THE FA Cup and the need for counselling go hand in hand for Swindon Town fans, writes Danny Hall.

My son’s only appearance as a Town mascot came in the infamous home defeat to then-non-league Stevenage at home in January 1998.

Not only did we miss Mark Walter’s opening goal as we were still in the boot room while my son got back into his warm-weather civvies, but we then had to sit through keeper Fraser Digby being unable to kick the ball out of his area because of the joke wind and watch Giuliano Grazioli (later a Swindon fans’ favourite) bag the dispiriting winner.

For five years in a row Swindon had stumbled to first-round defeats against giants of the game Macclesfield (twice), Cheltenham Town, Rochdale and Eastleigh.

So what a delight to see them end that sequence by taking apart non-league Dartford so comprehensively on Sunday.

Flying high at the top of the National League South, Dartford are no mugs, as they showed on occasion in the game.

But some of Town’s finishing was Champions League-quality.

Derby County’s Timi Elsnik, newly returned to us after injury, had his best game in a Town shirt. A thumping volley and a precise downward header to end arguably the best team goal of the season capped his wonderful display which was cut short in the first half by an over-zealous Dartford challenge.

Millwall loanee Harry Smith, who made his name in Kent with non-league Folkestone Invicta, only seems to deliver goal of the month candidates and added another to his collection. Who would have thought we would not miss the injured Luke Norris?

Who’d have thought, too, that we would not miss Lawrence Vigouroux in goal, but Reice Charles-Cook has taken his chance since the former number one keeper’s suspension and shows no sign of handing back the gloves.

One save from Elliot Bradbrook was astonishing – though he did have some hairy moments as well.

Meanwhile, Amine Linganzi showed that he is not just a ‘stopping’ midfielder with an outrageous volleyed goal from the edge of the box.

The pest that is Paul Mullin then added a poacher’s finish to yet another well-constructed team move for the fifth.

The late consolation for Dartford only hurt the players’ clean sheet bonus but failed to take the glitter off this performance.

It was hard to argue with boss Dave Flitcroft’s post-match assessment: “We absolutely obliterated them.”

Barely into November and already seven away wins posted. Town are flying after this fourth victory in a row and a winner-takes-all tie with Bristol Rovers to progress in the Checkatrade Trophy awaits on Wednesday.

Now the prospect of facing anyone in the second round draw for the FA Cup no longer fills Town fans with dread.