A match report by Swindon Supermarine correspondent Aleck Everard
Swindon Supemarine made the second of a trio of away journeys on Saturday as they travelled to Winchester City.
With a good comeback in midweek manager Lee Spalding opted to make one alteration, with Conor McDonagh coming in up top and Brad Hooper dropping to the bench as the team took on a more attacking bent.
And it proved to be an inspired move as Swindon came flying out of the blocks to seal the win inside the first 11 minutes.
A Joe Tumelty defence-splitting pass got James Harding behind the back line, and he opened the scoring with a low drive into the corner of the goal past Valero in five minutes.
Before the Winchester back line had time to breathe, Harding was in again and he rounded the keeper and was taken out. No card for the stopper but Harding drilled it low into the corner for 2-0.
And then it was all but over after a mix up at the back saw the ball fall for Conor McDonagh clear on goal. He took his time, rounded Valero and slotted home for his ninth of the campaign.
After this high octane start the game settled down although Marine continued to dominate possession.
McDonagh got into a scuffle and found himself booked on 19 minutes before Henry Spalding had a good effort blocked by the defence after linking up well with Zack Kotwica.
Kotwica followed that up with a low effort well held just after the half hour, before Jamie Edge committed a foul on the edge of the box and was yellow carded.
With Marine stepping off the gas in the last 10 minutes of the half, the home side found some space and a well-worked move saw the ball played across to Warren Bentley who gave Gould no chance in the Marine goal with the finish.
Winchester continued their improvement by starting strongly in the second period. Ty Duffus replaced Malik Sesay as he continued his recovery from a facial injury wearing a mask.
It appeared to have the Osimhen effect as he found his scoring boots on 54 minutes when following a corner Spalding played the ball back to the big centre back, who fired home for his second of the season to kill off the comeback.
Gould did well with a great double stop soon after before Harding completed his hat-trick and 14 for the season, and what a team move! Kotwica and Campbell combined before Campbell’s cross was deftly headed home off the bar by Harding on 57.
Brad Hooper replaced Tumelty on the hour and this brought another striker for Marine. A whipped ball in from Jamie Edge and appeared to elude everyone, although Harding is claiming a touch for his fourth. It was hard to tell even on video!
Marine were rampant! Leon Morrison had a run out for the last 20, coming on for Harding to try his hand in defensive midfield where he put in a useful shift. The final big chance came for Kotwica, who broke away brilliantly and seemed sure to make it 7 only to blast the effort wide of goal.
A truly brilliant team effort which extends the unbeaten league run to 11 matches and places Marine one place outside the playoffs but with a game in hand.
Next up Plymouth Parkway away next weekend.
Man of the match – James Harding.
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