Swindon had to fight for their 2-1 win over Exeter City at the County Ground in front of their highest attendance of the season by over 4,000 supporters.
It was an own goal that opened the scoring – an indeterminable bundle of bodies at the near post managed to divert Michael Doughty’s corner over the line after 20 minutes.
Just past the half hour, a defensive mix up allowed Randell Williams to pounce and bring the game level; however, Hallam Hope’s header on the stroke of half time put the Reds ahead at the break, and ultimately full-time.
It was a cagey start at the County Ground despite the noisy crowd – Hallam Hope took an early knock to the head as both sides tried to suss each other. Eoin Doyle would have been through on goal if it hadn’t been for the offside flag.
The wind was playing its part with the Exeter goalkeeper, Lewis Ward put under the cosh from Swindon’s first corner – an inswinger from Michael Doughty.
It was another Doughty corner that put Swindon ahead – on 20 minutes his whipped effort to the near post came out off Ward and in off a defender. They all count.
Town almost had a second moments later when Rob Hunt scampered onto a through ball and squared to Jerry Yates – he couldn’t open his body up quick enough to guide the ball on target.
The goal really allowed the home side to pen the Grecians in but they had to wait a while for their next chance allowing the visitors time to regroup.
On 33 minutes, out of the blue the side in yellow and purple got an equaliser – Randell Williams capitalised on a mix-up between Mathieu Baudry and Paul Caddis and fired past Steven Benda from 12 yards out.
That was the visitors’ only real effort of the opening 45 and it looked to have been enough to send them in level.
However, as the fourth official’s board went up for two minutes added the home crowd learnt never to lose hope, and so did the Exeter defence. Never lose Hallam Hope. He arrived at the perfect moment at the back post to nod home Diallang Jaiyesimi’s cross sending the County Ground mad for the second time in the afternoon.
Against the wind, after using it to their advantage in the first half, Swindon struggled to create the same amount of chances. However, they limited Exeter to pot shots from distance and crosses from deep, which they dealt with effectively.
The game became hugely bitty – Anthony Grant lived up the role of destroyer in midfield with Michael Doughty alongside breaking up play too.
Swindon’s efforts on the break were consistently thwarted as they went looking for a third but as the half went on, it became clear that Exeter were going to have dominance of territory.
However, that territory didn’t bear anything resembling fruit – Steven Benda’s day was quiet in terms of shot-stopping and the crosses he had to come and claim, he did.
The highlight of the second half, from a Swindon perspective, was the final whistle – one great roar of relief was let out by 13,000-plus County Ground. Fully deserved.