The Iron were beaten 3-1 in an eventful game at Rochdale on Saturday afternoon.
Former United loanee Michael Rose saw a cross-cum-shot creep all the way in to put the Dale ahead before Kevin van Veen levelled things up but Ian Henderson’s strike just a minute after and Peter Vincenti’s late header handed the hosts all three points.
Scunthorpe made three changes to the side that drew with Sheffield United seven days previously with Liam O’Neil, Gary McSheffrey and the injured Neal Bishop all dropping out of the starting line-up.
They were replaced in the team by van Veen, Conor Townsend and young striker Kyle Wootton, who was selected for his first professional start.
The game began in electric fashion with Rose the first player to have a shot at goal just a few minutes in but his 25 yard effort was well blocked by the Iron defence.
Marcus Williams then did well to win a corner for United and the resulting flag kick was met by Niall Canavan but hit another player en route to goal before the danger was eventually cleared.
Scunthorpe striker Paddy Madden had a brilliant chance to break the deadlock seconds later as he superbly controlled a long clearance up-field and stormed past the Dale defence but saw his shot fizz inches wide.
Mark Robins’ men were beginning to settle into the match nicely and van Veen did excellently to beat three home defenders before taking a tumble and he picked himself up to take the ensuing free-kick which went just the wrong side of the post.
Rochdale were looking dangerous going forward themselves however and took the lead midway through the first-half as Rose’s dead ball delivery found the back of the net to put Keith Hill’s side ahead.
The Lancashire outfit almost doubled their advantage moments after but Stephen Dawson fired over following a fantastic team move and that man Dawson then had another chance to score but again couldn’t hit the target.
Dutch forward van Veen rose highest to meet a corner from Townsend as the Iron went in search of an equalising goal but his headed attempt flew just wide of the upright and fellow frontman Wootton also saw a good effort blocked following neat interchange between Williams and the aforementioned Townsend.
Half-time arrived with United still trailing but the team came back out with real purpose and almost found a leveller as the heavily involved Townsend controlled a brilliant ball from van Veen and found George Evans but he volleyed just wide of the mark.
Hakeeb Adelakun was introduced to proceedings as Scunthorpe looked to intensify their efforts to get back into the game and that’s exactly what happened with an hour on the watch.
The bustling van Veen controlled excellently and stabbed a shot under Jamie Jones in the Rochdale goal to bag his second in claret and blue but the hosts then went straight back up the other end and regained their lead.
A long range strike ricocheted back to Henderson who had the simplest of tasks to slot home just 60 seconds after van Veen’s equaliser.
That was a real kick in the teeth for the Iron and Robins responded with two more substitutions as McSheffrey and O’Neil were both brought on and the former used all of his experience to get in front of his marker before firing in a teasing cross which was just too heavy for Madden.
United huffed and puffed for a second equalising goal but went further behind inside the last ten minutes as Henderson’s cross from the left landed right on the head of Vincenti to put the hosts 3-1 up.
McSheffrey had a goal disallowed as the game drew to a close and the contest finished with the points staying in Lancashire.
Rochdale: Jones, Bennett, Eastham, Vincenti, Dawson (Noble-Lazarus, 73), O’Connell, Allen, Rose, Cannon, Kennedy, Henderson (Bunney, 90+2).
Substitutes not used: Lillis, Lancashire, Brandy, Hery, Tanser.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Clarke, Boyce, Canavan, Williams (Adelakun, 55), Evans (O’Neil, 69), Osbourne, Madden, van Veen, Townsend, Wootton (McSheffrey, 64).
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Davey, Llera, Lundstram.