A patched-up United side were beaten 1-0 by promotion-chasing Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park on Saturday.
Though they held their hosts for an hour, a Scunthorpe side depleted by a sickness bug ruling out three key players, conceded a close range Cole Stockton goal, which provided decisive on the day.
The Iron entered the game making three changes from the side beaten 3-0 by Sheffield United on Boxing Day.
Christian Ribeiro and Jimmy Ryan
missed out through illness, while Mark Duffy was also suffering from the same problem and a knock picked up at Bramall Lane a few days earlier.
Callum Kennedy stepped in at right-back, while Robbie Gibbons and Adda Djeziri filled in for the midfield absentees as Scunthorpe lined up 4-5-1.
Steve Mildenhall started in goal, with Kennedy, Paul Reid, Niall Canavan and Tom Newey forming the defence.
The midfield consisted of Andy Barcham, Michael Collins, Damien Mozika, Gibbons and Djeziri, while Karl Hawley led the attack.
The substitutes were Sam Slocombe, Mark Hughes, Jordan Keegan, Mike Grella, Matt Godden and youth team starlets Hakeeb Adelakun and Jamie Wootton.
The Iron got off to a bright start to the match, with Mozika firing wide the first shot of the game on four minutes with a 25 yard effort.
Scunthorpe's defence managed to shut out the division's pacesetters in the opening stages as they looked to frustrate and hold their hosts.
They had their first shot on 11 minutes when Jake Cassidy's effort from range took two deflections before being saved by Mildenhall.
The best chance of the match thus far arrived on 18 minutes when Barcham blazed over from 12 yards out after a corner had fallen only as far as him.
The wideman then had another attempt three minutes later, intercepting the ball before firing wide.
In the 29th minute, Scunthorpe tried their luck again when the ball fell to Gibbons 30 yards from goal and his dipping effort went just over the crossbar.
Tranmere had their best shot of the first half on 36 minutes when Robinson curled just over the crossbar with his attempt from the edge of the area. It proved the last opportunity of the opening period.
The first chance of the second half came Tranmere's way on 51 minutes when Robinson charged down the left flank and into the area but saw his drive across goal parried away by Mildenhall.
The hosts did take the lead on 61 minutes though when half-time susbtitute Stockton bundled home from close range. He reacted quickly after Mildenhall had made a great save from Cassidy's bullet header following a Robinson corner.
It was seemingly coming, as the hosts had dominated the second half up to that stage.
However, Scunthorpe fought their way back into it and started to become more of a threat, though nobody could get on the end of Barcham and Kennedy's crosses into the box.
A double change was made with 20 minutes left as Gibbons and Djeziri were replaced by Godden and 16-year-old debutant Adelakun.
And United tried to force an equaliser as Kennedy had some success getting crosses into the box. One of them fell invitingly to Barcham after only being part cleared but he blazed over the crossbar.
Then, Hawley tried to force his way through but he curled his attempt over the crossbar.
At one point, Tranmere countered and Stockton looked to add a second but Newey got back in time to clear the ball away for a corner.
The Iron continued to press but the hosts stood firm, blocking and clearing what was thrown at them.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Mildenhall threw himself forward for a Scunthorpe corner but his diving header bobbled wide.
It proved the last chance of the game as the match ended with a narrow victory for the hosts.
United return to action on New Year's Day when they host Oldham Athletic (3.00pm kick-off).
Tranmere Rovers: Fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Daniels, Bakayogo, McGurk (Thompson, 87), Palmer, Power, Robinson, Cassidy, O'Halloran (Stockton, 45).
Substitutes not used: Mooney, Kay, Goodison, Black, Harrison.
Scunthorpe United: Mildenhall, Newey, Reid, Canavan, Kennedy, Collins, Gibbons (Godden, 74), Mozika, Barcham, Djeziri (Adelakun, 74), Hawley.
Substitutes not used: Slocombe, Grella, Hughes, Keegan, Wootton.