Loanee Leon Clarke scored a brace as the Iron came from a goal down to beat Coventry City 2-1 at the Ricoh Arena.
His first goal came from the penalty spot and his second on the counter attack as Josh Walker played a wonderfully weighted ball.
Victory moved the Iron up a place in the League One table and to within a point of Coventry City, who currently sit one place above the drop zone.
The hosts took the lead 10 minutes before the break when members of both sides got tangled up on the edge of the Iron box.
Sky Blues captain Carl Baker stroked the ball past a helpless Steve Mildenhall in the Scunthorpe goal from 20 yards out.
The Iron replied seven minutes later – from the spot – when the referee said former Sheffield Wednesday defender Richard Wood hauled down his former team mate Leon Clarke.
The United striker looked amazed that he was awarded the decision to the despair of the home players, staff and supporters.
It was Clarke who stepped up to the plate against former Iron goalkeeper Joe Murphy who was motionless, as the on-loan striker fired the ball into the bottom corner.
Clarke scored his second of the match 15 minutes from time after he was played through by Walker and he passed the ball beyond a frozen Murphy.
Scunthorpe had the better of the opening exchanges and it was Karl Hawley who had the first shot on goal. His effort was straight at Murphy who held on to the ball easily.
The visitors had a second opportunity in as many minutes to take the lead as winger Andy Barcham surged towards goal. However, before he had the opportunity to get his shot away he went down under a challenge from Jordan Clarke. The referee waved the fouled away following half-hearted appeals from Barcham.
The Sky Blues then had several chances to go in front themselves and it required a stubborn Iron defence to prevent that. Both Paul Reid and Niall Canavan threw themselves in front of shots from John Fleck and David McGoldrick, before the ball fell out wide right to captain Baker – who hit the post.
In a second half of very few chances it was the Iron who started the better, however neither side were able to forge a way through on goal.
Coventry’s first chance of the second half came on the hour mark when Walker played a lacklustre pass backwards into the path of McGoldrick but he was unable to beat Mildenhall.
As the Sky Blue’s went in search for an equaliser – in the six minutes of added time – they came close several times.
Iron’s loanee goalkeeper Mildenhall kept his composure to ensure the Iron held on to their lead. In the dying stages, United had their stand out goalkeeper to thank after he produced a number of outstanding saves.
Mildenhall saved brilliantly with the last attack of the match after a shot from Moussa – from the edge of the area – fell kindly at his feet before the Millwall loanee saved again from point blank range from Nottingham Forest loanee, McGoldrick.
Coventry City: Murphy, Clarke, Baker, McDonald (Ball, 55), Fleck (Moussa, 59), Jennings, Christie, Wood, Edjenguele, McGoldrick, Bailey (O’Donovan, 86)
Substitutes not used: Dunn, Cameron, Barton, Reckord
Scunthorpe United: Mildenhall, Ribeiro (Kennedy 46), Newey, Reid, Canavan, Ryan, Walker (Mozika, 90), Duffy, Barcham, Clarke, Hawley
Substitutes not used: Slocombe, Grella, Jennings, Gibbons, Howe
Attendance: 9,892 (381 away).