Scunthorpe had to settle for a point against Dagenham and Redbridge - conceding an injury time equaliser after taking the lead late on themselves through David Mirfin.
The visitors were stubborn and lively on the counter attack but United had the majority of the game and its chances. As at Bristol last week though, the cutting edge was lacking.
The game sparked into life on four minutes with a Cruyff turn from Eddie Nolan in the right back position. He turned his man and drove a ball into Sean McAllister who, on the turn, continued up the flank.
After sliding to keep the ball in play he knocked a pass into space for Winnall to run onto. The striker worked his way into the box under pressure from a Daggers defender but was forced wide. His shot from the narrowest of angles only found the side netting.
Dawson swung a ball in from deep across goal a couple of minutes later, in a good spell of pressure for the Iron. McAllister bust a gut to try and get on the end of it but couldn’t quite stretch, leaving the ball to roll harmlessly out of play.
Dagenham had mustered a couple of dangerous looking attacks on the break, but good utilisation of the offside trap and alert defending from Niall Canavan with a couple of key interceptions stopped threats before they had a chance to materialise.
Scunthorpe’s second real chance of the game fell to Deon Burton after fifteen minutes. The striker was fed by Nolan after the right back had burst down the Iron’s right. He got in behind to slide possession back to Burton on the penalty spot. The ball seemed to become tangled in his feet before his prodded effort was scrambled clear by Saah, after the big centre back had made a half-block with some involvement from Winnall in the mix as well. The attack wasn’t dead though. Hawkridge revived things with a good bit of individual play to burst towards the edge of the area.
He drove hard with his left towards goal where again, a Daggers man put his body on the line to block.
The Iron were dominating the possession stakes but for the middle third of the first half, they were struggling to generate clear chances. With half an hour gone, though, Hawkridge improvised to get himself into space and an opportunity to run at the opposing defence. His whipped cross at the end of his positive run was begging for someone to get on the end of it but nobody in claret and blue was able to take the invitation.
Dagenham and Redbridge were unable to test Slocombe at all throughout the first period and the Iron were certainly the better side in terms of possession but notable chances had so far been limited, with the sides going into the break at 0-0.
Brian Laws opted to mix things up with a change at half time – winger Andy Welsh entered proceedings in place of centre midfielder McAllister, giving the Iron two out-and-out wide men for the second half.
The visitors went agonisingly close to sneaking into the lead within the first five minutes of the restart. Brian Woodall was slipped through by a cutting pass from midfield, between Canavan and Mirfin. Slocombe was at his very best to squeak the ball a hair past the post with a strong hand.
From the resulting corner, Dagenham were again unlucky not to have taken the lead. A brilliant piece of work from Slocombe, stopping an effort from close range on the line and a combination of two Iron defenders blocking the rebounded chance second time around meant Scunthorpe hung on. A minute later, from another corner, Scunthorpe were stretched to the limit once more. A Daggers man found himself free on the penalty spot with the opportunity to strike at goal unchallenged. He rocked back and fired an effort with power but again, Scunthorpe bodies and Sam Slocombe combined to keep the scoreline at 0-0. The Iron really were clinging on at this stage, Dagenham’s chances were guilt edged.
After the frantic opening to the half, Scunthorpe wrestled back control in terms of possession of the football and the match settled back into a midfield scrap with few chances being created by either side. Chris Iwelumo was brought into the fray in place of Burton to add a bit more physicality up top for the Iron.
Scunthorpe were given a golden chance to take the lead on 70 minutes when referee Darren Deadman pointed to the spot. Ilesanmi gave Deadman little to think about after palming a looping cross away from Winnall and Iwelumo threatening to get on the end of it. Chris Iwelumo stepped up to the plate, but his penalty was comfortably saved down to his left by Lewington in the Daggers.
The visitors remained a threat on the break with the pace of their wide men getting them in behind. The Iron’s defence was coping though and were always organised in time to deal with the crossed ball. Aside from on the counter Scunthorpe were creating the most and looking more likely to score. On 73 minutes, Iwelumo almost atoned for his penalty miss two minutes earlier. Dawson put an inviting delivery into the box from a free kick down the Iron left for the big striker to get on the end of at the far post. Iwelumo met it well but steered it narrowly past the post.
Iwelumo was giving Dagenham’s defence different kinds of problems to what they’d had to deal with prior to his introduction and he was proving a handful. Laws tried to add to Scunthorpe’s threat and create some striker to striker link-up with the introduction of Jamie Wootton on 83 minutes.
The Dagenham defence were having to deal with a peppering from out wide and from all angles. Scott Doe almost sliced a Hawkridge cross into his own net, giving the Iron a corner with two minutes of normal time left to play. Andy Dawson stepped up to take the corner and his delivery proved impeccable as well as timely. Mirfin rose to beat his man and slammed the ball home with a bullet header. The centre-back had no only had an outstanding game at the back but had now added a goal to what was voted a Man of the Match performance just a minute before his header rippled the net.
The relief around the ground was palpable but the positive vibe did not last long. Just after the announcement of extra time Dagenham equalised. Having looked dangerous on the break all afternoon, the Iron’s defence finally succumbed. Luke Howell was sent clear after a pacey counter-attack right at the Iron back-line. Clear on goal, Slocombe did all he could – rushing out to try and meet the danger but Howell got there first to slot home.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Nolan, Mirfin, Canavan, Dawson, Hawkridge, Sparrow, Collins, McAllister (Welsh, 45), Winnall (Wootton, 83), Burton (Iwelumo, 61).
Substitutes: Severn, Ribeiro, Howe, Clark.
Dagenham and Redbridge: Lewington, Ilesanmi, Doe, Saah, Elito (Bingham, 92), Ogogo, Murphy (Reed, 83), Scott (Dennis, 67), Howell, Hoyte, Woodhall.
Substitutes: Obafemi, Gayle, Connors, Seabright.