EOIN Doyle returned to the scoresheet with a brace as Swindon Town extended their lead at the head of League 2 with victory over Scunthorpe United.

The Irishman netted either side of the break to add goals number 24 and 25 on the season, in the process casting aside an eight-game drought over the course of his brief recall by Bradford City and deadline day return to the County Ground.

The first came shortly before the interval as a backpedalling Doyle powered Dialling Jaiyesimi’s centre back across goal to open the scoring.

His second was more deft, lifting the ball over helpless keeper Rory Watson having been slipped in behind by Michael Doughty.

Elsewhere on the night title rivals Exeter City and Crewe Alexandra played out a 1-1 stalemate in Devon, pushing Town’s advantage at the top to three points and their cushion to fourth place up to four.

Boss Richie Wellens made one change entering the game, Tom Broadbent stepping in to partner Rarmani Edmonds-Green at centre-back, Zeki Fryers taking over the left-back berth from Rob Hunt.

Keshi Anderson and Danny Rose also returned to the bench; for Anderson a first appearance in a matchday squad since the end of December.

The pre-match news also came from the dugout as the club confirmed Wellens officially put pen to paper on the new three-and-a-half year deal agreed last week.

For the opening five minutes Town trapped the Iron in their own half, but it was the away side that created the first two chances of the game, not that James Perch came close with either.

The midfielder was first allowed plenty of space to drive forward, choosing to ignore options to his left to place comfortable wide.

Perch then reached out for another, similarly wayward attempt on the volley.

Without the ball at their feet Scunthorpe were content to sit back and allow Town to make their own mistakes.

A risky move, Swindon able to show flashes of attacking flair against a packed defence, Jaiyesimi ever tricky in jinking past Rory McArdle and dinking his cross into the keeper’s hands under pressure.

Scunthorpe’s threats rarely came inside the penalty area, Levi Sutton dragging well off target having pulled away too easily from Jaiyesimi and Anthony Grant.

An offside flag let Jerry Yates off somewhat after the Rotherham loanee missed a gilt-edged chance.

Jaiyesimi spun a lovely ball around the corner for Isgrove to sweep in allow cross that Yates, offside regardless, slapped straight at the keeper from no more than two yards.

At the other end Alex Gilliead saw a speculative 35-yarder drift wide while the offside flag stopped Sutton racing on to a through ball that slipped from Steven Benda’s grasp.

But the final ten minutes of the half saw Town take it up a gear. Lacking options Paul Caddis twisted and turned away from two defenders before nutmegging his way back inside and firing a low shot held at the near post by Watson.

The Scot went even closer when he trotted up and curled a free-kick onto the crossbar minutes later.

And Swindon’s pressure paid on 41 minutes when Jaiyesimi darted away from McArdle’s attentions again and his deflected cross was nodded back across goal and in by Doyle despite the best efforts of a scrambling Jacob Bedau on the line.

Ten minutes into the second period McArdle came within a whisker of handing Swindon an own goal for the third straight home game when the sliding defender diverted an Isgrove shot within inches of the near post.

It certainly should have been 2-0 soon after. Doughty cruised free down the left-hand channel and laid the ball back for Doyle, who couldn’t find enough power to place his square shot beyond the desperate reach of Watson.

Scunthorpe had relatively little to respond with, Benda given little trouble in plucking Ben Liddle’s dipping effort out of the air.

Rarmani Edmonds-Green had to make instant amends after a misplaced pass gave Sutton possession on midway. The Town man was back in to hustle George Miller out of possession as he threatened to break in one-on-one.

Iron sub John McAtee also aimed a tame half-volley into Benda’s hands, soon followed by a meek effort from Jai Rowe at the edge of the box.

But Swindon responded with Doyle’s second, delicately dinked over the keeper on the back of Doughty’s nudge through the Scunthorpe defence to ensure the win.

Swindon Town: Benda, Fryers, Broadbent, Isgrove (Muskwe 61), Yates, Doughty, Jaiyesimi (Anderson 73), Doyle, Caddis, Grant (Palmer 86), Edmonds-Green. Subs not used: Rose, Woolery, McCormick, Hope.

Scunthorpe United: Watson, Perch (Pugh 83), Gabriel, Butroid, Gilliead, Sutton, McArdle, Miller, Bedeau, Rowe (El-Mhanni 73), Liddle (McAtee 61). Subs not used: Lawlor, Songo’o, Butler, O’Malley.