HIGHWORTH Town secured their spot in the first-qualifying round of the FA Cup after dominating lower-league Ardley United 3-0 at the Save on Tyres Stadium on Saturday.

Goals from Leon Morrison, Sean Wood and Steve Robertson helped knock the Hellenic League side out on a particularly hot day in North Wiltshire.

After their midweek victory over Slimbridge secured a first league win, Highworth made it two wins from three in all competitions thanks to their weekend success, but manager Jeff Roberts was not completely satisfied with his players’ performances against a side from the division below.

He said: “I wouldn’t say we were at our best, the heat obviously played its part and both sides tried to slow the game down.

“Overall, I don’t think they caused us too many problems and our goalkeeper didn’t touch the ball at all in the second half.

“Going in it half-time, I don’t think we’d done enough, so we had a chat to the lads and although we didn’t really speed up in the second half, getting that third goal killed the game.

“For us, it was just a case of keeping the clean sheet. We could have made it a lot easier, but overall, it was a comfortable win in the end.”

Highworth’s tough start to the Southern League season continues on Bank Holiday Monday when they welcome last season’s beaten play-off semi-finalists, Cirencester Town.

Boasting some exciting young talent and former football league players, Roberts knows the Centurions are a force to be reckoned with, but believes his side are capable of matching their visitors.

Roberts said: “Cirencester are a very good side, and they’re one of the favourites for the league.

“They’ve got some quality players like Michael Pook in there who can command the game.

“We’ll have to be on our toes, but if we can get the best out of our players, we can give them a really good game.

“It’s a case of whether we turn up mentally, and it’s down to our players to rise to the occasion. If we do, we’ll be fine.”

Elsewhere, both Hellenic League Premier sides in the region crashed out of the FA Cup this weekend.

Shrivenham continued their rough start to the season with a 2-0 home defeat to Chalfont St Peter while Fairford narrowly went down 3-2 at home to Hanwell Town.

Harvey Scholes scored a penalty to give Fairford the lead in the first half while Mason Thompson netted an equaliser in the second.

However, Hanwell struck late to dump Fairford out of the competition.