Match Report: Swindon Town vs Exeter City
By Alfie Howlett - 3 February 2020
On Saturday afternoon Swindon dug deep to secure a vital three points against title rivals Exeter in front of a packed out County Ground. Goals either side of the Exeter equaliser from an own goal and Hallam Hope were enough to ensure a huge 2-1 win for the Reds in windy conditions.
Both teams came into the meeting as the top two teams in League 2. However both teams had suffured 3-1 away defeats during mid-week. Despite Swindon's midweek loss to Colchester the Reds were on cloud nine after bringing the formidable forward partnership of Eoin Doyle and Jerry Yates back to the County Ground during the final week of the January transfer window.
Swindon walked out to an amazing atmosphere with over 13,000 Swindon fans urging their team to victory. The windy conditions undoubtedly affected the game but Swindon did have the advantage of kicking with the wind behind them in the first half. Swindon had the first effort on goal of the game following some clever Hallam Hope movement after receiving a throw in from the half way line. The ex Carlisle wide man drove at the Exeter defence and his tame long shot required pushing round the post by the Exeter keeper.
Following a spell of threatening corners Swindon were rewarded with the opening goal of the contest just before the 20 minute mark. A dangerous in swinging corner from Michael Doughty matched by the clever movement of Eoin Doyle resulted in the Exeter defender at the front post turning the ball past his own keeper to hand Swindon a 1-0 advantage
Swindon should've added a quick second when Rob Hunt's throw was brilliantly held up by Eoin Doyle. Doyle then returned it to the on rushing Hunt down the left flank, Hunt played a superb ball to Jerry Yates in the middle but unfortunately for Swindon, Yates connected with thick air instead of the ball.
Exeter found an equaliser through their first attack of the game thanks to some poor miscommunication between Paul Caddis and Mathieu Baudry. The Swindon defender's were unable to deal with a nothing ball behind the back line and with neither defender clearing the ball it was left to Randell Williams. Williams took advantage of the defensive error with a calm finish into the bottom corner to cancel out all of Swindon's early dominance ten minutes before half time.
In injury time of the first half, Swindon took the lead once again. The ball was switched out to the right flank where Paul Caddis played Diallang Jaiyesemi in. Jaiyesemi cut back on to his weaker foot to dink a delightful delicate cross to back post where Hallam Hope was unmarked and able to head in from close range.
The second half saw neither team offering a clinical edge although Exeter had the majority of the possession as well as chances. Centre back Rarmani Edmonds Green showed real quality at the back wining every ariel dual during a bonbardment of long balls. Despite Exeter having the bigger threat they very rarely troubled Steven Benda in goal. The closest Exeter came to finding an equaliser was when Brennan Dickenson headed a tame effort straight down the throat of Steven Benda following a corner.
The game finished 2-1 to Swindon meaning they move 4 points clear at the top of the table. Diallang Jaiyesemi had an outstanding game as well as Edmons-green. It wasn't a great game but Swindon got the 3 points and that's all that mattered.