SWINDON Supermarine made it through to the FA Trophy first round proper after beating Highworth Town 3-2 in a lively and blustery affair at the Save on Tyres Stadium at the weekend.

The qualifying tie was the first time the pair had faced off in a national competition, and it was Marine who would use their superior quality to ultimately take the spoils against an ever-improving Worthians side.

A brace from Conor McDonagh and a Pierce Mitchell header proved decisive after strikes from Highworth’s Ash Edenborough and Callum McGhee-Parsons gave John Fisher and Ross Adams’ team hope of a shock.

Though the day ended well for Marine, Lee Spalding’s side did not enjoy the ideal start – the visitors were forced into an early change after striker Harry Williams tweaked a hamstring less than five minutes in.

Williams was replaced by talisman McDonagh - a move that highlighted the strength in depth of Marine’s squad.

And after missing a good chance to go ahead, Marine’s scratchy start would get worse as, despite looking comfortable early on, Highworth opened the scoring in the 27th minute.

After a Worthians free-kick rebounded to the feet of Ash Edenborough, the striker showed his predatory instincts to lash it into the corner to give the hosts a shock lead.

Marine continued to press and drew level right before half-time when McDonagh delightfully curled the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

And within a minute of the second half, the visitors had turned the game on its head following another McDonagh goal.

Henry Spalding’s cross was not dealt with adequately by home stopper Luke Kuczinsky and McDonagh poked it home at the far post.

With momentum firmly on their side, the Southern League Premier Division South side appeared to have wrapped the game up with their third goal just before the hour mark.

Mitchell rose highest to power home a bullet header from a corner to extend the lead for Marine in the 56th minute.

With less than 20 minutes to play, Parsons rattled the crossbar with a free-kick before Ryan Morgan saw his follow-up tipped around the post.

The Highworth striker would not have to wait long for his goal, however, as Parsons slammed into the roof of the net from close range to give the game new life.

Marine went into a more defensive mode as the hosts went for the leveller, and it took a fine save by Martin Horsell right at the death to keep it at 3-2.

The ball looked to have crossed the line during the late scramble – however, the assistant referee kept his flag down, possibly due to the defender on the line blocking his view, and Marine escaped with their spot in the FA Trophy first round secured.