broke the deadlock after just 12 minutes.

Linganzi drilled a teasing low ball in from the right and Mullin lunged to meet it in front of keeper Deren Ibrahim, who could only parry into the path of Elsnik to slam home from close range.

Mullin then curled an effort over the bar before Donal McDermott stung the palms of Ibrahim with a rasping drive from distance.

Despite the hosts trailing 1-0, Princes Park was still rocking but silence suddenly descended when Town put the game to bed with two goals in four minutes just before the half-hour mark.

Smith doubled the lead with a stunning first-time strike into the top corner from 20 yards after being teed up by McDermott.

Elsnik then got his second and the visitors’ third goal shortly afterwards when he climbed highest at the back post to head home a beauty of a cross from Matt Taylor from the left.

To their credit, the Darts did not roll over and Alex Brown wasted a good chance to get them back into the game as he lashed over the top when Lancashire could only head down a Hayes cross into his path.

There was disappointment for Elsnik before the break as he was denied the possibility of a hat-trick when he limped off with seven minutes to go until half-time after picking up an ankle knock, with Goddard the man to replace him.

Dartford finished the half strongly and Swindon keeper Reice Charles-Cook pulled off a superb save to tip over an Elliot Bradbrook header before Brown lashed over from 25 yards with an excellent first-time effort but Town’s three-goal lead remained intact.

If the home side had hoped that rally would be the catalyst for a second-half fightback that was quickly put to bed with two more Town goals within five minutes of the restart.

The first came after just 70 seconds when Goddard’s scooped effort was not cleared properly and Linganzi beautifully volleyed the dipping ball into the net from the penalty spot.

Goddard was involved again as Swindon made it 5-0 after 50 minutes, with his neat footwork sending Ben Purkiss into the box and his low cross is finished off by Mullin.

Dartford still offered up a few chances themselves and Alfie Pavey got his head at a whipped Hayes cross but Charles-Cook gathered at the second attempt.

The majority of opportunities continued to come Town’s way, though, as Goddard sent an effort narrowly wide before Ibrahim made a good reaction stop to turn away a Smith header from Taylor’s corner.

The home side were able to grab a consolation for their spirited efforts with seven minutes to play when substitute Tom Murphy’s shot came back off the post following a corner and Sho-Silva reacted quickest to drill the loose ball into the net, although it did little to take off any gloss from Town’s dominant display.

DARTFORD: Ibrahim; Harris, Bonner, Sho-Silva, Onyemah; Hayes (Mfula 67), Brown (Wood 67), Noble, Bradbrook (capt), Della-Verde (Murphy 55); Pavey. Subs not used: Coxall, Vint, Fulton, Ahwieh.

SWINDON TOWN: Charles-Cook; Purkiss, Lancashire (capt), Preston, Taylor; Dunne, Elsnik (Goddard 38), Linganzi, McDermott (Gordon 74), Mullin (Woolery 54); Smith. Subs not used: Henry, Robertson, Knoyle, Iandolo.

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 2,705