A double strike on his full Town debut from Birmingham City loanee Jake Jervis was enough to seal a 2-1 cup win at Exeter City on Tuesday evening. The result secured a place in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Area Quarter-Finals, with Town seeing out the game despite an audacious chip from Daniel Nardiello twenty minutes from time reducing the arrears. Town boss Paolo Di Canio made seven changes to the line-up from Friday night's team that faced Macclesfield Town in League 2. Mattia Lanzano replaced Phil Smith (groin) in goal with loan duo Ahmed Abdulla and Jake Jervis also coming into the line-up.
The Robins kicked the game off but were soon pegged back by the home side who came into the game on the back of a 2-0 home victory over Oldham Athletic on Saturday in League 1.
There was very little in the action in the opening fifteen minutes with both sides taking their time to settle into the game. Town then put together a fine move to take the lead with 18 minutes on the clock. A ball wide from Matt Ritchie found Lander Gabilondo in space on the left and the Spaniard cut inside before curling in a teasing right foot cross. The ball was headed back across by Alan Connell with Jervis on hand to crack home his first Town goal from six yards out.
The home side came into the game after going behind and Lanzano was forced into a smart stop with 24 minutes played. A low cross from the left was met by Guillem Bauza who hit a first time shot from close range, with the 'keeper gathering at the second attempt. Paul Tisdale was forced into making his first change of the night on the half-hour mark with Richard Duffy's evening ended early after a firm challenge from Jonathan Smith.
Things were all going Town's way and that good fortune continued on 35 minutes with a second goal of the night. Alert forward play from Jervis saw the loanee catch Exeter stopper Artur Krysiak in possession on the edge of his own box, with the striker then presented with the easy task of rolling the ball into the empty net for his second goal in Town colours. Town played out the remainder of the first half - and two additional minutes - with the scoreline still unchanged to take a healthy two goal advantage into the break. The home side made one change at the break with Billy Jones replacing Matt Whichelow, although Town remained unchanged.
The visitors started the second half well with Connell and Ritchie both fizzing in early crosses, although neither troubled Krysiak in the Grecians' goal. Jervis wasted little time in getting back into the swing of things with a driving run forward on 49 minutes before firing in a low cross which was met by Gabilondo, but his shot was blocked. Ritchie then tried his luck from distance before Devera headed the resulting corner straight at Krysiak with the Robins looking good value for a third.
The first Town change came just after the hour with Alan Connell brought off with Mehdi Kerrouche replacing him up front. Di Canio made his second switch of the night soon after with Namibian Oliver Risser returning to the first team fold in place of Smith at the heart of the midfield. The home side got back into the game on 71 minutes thanks to a great bit of skill from former Manchester United youngster Daniel Nardiello. The striker picked up the ball 25 yards out before lifting an audacious chip over Lanzano into the far corner to make it 2-1. Di Canio, having already replaced Jon Smith with Oliver Risser six minutes before the goal, then brought on Nathan Thompson at left-back for Cibocchi.
The Robins gathered themselves for the final quarter of an hour and took the hosts. Chances came Town's way with Kerrouche seeing a free-kick palmed away on 82 minutes before Risser hooked an effort over moments later. Di Canio saw his side survive four additional minutes of time to seal their place in the next stage of the competition.
Full-time: Exeter City 1 Swindon Town 2