Scunthorpe fans witnessed another stalemate at Glanford Park on Saturday afternoon, with in-form Newport managing to hold the Iron to a 1-1 draw.
In a fiery game that was end-to-end throughout, a draw was a fair result. Both teams had chances to win it, but it’s Justin Edinburgh who will be going home the happier of the two managers.
Playing in front of a crowd of 3,157 (137 away) fans, it took Scunthorpe no more than 90 seconds to take the lead, with Terry Hawkridge teeing up Sam Winnall for his third goal of the season.
The winger received the ball after his corner was cleared, took on his man and created an easy six-yard tap-in for the Scunthorpe striker.
The goal gave Scunthorpe the confidence to dominate the early stages of the game, keeping the ball well and creating chances.
It took the Iron seven minutes for their next chance, Andy Dawson crossing for Deon Burton whose volley was comfortable saved.
After a flowing move starting from Christian Ribeiro at the back, Winnall tempted Harry Worley to bring him down, resulting in the first yellow card of the game.
It was beginning to look like another solid defensive performance at Glanford Park, with both full backs getting forward and the David Mirfin/Niall Canavan partnership appearing dominant.
After 15 minutes, Newport were limited to a long range shot from Lee Minshull which was saved comfortably by Sam Slocombe, and this was their only real glimpse at goal so far.
On 20 minutes, Newport got more into the game, and created another chance, with Minshull heading wide of the mark from six yards.
Burton shone in the first half, kick-starting the majority of the home side’s attacks while remaining calm, holding the ball up.
Newport’s Robbie Willmott had a great chance after 25 minutes, finding room behind the Iron defence, only to miscontrol and shoot straight at Slocombe.
Newport winger Ryan Jackson looked lively on the left wing, but Ribeiro held his ground well on the right-hand side of the defence.
Scunthorpe looked a threat from corners, Hawkridge swinging the ball in for the second time to set up Sparrow, who volleyed straight into a barricade of Newport defenders.
Minshull was allowed to turn in the box on 39 minutes, but his acrobatic effort ballooned over the bar – a warning for the Scunthorpe defence who seemed to fall asleep briefly. This was the last bit of action in a fiery first half, won by Winnall’s 2nd minute goal.
It came as no surprise that Brian Laws opted for no half-time changes, but it wasn’t long before Newport threatened – forcing a very smart save from Slocombe, diving low to his right to deny Minshull’s goal-bound header.
On the hour mark, the Hawkridge/Winnall combination looked dangerous once again: Winnall’s attempted chip saved after a clever one-two with the former Gainsborough Trinity man. However, seconds later Scunthorpe were picking the ball out of the back of net – Andrew Hughes meeting a cross and nodding it past Slocombe.
This had been coming with Newport beginning to take the game to Scunthorpe, yet the goal seemed to fire up the home crowd, who banded together to urge Scunthorpe to push on for the lead.
A 66th minute corner managed to further the crowd’s encouragement; Hawkridge whipping one in for Mirfin, who was denied the open-goal opportunity by a vital deflection from a Newport defender.
The claret and blue side had a penalty appeal turned down in the 80th minute, substitute Spencer controlling a long ball over the top only to fall over a Newport leg; a fair challenge according to referee Graham Horwood.
Hughes almost got his second for the visitors with 2 minutes to go, but his header was plucked from mid-air by Slocombe. Only for Scunthorpe to go up the other end and miss a golden opportunity: Dawson’s cross met by a miscued Spencer effort after a great switch by Canavan.
One positive will be the fact that Eddie Nolan did not look out of place as a stand-in midfielder – filling in for the injured Michael Collins. Laws will also be pleased to see Esajas getting some minutes under his belt.
Scunthorpe United: 01. Slocombe, 02. Ribeiro, 03. Dawson, 04. McAllister, 05. Mirfin, 06. Canavan, 07. Sparrow, 08. Burton (Spencer 74) 14. Hawkridge (Esajas 81) 18. Nolan, 29. Winnall.
Substitutes: 13. Severn, 10. Esajas, 11. Welsh, 15. Waterfall, 23. Wootton, 24. Clark, 28. Spencer.
Newport County: 01. Pidgeley, 02. Pipe, 03. Hughes, 07. Chapman (Flynn 22) 08. Minshull, 11. Zebroski (Crow 14) 12. Willmott, 18. Jackson, 19. Naylor, 22. Worley, 23. Jolley (Washington 45).
Substitutes: 25. Stephens, 5. James, 6. Yakubu, 9. Crow, 14. Washington, 17. Flynn.
Attendance: 3,157 (137 away fans).