AS starters go, this one has certainly served to fuel the appetite for the remainder of the season.

After vastly overhauling his squad in the summer, Swindon Town manager Richie Wellens may well have wished for a kinder outcome from the fixture Gods than the one that saw his side presented with a trip to Scunthorpe United on the opening day of the League Two season.

A 400-mile round trip north to face an Iron side who were playing in the third tier last season and amongst the favourites for an immediate promotion back – talk about a baptism of fire.

But cheered on by a hefty throng of travelling supporters, Swindon took the challenge in their stride and passed it with flying colours with an impressive 2-0 victory.

It was not always plain sailing, though. Town offered little threat in front of goal in the first half but were able to thwart all the hosts threw at them at the other end with stubborn resolve.

When their chances did come after the break, they took them with ruthless efficiency through devastating counter-attacks.

Summer loan signing Yates marked his Town debut with the opening goal just before the hour mark before Keshi Anderson doubled the lead 10 minutes later.

Anderson’s strike capped a fine performance from a player who manager Wellens has previously stated he is open to offloading, and his jubilant celebrations in front of the large number of Town supporters was noticeable.

Yates, meanwhile, was amongst six of Wellens’ 10 summer signings to be given their debuts from kick-off – with the other four all on the bench – as he occupied a lone striker role.

Full-backs Rob Hunt and Zeki Fryers both got their first taste of competitive minutes, while there was a third fresh face in defence as Mathieu Baudry partnered new captain Dion Conroy in the middle.

Jordan Lyden sat as one of two deep-lying midfielders alongside Michael Doughty, while final debutant Lloyd Isgrove joined Anderson and Kaiyne Woolery as a trio just behind Yates.

Wellens is not one to get carried away, this is only matchday one of 46 after all.

But given the largescale changes made this summer and the stiff challenge of this opening round, Swindon’s manager and supporters will have travelled home with plenty of reason for optimism over their side’s chances this season.

Scunthorpe were the better side in the first half and a set-piece led to their first sight of goal inside three minutes as Yann Songo’o headed an Adam Hammill free-kick wide inside the six-yard box after Conroy abruptly halted Alex Gillead’s run midway inside the Town half.

Town then had their maiden opportunity when a good ball over the top from Isgrove had the home defence worried but Yates could not quite bring it under control after catching the Iron back-line napping with his dart in behind.

Chances did not come at a rapid pace and the first two saves for Luke McCormick were comfortable ones. First, the Swindon stopper gathered Lee Novak’s flicked header before McCormick easily caught Hammill’s speculative half-volley from 25 yards.

Scunthorpe were beginning to up the ante, though, and Hammill was denied again just after the half-hour mark as he saw a shot blocked superbly on the line by Lyden.

The Iron will have been wondering how they did not get themselves in front two minutes before the break as another goalline clearance and the woodwork thwarted them in quick succession.

Baudry was the man in the right place for Town this time to block a goalbound header from Songo’o before Matthew Lund’s follow-up effort cannoned off the post and away to safety.

Swindon survived and then – having failed to muster up a shot of note in the regulation 45 minutes – almost grabbed an unlikely lead themselves as the first half ticked over into stoppage time.

Home keeper Jake Eastwood could only push away Anderson’s dipping 25-yard free-kick and Isgrove whipped the ball back into the box where Baudry and Yates were hesitant to react and Scunthorpe managed to hook the ball away to end the first period all-square.

Town started the second half quickly and were appealing for a penalty within a minute of the restart when Anderson went down softly in the box, although referee Will Finnie was not interested in the appeals.

The resulting corner found its way to Woolery at the back post but he snatched at his shot and sent it tamely wide.

The game began to really open up, with play flowing quickly from either end but then breaking down as possession reached the penalty area.

That all changed just before the hour mark when Swindon broke the deadlock courtesy of a ruthless counter-attack.

Scunthorpe’s Kgosi Ntlhe whipped a dangerous free-kick into the Town box from the left but the ball was hooked clear, where Isgrove gathered near halfway and race forward. He then fed Yates, who skipped into the box and around Iron keeper Eastwood before calmly rolling the ball into an unguarded net.

Town had the bit between their teeth and Anderson tried his luck with a low effort from the edge of the box soon afterwards but Eastwood got down well to save.

Anderson did not have to wait long for his goal, though, and doubled the visitors’ lead on the 70-minute mark after another rapid counter.

After another Scunthorpe attack broke up, the ball came to Woolery just inside the Town half and he powered forward before offloading to Anderson, who was able to beat Eastwood on the angle.

Anderson was back in the action again soon afterwards and a mazy run ended with a driven low shot that Eastwood did well to save low to his right.

At the other end, McCormick still had to keep his wits about him and he was alert to tip Novak’s looping backward header over the bar following Ryan Colclough’s free-kick from the left.

Wellens shuffled his pack late on as more new signings were given their first competitive minutes in Town shirts. Loanees Dan Ballard and Diallang Jaiyesimi replaced Anderson – greeted warmly by the Swindon boss upon his departure from the field – and Isgrove respectively.

The Iron continued to pummel balls into the Swindon box in the closing stages but other than Ntlhe lashing an effort wide following a corner, the visitors resolutely held firm to ensure they began the season in perfect fashion.