PAOLO Di Canio’s Wembley dream remains alive after two goals from debutant Jake Jervis sealed a 2-1 victory for Swindon at Exeter and sent them through to the area quarter-finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Jervis scored twice in the first half to put Town in control at St James’ Park before Daniel Nardiello’s fine chipped effort midway through second-half set up a tense finish to the match.

However, Town held firm to seal only their third away victory of the season.

There was little action of note in the first 10 minutes of the game, with a shot from Matt Ritchie that flew high over the bar the only attempt on goal by either side in the opening stages.

Town had started last Friday’s game against Macclesfield considerably better but had been unable to make their chances count, but there was no such concern in this game as it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 18 minutes with their first real effort on target.

Ritchie sprayed a ball out wide to Lander Gabilondo and the Spanish winger ran towards the edge of the area before lofting the ball to the far post for Alan Connell, who headed back into the dangerzone and Jervis was on hand to rifle a shot home from close range.

Exeter had offered little up to that point but Mattia Lanzano was tested in the 25th minute when Guillem Bauza swept a low shot that had the Italian keeper scrambling to gather the ball at the second attempt.

And instead it was Town who further extended their lead 10 minutes before the break courtesy of an error in judgement by Exeter keeper Artur Krsiak, who dithered in possession for too long and the alert Jervis nipped in to steal possession before rolling the ball into the empty net.

Swindon were quickly on the hunt for a third when the second half got underway and Krysiak had to be alert to deny a rasping effort from distance by Ritchie, before the home keeper blocks a header from Joe Devera.

However, the hosts ensured a tense finish to the match when Nardiello pulled a goal back with a fine long-range effort in the 71st minute. The former Manchester United trainee spotted Lanzano slightly off his line and chipped an effort from fully 25 yards into the back of the net.

Town almost restored their two-goal advantage just two minutes later when a corner from substitute Mehdi Kerrouche was headed goalwards by Devera from six yards but Krysiak was well placed to make the save.

Ritchie then forced another great save from Krysiak after a sweeping Town attack had cut through the hosts defence, before the excellent Polish shotstopper was on hand to prevent a well-struck Kerrouche free-kick in the 85th minute.

Exeter pressed in the final few minutes and only a fine save by Lanzano kept the scores level when he dived at full stretch to keep out a fizzing effort from substitute Billy Jones.

But Town defended well in the final few minutes to seal the victory and keep alive Di Canio’s hopes of leading his side out at Wembley.