Swindon Supermarine were back on the road again as they began a double header down in London with a trip to Harrow Borough, who had conquered them in their superb FA Trophy run earlier this season in controversial circumstances.
Manager Lee Spalding opted for just the one alteration, starting Conor McDonagh in place of Zack Kotwica to pad out the front line in an attacking move.
This tactic paid off instantly when from a long goal kick by Josh Gould in the second minute home keeper Jacob Knightsbridge peddled back furiously to catch the ball, only to collide with the post and drop the ball at the feet of McDonagh, who finished expertly for his eighth of the season on his 130th appearance for the club.
Marine were flying and following another good team move the ball fell at the feet of McDonagh in front of goal but his effort was just deflected wide by the defence.
Gould was called into action when Allotey broke away down the left and the effort was kicked away with the feet low down.
Next to try his hand in a very open game was Harry Williams, put clean through by Joe Tumelty – you would have bet your house on him scoring but the keeper made amends for his earlier error to deny.
The visiting pressure continued with a series of corners, and from the last of these Henry Spalding dropped a deep one to the back stick which was powered home by the head of skipper Mat Liddiard from close range. With 21 minutes gone it was 2-0 to Swindon.
This was justice for the big man who scored for the first time this season – and whose previous goal had been chalked off in that FA Trophy game against Harrow earlier in the season very unjustly. An element of karma for sure.
Tumelty went into the book for a late challenge just after the half hour as Harrow had a better spell in the game. Chukwu up top powered through the back line only to see his effort brilliantly denied low down to his left by Josh Gould.
Despite the hosts' stronger ending Marine went into the changing rooms happy that their hard work had so far been rewarded.
Into the second period and the worst start possible for Marine. A lovely team move down the left by Borough saw the ball reach the back post and Kai Brosnan had a simple tap in. A goal back out of nowhere. And then to make matters worse when charging forward Will Tunnicliff pulled up with what looked a hamstring strain.
Manager Spalding leapt into action, not only to replace Tunnicliff but also to make a tactical tweak with Brad Hooper replacing McDonagh, with Campbell dropping back to left and Zack Kotwica on at left wing.
The hosts were now pushing hard but Marine looked dangerous on the break. Marine were defending and blocking well with Malik Sesay, in just his third game, holding the line with his teammate Liddiard against a lively front line.
Ryan Campbell's run and cross with 20 minutes to go saw the dangerous Williams have a header deflect just wide, and with Spalding providing a continual supply of dangerous balls it was just a matter of the time before the striker killed the game.
On 73 minutes he did just that. Williams twisted this way and that before eventually lining up a shot on the edge of the box that flew past the keeper and shot down the hosts' hopes of any comeback.
It was typical of the striker this season, producing that extra level of class when required - 31 for the season now!
Williams continued to torment the back line and appeared to be hacked down in the box soon after for a clear spot kick, but incredibly nothing was given.
Moore went into the book for persistent fouling on Tumelty and Marine held on easily to the win with the excellent Spalding replaced in injury time by James Harding.
A brilliant three points on the road to set the play-off chase alight, now sitting in sixth just two points behind Poole with a game in hand. Is something special going to happen this season? We have the ability, let's hope we have the application!
A great combination on the day of hard work and skill with some the right managerial tactics when needed. Everyone played their part to ensure this win.
Next up the second part of the London double header – Hayes & Yeading away on Tuesday night.
Fans' player of the match – Harry Williams
Editor's player of the match – Sam Turl
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