Two strikes from leading scorer Paddy Madden saw United take all three points with a 2-1 win over Barnsley to cap an impressive away showing in South Yorkshire.
Barnsley had taken the lead but the Iron responded inside a minute to equalise before Madden added a second on the stroke of half time with a solo run from half-way before poking home past Ross Turnbull.
United boss Mark Robins made one change to the side that drew 2-2 at Crawley Town last weekend with Alex Davey, brought in from Chelsea on loan in midweek, replacing the suspended Andrew Boyce. Robins’ other loan signing this past week, Richard Brindley of Rotherham missed out on this squad.
Miguel Llera retained his place in the starting line-up after being stretchered off last weekend while United faced last season’s top scorer Sam Winnall for the first time since he left Glanford Park.
Barnsley started brightly, earning two throw-ins inside the opening couple of minutes. The Iron quickly turned defence into attack though with a counter down the right. Hawkridge’s lofted ball curled along the flank and into Madden. His drilled cross was just in-front of Bishop, on the rush to connect on the slide.
Two more half-chances inside the opening ten minutes followed for the Iron. Lyle Taylor’s busywork forced Barnsley into a defensive mix-up, with two jumping for the same loose ball. Taylor was there to pick up the pieces but Barnsley recovered to clear.
A minute later, good one-touch play saw the ball travel right through the hosts from Sam Slocombe right at the back to Lyle Taylor up at the top. He beat the offside trap to lay off to Luke Williams on the edge of the area but a Barnsley man was across quickly to block.
The Tykes weathered the Iron’s pressure in the opening ten minutes and mounted pressure of their own. Their first corner of the game on 11 minutes was in towards Sam Winnall but well read by Llera, the big Spaniard across and in-front of the former Iron poacher to head clear.
Winnall was again involved on 18 minutes. Barnsley had been looking long to find any one of their three front men over the top on the break. Dudgeon skewed one crossfield and over Marcus Williams where Winnall had found space. He slipped as he tried to bring the ball down, however, pulling a muscle in the process. He knew his game was up – signalling as much to the bench as he went to ground, Kane Hemmings took his place on the right side of that front three.
This break in play was enough for the Iron to regain the initiative. Barnsley conceded two cheap free-kicks in two minutes. Both were straight from the training ground but neither came off.
The third free-kick right off the back of the two previously on 24 minutes brought tempers to the boil. The home support felt hard done by as Luke Williams stole the ball away on the left, preventing a breakaway. Martin Cranie then slid in on Lyle Taylor, frustrated. Referee Linington put a lid on the brawl before it started while issuing Cranie with a yellow.
On 28 minutes, the game sparked into life. The hosts looked riled by the last passage of play and broke with purpose. Marcello Trotta was found in space on the edge of the box and bulleted home into the top corner on his left to break the deadlock.
United would have felt rightly aggrieved that the opener came against the run of play but responded in the best possible way just a minute later. McSheffrey carried the ball away down the right, beating Dudgeon with ease, jinking left before striking. Ross Turnbull got a hand on it but the rebound fell straight to Paddy Madden who bicycled home from close range to equalise.
Things cooled down towards half-time after that frenetic minute. Marcello Trotta was next to threaten five minutes before the break, once more with a left-footed snapshot, this time straight at Slocombe.
On the stroke of half time United were the ones in the ascendency. Luke Williams strode over halfway then around three Barnsley men midway inside the hosts’ half before sliding Madden away down the right. The Irishman looked to slide a ball across the face but Barnsley managed to block.
On the half time whistle, United turned the game on its head. Madden was again at the centre of all things good for United, carrying the ball from halfway to the edge of the Barnsley box, jinking left and right at pace with Tykes defenders furiously backpedalling. He squirmed round the last man and poked towards goal. It was under Turnbull and into the bottom corner before the ‘stopper could get to ground. The Irishman skipped along the touchline towards Mark Robins to celebrate. United 2-1 up at the break and deservedly so.
The opening ten minutes of the second half were tentative as both sides looked to build a bit of momentum. Frustrations grew amongst the home support at the lack of action, Barnsley taking until the hour mark to mount a response through a first corner of the half. It was easily dealt with by Davey and cleared away.
Barnsley came again though, on 61 minutes. A quick break down the left following an Iron corner saw United stretched. Hemmings played across the face but nobody gambled. Bishop was right place, right time to deal with it. Minutes later, a carbon copy. This time Trotta failing to gamble on a teasing, whipped ball.
Pressure was beginning to mount on the Iron. On 65 minutes, Llera was deemed to have gone late into a challenge out on the left touchline and received a yellow in the process. The free-kick was delivered perfectly and looked to have found M’Voto free at the back post. The big centre-half made a hash of his attempt though, failing to connect when a tap-in would have drawn Barnsley level.
Barnsley went closer still in their next attack. Devante Cole flicked neatly over Llera to tee himself up free inside the box. He watched the ball drop and struck on the volley. The effort lacked any real control though and ended up high in the stand behind Slocombe’s goal.
Mark Robins made his first change with Sean McAllister taking to the field in place of Gary McSheffrey on 71 minutes. The central midfielder found himself in the thick of it straight away with a break down the Iron right. He cleverly dinked inside to Lyle Taylor, splitting the two centre-backs. The striker took his time to steady himself before striking but was thwarted down low to his left by Turnbull, who had to be at his best to save and parry away from McAllister on the rebound.
Barnsley pressure had been coming in waves but the Iron looked to have stemmed the flow with fifteen minutes to play. After five minutes of downtime United broke in numbers – three on two. Lyle Taylor strode away down the left before finding Luke Williams who unleashed a swerving strike from 25-yards, forcing Turnbull into an unconventional palm down and away.
As the clock wound down Barnsley’s support grew increasingly frustrated – booing a misplaced ball forward. With a minute to go, Llera was precisely placed to head a goal-bound effort away with Slocombe at full stretch behind him. Llera and O’Neil both went down in separate collisions from the resulting corner, much to the derision of the home support. Five minutes were to be added on.
Barnsley threw everything they had at the Iron in those added minutes but it was United who went closest. A slip from Barnsley’s last man meant Turnbull had to be on his toes to slide in and clear away from O’Neil. With that went the last real chance of the game as United claimed all three points to the delight of the travelling support.
TEAM LINE UPS
Barnsley: Turnbull, Dudgeon, Berry, Nyatanga, Cranie, Winnall (Hemmings, 21), Ramage (M’Voto, 52), Hourihane, Trotta, Bailey (Treacy, 67), Cole.
Substitutes not used: Davies, Brown, Abbott, Lita.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Hawkridge, Davey, Llera, M Williams, O'Neil, Bishop, L Williams, McSheffrey (McAllister, 71), Madden, Taylor (Kee, 82).
Substitutes not used: Olejnik, Sparrow, Myrie-Williams, Adelakun, Brisley.
Attendance: 9,340 (704 away),