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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
15:00 28th September 2013
By  James Baldwin

The Iron made it five league games without defeat, after playing out an enthralling 2-2 draw with Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.

Having trailed to a Billy Kee goal at half-time, second-half headers from Deon Burton and Niall Canavan put the visitors ahead before they were pegged back by Burton’s Robbie Weir.

Iron manager Brian Laws made one change from the side which beat Plymouth Argyle last weekend, with Burton replacing Chris Iwelumo in attack.

The visitors began the match on the front foot, with winger Etienne Esajas posting an early warning to the Burton defence as he jinked his way through midfield before sending a low shot wide from the edge of the area in the second minute.

Three minutes later, the home side carved out their first opportunity of the game, and were only prevented from opening the scoring by the brilliance of Sam Slocombe; a flick-on from Robbie Weir found Billy Kee in space after beating the offside trap, leaving Slocombe to make a fine reflex save to deny Kee from close-range.

The Iron soon responded, and a teasing cross from Andy Dawson in the ninth minute had to be punched clear by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford under pressure from Deon Burton following impressive build-up play from Esajas out wide. The marauding Esajas was causing plenty of problems for the hosts, and minutes later he sent another long-range effort wide of goal after once again creating space in the Burton final-third.

On 20 minutes, the Iron were forced into their first change of the afternoon when Eddie Nolan pulled up short off the ball – with stalwart Cliff Byrne taking his place in the right-back position. The Brewers looked to immediately capitalise on the reorganising the Iron defence, with an ambitious volleyed effort from distance by the unmarked Chris Hussey whistling over the bar.

Injury looked set to strike the Iron again soon after when Esajas went to ground away from play in the opposing half in the 24th minute. However, much to relief of the visiting contingent given his bright start to the game, he was able to return to the field following brief treatment on the side-lines.

As the game approached the half-hour mark, the away side forced the first corner of the afternoon when a lofted ball over the top wasn’t dealt with sufficiently by the Burton defence. A well-worked corner routine found Dawson in space on the edge of the area, but the Brewers responded quickly to block his low effort, and soon countered to force a corner of their own when a cross from the right by Weir was deflected behind.

The opportunity to profit from that corner was wasted, as Hussey’s flag-kick was headed clear by Deon Burton. However, the home side wouldn’t have long to wait to break the deadlock, with Billy Kee on hand at the back-post to stab home Alex MacDonald’s driven flash across the six-yard-box off the underside of the bar on 36 minutes after the winger was found on the right by Hussey’s cross-field pass.

Buoyed by that goal, the Brewers began to exert themselves on a game which had largely been a physical affair for the majority of the opening period, with Hussey’s delivery both from set-pieces and open play troubling the Iron defence repeatedly.

With half-time looming, the Iron stepped up their attempts to get back on level terms, and in the first minute of three additional indicated by the fourth official, Esajas latched onto Burton’s flick-on and sent a dipping volley over the bar.

In the final minute of injury time, the Iron were only denied parity by a last-ditch interception at the back-post by Weir which prevented Sean McAllister from getting clean contact on Byrne’s cut-back. That would prove to be the last meaningful action of the first-half, giving the Brewers a narrow but arguably deserved lead at the break after proving to be more clinical than their counterparts in the final-third.

The Iron squad were sent out early for the second-half, with Esajas – who perhaps hadn’t fully shaken off the injury picked up in the opening period – replaced by Jimmy Spencer in the only half-time switch made by either manager.

That change would help to reap immediate rewards for the away side, as they found themselves back on level terms within minutes of the re-start; Hawkridge’s right-wing cross being glanced into the corner of the net by Burton on 48 minutes as he evaded the attention of two Burton defenders to send the visiting fans behind the goal into raptures.

Those fans were now in full voice, and their team responded by taking the game to the home side with a renewed sense of urgency and purpose, winning a 51st minute corner on the right after forcing their opponents deep into their own half. From the corner – taken by Andy Dawson – Niall Canavan rose highest to nod home past Pickford to complete a quick-fire turn-around which delighted the Iron faithful.

A dramatic start to the second-half almost took a further twist in the 57th minute when a whipped free-kick from thirty yards by Burton’s MacDonald cannoned off the post after eluding the dive of the sprawling Slocombe as his side tried to navigate a way back into a match which they had been in control of just fifteen minutes previously.

Such a way back into the match would come via a set-piece – albeit indirectly – just four minutes later, when Weir was left completely unmarked to head a Hussey free-kick from deep on the right past Slocombe to level the game once more with the third headed goal of a frantic second-half.

The game was becoming increasingly end-to-end, with both teams threatening further goals with every attack, and Burton made a like-for-like change on 68 minutes with Rene Howe replacing fellow striker Michael Symes. Two minutes later, the Iron received their first caution of the day, with Burton booked following an aerial duel with Phil Edwards.

On 73 minutes, the hosts made their second change, bringing on Adam McGurk in place of the lively MacDonald as they tried to find a way to change the dynamics of a game which had quietened down somewhat following the initial post-interval goal-rush. McGurk was almost immediately involved, breaking from midfield before seeing his attempted pass out-wide knocked behind for a corner.

Hussey’s delivery from the right troubled the Iron defence once again, but Zander Diamond’s header was diverted goal-bound header was diverted away by McAllister – with the Burton defender requiring treatment to an injury obtained in the aerial collision.

The 79th minute saw the Iron make their final change of the afternoon, with Chris Iwelumo being brought on in place of Burton. That substitution was soon matched by the home side, with Kee withdrawn in favour of Dominic Knowles as both sides tried to find a winning goal.

The earlier exploits of both sides to either take control or get themselves back into the match had taken their toll physically, and chances began to become fewer and further between as the game moved into the closing minutes.

With the game moving into injury time, Burton threatened to steal a winner when Hussey’s determined run and cross was cleared behind for a corner. The subsequent set-piece eventually fell invitingly for Weir to strike on the edge of the area, but he could only slice his effort high and wide.

The Iron themselves had one final opportunity to take maximum points when Hawkridge’s free-kick led to pin-ball in the Burton penalty-area, before the ball was finally cleared from danger - eventually falling to

Rene Howe who turned his man expertly before firing a left-footed effort just wide with referee Keith Stroud blowing the full-time whistle soon after.

TEAM LINE-UPS;
Burton Albion:
Pickford; Edwards, Hussey, Cansdell-Sherriff, Diamond; Bell (capt.), Weir, MacDonald (McGurk, 73), McCrory; Kee (Knowles, 81), Symes (R. Howe, 68).
Substitutes not used: Lyness, Delap, Reed, Palmer.

Scunthorpe United: Slocombe; Dawson (capt.), Mirfin, Canavan, Nolan (Byrne, 20); Esajas (Spencer, 45), Sparrow, McAllister, Hawkridge; Burton (Iwelumo, 79), Winnall.
Substitutes not used: Severn, Waterfall, C. Howe, Hornsey.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

Attendance: 2,556.

    QUICK FACTS

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