On Saturday morning the smiles on Swindon fans’ faces were as wide as the Town End goalmouth, and by 5pm they were even wider after beating Exeter City 2-1, writes Peter Mitchell.

They were anticipating the return of their two leading strikers, Eoin Doyle and Jerry Yates, together with two new recruits, Matt Palmer from Rotherham and loanee, Admiral Muskwe, a promising young talent from Leicester City.

The County Ground was almost a sell-out with a crowd of over 13,000 and the atmosphere was terrific. Chairman Lee Power had done more than his bit by committing significantly during the transfer window, and now it was down to his players to do the business.

The fans were not to be disappointed as Swindon prevailed 2-1 in a hard-fought game against second placed Exeter City.

It was never going to be much of a spectacle, as once again, a ferocious wind enveloped the pitch, with Swindon having the benefit of it in the first period. Town started well and after 20 minutes Michael Doughty curled in a perfect corner that Doyle, apparently, clipped into the net. A fairy-tale return for the Ginger Pele!

Swindon were making the most of the gale and creating lots of opportunities. Lewis Ward in the visitor’s goal was having a tough time with his kicking, and twice his clearances from the box almost resulted in corners.

Exeter’s forward forays were rare but both Nicky Law and Randell Williams were evident as the danger men. Just after the half hour mark they were back on level terms, when Williams pounced on a hesitant Mathieu Bawdry and fired home from the edge of the area.

With the return of Batman and Robin, together with Diallang Jaiyesimi and Hallam Hope, Swindon’s forward line was oozing with class and menace. On the stroke of half-time it delivered, when after good work by Paul Caddis, Hope headed home a delightful chipped cross from Jaiyesimi.

The second period was always going to be an uphill struggle for the Town. Williams was still being given far too much freedom on the right and was a constant threat. However, Steven Benda was coping well with both his distribution and dealing with crosses, and in fact the Grecians created very little danger, despite having easily the lion’s share of control and possession.

As Swindon were running the clock down the referee almost decided to book a ball boy, who after retrieving a ball for Benda, decided to walk it back rather than kick it. His action was rewarded by a standing ovation from the nearby Swindon fans.

Not for the first time this season, the Town seemed to struggle to cope with the conditions, and seemed unable to keep the ball on the deck to retain it. Maybe a spell of training in a wind tunnel would help!

Exeter slip to fourth place and are now five points behind with just a game in hand, whilst Plymouth remain the Town’s biggest threat. Next Saturday Swindon face the long trip to Carlisle and the following Tuesday travel to improving Northampton, although they must now be brimming with confidence and are probably relishing the prospect of every game. What a change around for manager Ritchie Wellens, as he now has the welcome problem of being spoilt for choice.