A PRE-MATCH build up that wouldn’t be out of place three tiers higher than League Two couldn’t be matched by on-field quality, though Swindon Town still dug in to grind out a 2-1 win over promotion rivals Exeter City.

In front of 13,095 at a packed County Ground, returning striker Eoin Doyle struck in unconventional circumstances from a corner with 20 minutes played before a brilliant piece of individual play by Randell Williams cancelled out the Irishman’s opener.

An unmarked Hallam Hope re-established Town’s one-goal lead in the build-up to half time before a truly dreadful second half saw neither team truly threaten either ‘keeper.

The win has extended Town’s lead at the top of the League Two table to four points, with Exeter dropping to fourth.

Manager Richie Wellens made two changes to his side that lost away at Colchester on Tuesday night.

Returning strikers Jerry Yates and Eoin Doyle made the starting XI in place of Jordan Lyden and Kaiyne Woolery.

Neither team established a foothold in the game’s opening quarter-of-an-hour as this table topping clash got off to a rather damp start.

Jerry Yates came closest to opening the scoring, though his shot from outside the area was diverted wide courtesy of a deflection.

Five minutes later, and Town had the ball in the back of the net. There was some confusion as to who grabbed the goal, which was registered in bizarre circumstances from a corner.

Initially it was awarded as an own goal, though some reported Eoin Doyle got the crucial flick on and that name stood as the ball ricocheted off of his body and was judged to have beaten Ward’s reach.

The goal not only sparked Town’s play into life, but also the game – which had been a little underwhelming prior to the hosts’ opener.

Grecians’ defence had to weather a storm as Jaiyesimi and Hunt’s creative sparks generated separate clear chances for Doyle and Yates respectively.

Doyle’s chance from the edge of the visitors’ penalty area was pushed wide by Ward while Yates couldn’t get that key flick onto Hunt’s cross when placed just five yards from City’s goalmouth.

A momentary lapse in concentration then gifted Exeter an equaliser. Eventual goalscorer Randell Williams was gifted possession from Edmonds-Green’s header close to the edge of the pitch on the left side.

Three devastating passes sliced Town’s usually reliable back four in half, with Williams netting Grecians’ opener close to the penalty spot when driving a low right-footed effort into Benda’s bottom right corner.

Chances were few and far between for either team leading up to half time. But it only took a quick moment of brilliance by Jaiyesimi for Town to re-establish their one-goal lead.

Away fans’ calls for handball were waved away when Caddis controlled a dipping ball. The Scot picked out Jaiyesimi, who did the hard work as his floating cross was later smashed home by a waiting and unmarked Hallam Hope at the back post.

The second half started much the same as how the first ended, excluding Hope’s goal that is.

Play was scrappy and the likelihood of a goal being scored seemed low. Only Yates and Hope shot in the first 15 minutes of the half – Yates’ effort went out for a throw in while Hope’s ambitious strike crashed against the roof of the Town End.

The ball itself perhaps spent more time in the air than on the floor as Doughty’s clumsy challenge on Collins midway into the hosts’ half epitomised the game’s distinct lack of quality at this time.

Town’s best chance of the half came with 65 minutes on the clock. Hope’s well-weighted cross fell to Yates who nodded play back to Jaiyesimi, who was waiting in the middle of the penalty area.

Jaiyesimi’s rather weak header was comfortably caught by Ward. Benda caught a similar chance at the other end as Law’s flicked on attempt from Williams’ cross never troubled the German.

Shortly before Grecians’ tame effort, Wellens made his first change as goalscorer Hope was taken off and replaced by Kaiyne Woolery.

Meanwhile Matt Taylor used up his allocation of changes by time 15 minutes were left.

Little change in the game’s final 15 minutes, City never truly threatened Benda’s goalframe while Town very rarely looked an attacking threat.

An ugly three points, to say the least.

Town: Benda, Caddis, Baudry, Edmonds-Green, Hunt, Jaiyesimi, Doughty, Grant, Hope (Woolery, 70), Yates, Doyle (Muskwe, 90).

City: Ward, Williams, Sweeney, Martin, Parkes (Ajose, 76), Moxey, Martin (Dickenson, 54), Taylor (Collins, 18), Law, Atangana, Bowman.