Despite an excellent performance, the Iron were defeated 1-0 by Reading in the Second Round of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.
A late goal from substitute Jake Taylor saw the Championship side run out the winners, as ex-manager Nigel Adkins’ made his first visit to Glanford Park as an opposition manager since leaving the club back in 2010.
The game stopped almost as quickly as it had started when Gary McSheffrey was booked for a challenge in the very first minute, which resulted in a fairly long stoppage as the Royal’s Shaun Cummings received treatment.
The game restarted and it was a positive start by the Iron, with them looking to take the game to the Royals from the off.
They were the first to threaten in the fifth minute, when McSheffrey had his shot blocked by Pearce from just outside the edge of the area.
A surging run from Hope Akpan saw Reading venture into the Iron’s half for the first time in the 10th minute but the ball found its way to Jamie Mackie but his cross evaded everyone and went out for a goal kick.
United tested Federici for the first time in the game a minute later when the ball sat up for Madden and he hit the ball on the half volley, forcing the Australian keeper to push the ball away from goal.
Jamie Mackie went close for the visitors in the 16th minute when he came inside and smashed a shot from 25 yards that went wide of the near post.
Nick Blackman was the next to try his luck when he was played in by Akpan and had space to turn in the final third of the pitch, but his 20 yard shot was well over the bar.
The Iron were continuing to pin Reading back and cause them problems and McSheffrey’s low free kick was deflected wide for a corner.
The resulting corner was hooked back into the centre of the box by Addison and Reading cleared the danger once again.
A good move from the Iron saw them work the ball out to Hawkridge in space on the right hand side of the box but his shot was tipped wide by Federici.
There was space on the right hand side once again two minutes later and Nolan used that to put in a good cross for McAllister but it was just too high for the midfielder and he headed just over the bar.
The Royals got in behind the Iron for the first time in the 20th minute when Blackman showed good trickery on the left wing to beat Nolan and aimed towards Cox but Addison headed away.
Federici was then forced to use every inch of his 6 foot 2 frame to tip the ball over the bar, when a fantastic left footed free-kick from Paddy Madden looked destined for the top corner of the net.
The Iron had yet another opportunity from a set piece two minutes later, when McSheffrey whipped in and Pearce was forced to head over his own bar.
United continued to have the majority of possession as the half drew to a close but the teams went in goalless at the break. However, it was a very encouraging half from the Iron and they would be hoping for more of the same.
The second half began as the first half had ended and Hawkridge’s shot was blocked by Gunter and out for a corner almost as soon as the game had begun again.
The Iron were on the front foot again but it was just a question as to whether they could take one of their chances.
Perhaps the best chance of the game at that point came in the 53rd minute when a free-kick was whipped in and founds its way to Madden, but his snapshot was wide of the far post.
Olejnik was called into action for the first time in the half in the 55th minute but Cox’s shot from twenty yards out was comfortably caught by the Austrian.
Reading had another opportunity in the 56th minute when Cox managed to work some space but the shot was again straight at Olejnik.
The Iron had another opportunity in the 57th minute when Hakeeb Adelakun went on a driving run through midfield and played in Madden but he was forced too wide and hit his shot wide of the near post from the narrow angle.
There was another stoppage in play soon after that as Blackman received treatment for Reading.
The game was becoming more stretched as it went on and Reading tried their luck from long range once again but Cox’s shot was straight over the bar in the 71st minute.
Another good move from the Iron saw Terry Hawkridge come inside but he hit his shot over the bar in the 75th minute.
The Iron were gaining momentum again and Adelakun was causing problems, coming inside and out for a corner in the 77th minute as the fans felt an upset on the cards.
The resulting corner saw another great opportunity for the Iron. Reading failed to clear and as the ball was bouncing around, Bishop slid in but his shot was deflected off his own player and just over the bar.
Chris Gunter was the next to have a shot from long range in the 79th minute but it was well wide of the post.
The roles seemed to reverse in the final ten minutes of the game, with Reading looking dangerous and the Iron looking to catch them with pace on the break.
Madden came agonisingly close to giving the Iron the lead yet again in the 83rd minute when he played a one-two with McSheffrey but his side footed effort was deflected narrowly wide of the post.
However, it was another chance missed and that proved to be costly for the Iron when Reading took the lead with only five minutes to go.
A corner was whipped in from Cox and there was a melee in the box before the ball fell to Blackman at the far post. He played in Taylor, who slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Four minutes of added time were signalled and the Iron needed an equaliser if they were to stay in the Cup.
However, it wasn’t to be and despite arguably being the better side, the Iron were defeated.
Despite that, manager Russ Wilcox will take a lot of positives from the performance as United resume league action against Walsall at Glanford Park this coming Saturday.
Scunthorpe United: Olejnik, Nolan, Canavan, Addison, Williams, Hawkridge, McAllister, Bishop, Adelakun (Wootton, 87) McSheffrey, Madden.
Unused substitutes: Weaver, Dawson, Sparrow, Taylor, Featherstone, Llera.
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Cooper, Cummings (Long, 46), Kuhl, Akpan, Tanner (Edwards, 74), Blackman, Mackie (Taylor, 74), Cox.
Unused substitutes: Anderson, Griffin, Stacey, Fosu.
Attendance: 2,567 (219 away).