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04:37 11th July 2012

The Iron went down 3-2 at home against Preston North End despite a spirited fightback after going three goals down in the first half.

However, strikes from Leon Clarke and Karl Hawley weren’t enough to grab a point for Alan Knill’s side.

United came into the game unchanged from the side which earnt a 1-1 away draw at high-flying Swindon.

Paul Reid and Niall Canavan continued at the heart of the defence despite the return of David Mirfin from suspension – who was named among the substitutes.

Either side of the centre-halves, Christian Ribeiro and Tom Newey retained the full-back spots.

The midfield four consisted of Mark Duffy, Robbie Gibbons, David Prutton and
Jimmy Ryan.

Karl Hawley and Leon Clarke lead the line for the Iron.

Preston started the game in lightning fashion with a goal in the first thirty seconds.

A hopeful ball was knocked into the Iron’s 18-yard-box and nodded down to Nicky Wroe.

The unmarked Wroe picked up on the loose ball and finished coolly to give the away side an early lead.

The Lilywhites continued to pile on the pressure and in the sixth minute, a good move resulted in Beavon striking the ball just wide of the post from the edge of the area.

This chance brought Scunthorpe to life, and when Mark Duffy nicked the ball in midfield, he ran at the defence and played through Leon Clarke.

With just the goalkeeper to beat, Simonsen made himself big to block the strike.

With the game continuing at a quick tempo, Preston again nearly doubled their lead when Jack King found a gap in the middle of the United defence, but he struck his effort just wide.

The game eventually started to settle down, with both sides playing some nice passing football, trying to find an incisive pass to break the opposition defence.

Just before the 20- minute mark, Monakana made a run down the Preston wing and crossed to the back post.

King caught the ball on the volley but sent his strike over Slocombe’s crossbar.

The Iron looked dangerous on the attack, and after a crossfield ball by Reid, Clarke nodded the ball down to Ryan who attempted a long distance half volley which flew over the target.

Then, Clarke picked the ball out of the air and produced a fantastic piece of skill at the halfway line to set Hawley clear. He cut back and laid the ball off to the advancing Duffy, but his shot went harmlessly wide.

In the 23rd minute, the visitors doubled their lead. On the counter attack, Jack King broke down the right wing and fizzed a ball into the area. The cross was met on the volley by Wroe who netted his and Preston’s second goal of the game.

Now two behind, Alan Knill’s men desperately tried to find a way back into the match. After a good team move, another strike by Duffy was deflected just wide for a corner.

United were left cursing their luck when Preston extended their lead in the 35th minute.

Graham Westley’s men won a free-kick 30 yards from goal; the ball was laid-off to Wroe and hisdeflected strike nestled in the bottom corner to give the midfielder his hat-trick.

After King almost managed to grab another for the away side, Scunthorpe pulled one back in the 41st minute to give themselves a lifeline.

A good cross from the right hand side was met in the area by Leon Clarke. His initial header was saved by Simonsen but he pounced on the rebound and finished from close range to reduce the deficit.

One change was made during the interval, with Michael Collins replacing Robbie Gibbons in the centre of the United midfielder.

The second half began at a much slower pace than the whole of the first, with neither side managing to muster up a decent effort on goal.

In the 58th minute, Duffy again broke down the wing and he nearly got lucky with his cross which hit the side netting.

The Iron started to get a lot of joy down the Preston left, with Ribeiro pushing himself into more advanced positions to trouble the visitors defence.

Preston seemed content to hold onto their lead, putting plenty of men behind the ball to counter the threat of the Scunthorpe attack.

The game eventually came back to life in the 71st minute when Hawley clawed another goal back for the Iron with a fantastic strike.

Hawley picked up the ball with his back to the Preston goal and was able to turn without any pressure. With time and space, he angled a shot from 25 yards which smashed against the inside of the post and into the net.

Scunthorpe’s equalizer almost came five minutes from time when a corner was met by the head of Canavan, however the ball looped just over the bar.

Then just a couple of minutes later, Duffy lobbed the ball forward from the centre of the park and Clarke met the ball with his head. The ball looked to be going in the bottom corner but Simonsen pulled off an acrobatic save to deny the home side.

Alan Knill’s men continued to pressure and a Mark Duffy freekick sailed narrowly wide in added time.

Despite a spirited second half performance, the Iron were unable to find the crucial goal to take a share of the spoils at Glanford Park.


Scunthorpe United: Slocombe; Ribeiro, Reid (Mirfin, 35), Canavan, Newey; Duffy, Gibbons (Collins, 45), Prutton, Ryan (Jennings, 72); Clarke, Hawley.
Substitutes not used: Severn, Kennedy, Walker, Grella.

Preston North End: Simonsen, Keane, Huntington, Robertson, Cansdell-Sherriff;Monakana (Amoo 67 (Byrom 90)), Welsh, Wroe, Laird; King, Beavon (Procter 85).
Substitutes not used: Stuckmann, Cummins, Sodje, Beardsley.

Referee: Michael Naylor.

Attendance: 2,671 (246 away).


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.