Charlie Austin scored on his second debut alongside four other scorers as Swindon Town thrashed Grimsby Town 5-0 in front of a bumper crowd at The County Ground.
Marcel Lavinier, Jonny Williams, Ronan Darcy and Saidou Khan netted in the rout, as Swindon took advantage of the visitors being reduced to ten men in the first half.
With the departure of First-Team Head Coach, Scott Lindsey, in midweek, it was up to Gavin Gunning and Steve Mildenhall to take the side in an interim capacity, and the duo made five changes to the side that lost at Colchester United in Town’s last league outing.
Ben Gladwin, Louis Reed, Marcel Lavinier, Luke Jephcott and Tyrese Shade made way for Saidou Khan, Jacob Wakeling, Ciaran Brennan and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, with the latter making his first league start for The Robins.
New signing Charlie Austin was also handed his second debut, taking his place up front as part of an attacking 4-3-3 formation.
Onto the action, and the tie saw it’s first chance after just sixty seconds, as Sol Brynn was forced to tip over a long range effort from Gavan Holohan on the half volley.
But Town responded well, and went within inches of taking the lead on four minutes, as a quick throw in on the right by Remeao Hutton set Saidou Khan free, who in turn drove forward to towards the Grimsby box before cutting inside and shooting low.
However, although his effort beat the diving Max Crocombe, it bounced off the inside of the right post, across the goal line and agonisingly out of play.
The game was then halted on eleven minutes as referee Sam Purkiss received treatment on the pitch after he was struck by an unfortunate rebound and tended too by Town medics. After eight minutes, he was stretchered off and replaced in black by Leigh Crowhurst.
Understandably, the incident seemed to take a bit of the sting out the game, but then the magic moment all Swindon fans had been waiting for on twenty five minutes.
Remeao Hutton beat his man on the right hand side and swung in the perfect cross for Charlie Austin to head home from close range and open his account for the season on his homecoming.
It was quickly turning into a game that had everything, and the tie took another twist on thirty-four minutes, as Austin set Jacob Wakeling through on goal as Danny Amos misjudged the pass and then brought down the latter just outside the box.
Referee Leigh Crowhurst had no option but to show the defender a straight red card and the visitors were down to ten. From the resulting free-kick, Wakeling shot low into the wall.
On forty-one minutes, Wakeling, involved in pretty much all the good things Town were doing, tried his luck again after good interchange play between him and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy created space for the forward in the area, but he was just off balance when he struck at goal.
Two minutes later though, and The Mariners probably should have forced an equaliser.
A dangerous low cross from the left was missed by several Town players, but Grimsby duo John McAtee and Mikey O’Neill got in each other’s way, and somehow, the latter put the ball past the left post.
Nine minutes of stoppage time was ordered following the injury to match official Purkiss, and with the added seconds counting down, Charlie Austin went close to doubling his tally for the day and Town’s advantage, as he turned well in the box and tried to bend one into the right hand corner, but the ball sailed just wide of the mark.
That was it for the first forty-five, with both sets of fans given the chance to draw breath.
We didn’t have to wait long for the clash to burst into action for a second time as the next forty-five got underway, as a minute in, a fantastic break from Rushian Hepburn-Murphy saw him bear down on the Grimsby box and slide Charlie Austin in on goal to his right, but the forwards thunderous effort smashed the crossbar with Crocombe given no chance.
Unbelievably, on fifty-two minutes, Town hit the woodwork for a third time, as a clever inside pass from captain Angus MacDonald found Jonny Williams unmarked just outside the Grimsby box, and he played in Hepburn-Murphy in space, but despite poking the ball past Crocombe on the slide, it bounced off the right post and out of danger.
On fifty-eight minutes, Town had a penalty appeal turned down, as Ellis Iandolo cut inside in the Mariners box and struck one towards goal, only for it to hit a Grimsby defender in the midriff, but the protests were waved away by the referee.
On the hour mark, Ellis Iandolo, who appeared to suffer an injury, was replaced by Marcel Lavinier, and the substitute was to make an immediate impact just 120-seconds later.
The relentless Remeao Hutton produced another fine cross from the right hand side into the Grimsby box, Charlie Austin ducked out the way and there was the former Spurs man to volley home off the far post to make it two.
And it was three just four minutes later, as the energetic Hepburn-Murphy tricked his way into the Mariners box and shot low at Crocombe, only for the ball to bounce into the path of Jonny Williams to tap home.
It seemed to be a day of impact subs for Gavin Gunning and Steve Mildenhall’s side, as a triple switch saw the impressive trio of Charlie Austin, Jonny Williams and Jacob Wakeling make way for young Abu Kanu for his league debut, Luke Jephcott and Ronan Darcy, and it was the latter who would increase the score line further just moments later.
A probing run from Tyrese Shade opened up the visitors defence, and he slotted Darcy in to bend a first-time effort round the keeper and in off the far right-hand post to make it four.
Then, with three minutes of normal time left on the clock, Swindon added a fifth, as Saidou Khan took it upon himself to dribble into the penalty area from deep and thrash the ball past the helpless Crocombe from a tight angle.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added, which provided Town with the opportunity to create two more good opportunities to extend their healthy lead.
First, Marcel Lavinier went close as he nutmegged an opponent on the left side and drove powerfully into the box before striking low at Crocombe.
The ball squirmed underneath the Mariners stopper and looked to be heading in, only for him to react well and stop it on the goal line.
Then, as we hit the ninety-fifth minute, Abu Kanu went close to netting a debut goal on his first senior start, as he forced Crocombe into another good stop to repel his effort, and then block the rebound from Ronan Darcy.
The game was brought to an end with cheers from the 11,000-strong crowd, with Town grabbing a huge home win that sees them move up two places in the league table to sixth.
Swindon Town Line-up: 4-3-3
1. Sol Brynn (GK) – 20. Frazer Blake-Tracy, 34. Ciaran Brennan, 21. Angus MacDonald ©, 2. Remeao Hutton, 3. Ellis Iandolo (22. Marcel Lavinier 62mins), 23. Saidou Khan, 19. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (28. Tyrese Shade 67mins), 8. Jonathan Williams (10. Ronan Darcy 77mins), 24. Jacob Wakeling (15. Luke Jephcott 76mins), 11. Charlie Austin (38. Abu Kanu 76mins).
Subs not used: 41. Jack Copland (GK) – 35. Anton Dworzak.
Scorers: Austin 25, Lavinier 62, Williams 66, Darcy 78, Khan 88
Yellow Cards: 23. Khan 71mins.
Red Cards: None
Grimsby Town Line-up: 4-1-4-1
1. Max Crocombe (GK) – 31. Niall Maher ©, 22. Danny Amos, 26. Andy Smith, 2. Michee Efete, 8. Gavan Holohan, 4. Kieran Green (17. Bryn Morris 77mins), 11. Otis Khan (3. Anthony Driscoll-Glennon 36mins), 15. Harry Clifton, 18. Mikey O’Neill (20. Danilo Orsi 84mins), 10. John McAtee (16. Alex Hunt 77mins).
Subs not used: 5. Shaun Pearson, 27. Brendan Kiernan, 14. Stephen Wearne.
Yellow Cards: 15. Clifton 59mins, 8. Holohan 74mins
Red Cards: 22. Amos 34mins
Referee: Sam Purkiss (replaced on 19minutes due to injury)
Assistant Referees: Leigh Crowhurst & Kevin Morris
Fourth Official: Gareth Viccars
Attendance: 11,053 (565 away fans)