SWINDON are through to the next round of the Capital One Cup after a 3-0 win over Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion at The County Ground.
Paul Benson opened the scoring before ex-Brighton midfielder Alan Navarro marked his competitive Town debut with a brace of goals.
In an even and somewhat pedestrian first 45, Town were on the attack from the off but Andy Williams could not quite keep his header down. As both sides settled into the game, Wayne Bridge hit a thunderous drive that flashed narrowly wide of Wes Foderingham’s post.
Paul Benson also headed Matt Ritchie’s cross over the crossbar before Bruno Saltor tested Foderingham with a vicious effort that the Town stopper did well to keep out. Throwing himself away to his right, Foderingham got two strong hands to the ball to beat it away from goal.
As the clock ticked closer to the 45 minute mark, Ashley Barnes might have done better when presented with a shooting opportunity but managed to hit his shot straight at Foderingham.
Brighton came flying out of the blocks in the second half and Vincente drove a shot narrowly over the angle of bar and post.
However, just five minutes later, Town were in front. Williams’s run was brought to an abrupt halt 25 yards from goal. From the resultant free-kick, Navarro sparked a worked set-piece that saw him play the ball into the edge of the area where it was flicked into the heart of the box. With players scrambling for the ball, Paul Benson applied the crucial touch to give Swindon the lead.
Town were now in the ascendancy: Ritchie cut in off the right wing and fizzed a shot wide that clipped the side-netting on its way through. At the other end, Foderingham’s reflexes denied Vincente a certain goal.
Seconds later, Swindon had doubled their lead. Williams cut in from the left and drove into the area before touching the ball on for the arriving Navarro. The midfielder found the top corner with a well-placed side-footed shot.
Tomasz Kuszczak had to fist away Raffaele De Vita’s effort while Lewis Dunk almost put through his own goal, skewing his clearance over the crossbar.
With 15 minutes to play, Navarro made it three. Coming onto a ball on the edge of the area, his shot took a deflection off the covering defender and past the goalkeeper.
With the League One campaign starting at Hartlepool on Saturday, Swindon could not have wished for a better start against their opponents from a higher division. Paolo Di Canio will hope his troops can replicate the performance and the result in the north-east at the weekend.
Town: Wes Foderingham; Joe Devera, Troy Archibald-Henville, Alan McCormack(capt), Jay McEveley; Matt Ritchie, Tommy Miller, Alan Navarro (Ferry '81), Raffaele De Vita (Rooney 85); Andy Williams, Paul Benson (Storey '88)
Substitutes: Leigh Bedwell(GK), Oliver Risser, Aden Flint, Nathan Thompson, Simon Ferry, Luke Rooney, Miles Storey
Brighton: Tomasz Kuszczak; Bruno Saltor, Gordon Greer (capt), Lewis Dunk, Liam Bridcutt, Wayne Bridge, Vincente Rodriguez, Gary Dicker, Ryan Harley, Craig Noone, Ashley Barnes