SWINDON Supermarine produced a grandstand finish to start the new Southern League Premier Division South season with a thrilling 3-2 victory at home to Walton Casuals on Saturday.

With just two minutes of the 90 left on the clock, Lee Spalding’s side looked likely to finish their curtain-raiser at the Webbswood Stadium pointless.

However, substitute Kane Simpson capped a strong second-half performance from Marine with an equalising goal in the 89th minute.

And summer recruit Simpson saw his hero status rise even further in stoppage time as he popped up with a winning goal to leave the Surrey side stunned.

Marine manager Spalding said: “We certainly went through the wringer.

“We weren’t at the races in the first half. We didn’t start well and looked really sluggish.

“We made very hard work of it and went in at half-time 1-0 down. At that point, the message to the lads was that the only good thing was that we couldn’t play any worse than what we had done.

“In the second half, we were a lot brighter and we scored a good equaliser, although Walton then went down the other end and got a penalty.

“The spirit we showed after going 2-1 down was tremendous.

“It was a really good reaction and we pinned them in for the last 15 minutes. We played some good football and showed great character.

“At 2-2, I felt if any team was going to go on and win it, it would be us.

“In the end, we did manage to get the winner, so I am delighted.”

Marine were slow out of the blocks and found themselves behind at half-time as Joseph Morrison fired Walton into the lead nine minutes before the break.

Spalding was able to rally his troops during the interval and an improved performance was rewarded with an equaliser from Ryan Campbell just after the hour mark.

Parity did not last long, though, as Casuals got themselves back in front through a penalty from Rohdell Gordon.

But Marine refused to roll over and mounted a battling rally over the closing stages, capped by substitute Simpson’s two-goal heroics to turn the game around.

Spalding was at a loss to explain why his side were so sluggish at the start of the match, but was thrilled at how they were able to turn it around before the final whistle.

“I don’t know whether it was first-game nerves, but we just looked anxious on the ball in the first half and didn’t have enough quality,” said Spalding.

“That quite surprised me, to be honest, because we had been looking really good in pre-season. It didn’t look like us at all in the first 45 minutes.

“We made a few changes and the subs we brought on made a real difference.”