The Iron lost in their FA Cup third round replay against Chesterfield, as the Spireites won 2-0 on the night to set up a fourth round tie at Derby County.
Two goals in extra time from Sam Clucas saw the hosts through after a hard-fought ninety-plus minutes where there was little to choose between the sides.
United came into the game off the back of a thumping 4-1 win away at Walsall in the league but were forced into making three changes with Tom Hopper, Luke O’Neil and Jacob Murphy all ineligible loanees for the third round replay. Eddie Nolan came into midfield in place of O’Neil; Lyle Taylor and Isiah Osbourne made up the remainder of the first eleven.
Chesterfield raced out of the blocks right from kick-off with a break down the left flank. The ball came across the face, behind Doyle and Gnanduillet and eventually running to Tendayi Darika arriving from right full back. Slocombe got down smartly to save low at his near post.
The rest of the opening exchanges in the game were a little less frenetic, though the hosts perhaps shaded things in terms of possession and in limiting the Iron’s forward momentum. A corner to the Spireites on seven minutes yielded their second real opening of the game with Madden’s hacked clearance landing to League One’s top scorer Eoin Doyle on the edge of the box. After a jink inside he fired right at Slocombe who again came up with the goods, catching comfortably.
After a period of quiet back and forth in the midfield leading up to the quarter hour, the hosts kicked up a notch. Gary Roberts swept into Doyle on 16 minutes to send him clear. The poacher was stumbling but still managed to fire an effort on goal where he found Slocombe at his best – United’s stopper tipping over at full stretch. Gnanduillet then drilled low towards the near post from a tight angle, again Slocombe was alert and down quickly to make the stop.
With 25 played, again the hosts threatened. Gnanduillet flicked onto Boco who had found space between Llera and Boyce. The former came across to give Boco something to think about, forcing the rushed shot – easier for Slocombe this time. United seemed content to be patient as at Walsall, finding their chances limited. A lobbed ball through for Lyle Taylor from Paddy Madden was the only one of note. Tommy Lee was quickly off his line to smother at Taylor’s feet.
Three minutes later, the hosts found another opening. Slocombe’s clearance into Nolan was a little over hit, allowing Morsy to nip in and take possession. He offloaded to Gary Roberts in space on the left but his cross found only Neal Bishop, sliding excellently to intercept and clear the cutback on the penalty spot. The clearance turned defence into attack with Taylor in behind. The striker tried a chip from the edge of the box but ballooned well over.
After a quiet ten minutes, Chesterfield again found a spark with five minutes to go before the break. Sam Clucas broke away down the left before drilling dangerously across the face. Doyle miscued at the near post and Gnanduillet did likewise, allowing Slocombe to sprawl and collect in the last real action of the first period, with only one minute added on by referee Hill.
Mark Robins made a change at the break with Matty Sparrow replacing Eddie Nolan in the middle of the pitch. It didn’t stop the hosts sparking right into action as they had in the first period though. Eoin Doyle fashioned some room on the right corner of the ‘D’ before crashing a foot or so wide.
Again, things quietened down in the game as it approached the hour mark. United had a break on 50 minutes thanks to a tidy bit of footwork from Alex Davey to get him away down the right flank. His whipped ball across the face was good but ahead of Madden and out the back side of the box. Robins saw fit to exchange McSheffrey for Hakeeb Adelakun on 56 minutes, perhaps looking for the youngster to take the bull by the horns with his direct running.
On the hour mark, United created their best move of the game through Madden. He skipped aside his man on the edge of the box and drove at goal, inches wide of Lee’s right hand post with the Spireites ‘keeper beaten. Further pressure came with a corner after good pressure from Davey. Adelakun arrowed it in before Chesterfield scramble clear. A poke goalward from any boot would have seen it go in.
Chesterfield then hit back on 65 minutes with pressure of their own. Llera read a teasing cross into the six-yard box to nod behind before Roberts’ corner was eventually smothered after Hird steered towards goal with a deflection off Raglan. A minute later, United were on the receiving end once more. Chesterfield broke down the right edge of the box with Morsey, who had Boco free with just one Iron body in his way. Marcus Williams raced back from nowhere to slide and block the cross – a simple tap in for Boco was the alternative outcome.
In the same spell of pressure, United had to deal with another dangerous ball in from the left. Iron bodies dropped back into the box to mark their men allowing Raglan to take his time and tee across the face. Slocombe tipped excellently to safety with Chesterfield bodies arriving.
After a brief spell of calm while Marcus Williams received treatment, Chesterfield came again. On 78 minutes in came the corner eventually falling to Roberts at the other side of the box amidst the Iron fans’ jeers.
The winger jinked to cross, Llera headed clear but only to Raglan who chested then hit on the half volley, landing just the other side of the post and hitting the stantion behind.
With extra time and penalties looming, both sides looked to push. Osbourne tackled last-ditch to stop Roberts as he strode towards the edge of the box and Adelakun sliced wide having been played clear. Neither side could clinch it though as the game spilled over into extra time.
Neither side really seized an initiative as the game entered the 30 minutes of extra time with tiring legs no doubt becoming a factor. The first real shot on goal came on 100 minutes after good work from the substitute Terry Hawkridge, who had replaced Osbourne a minute into the extra period. Tidy play down the Iron left from Bishop passed possession to Hawkridge on the edge of the box. He jinked left and struck, forcing an unconvincing parry out of Lee. He spilled but was able to smother at the second attempt.
Five minutes later Gnanduillet had an excellent chance to seal it. Sam Clucas spotted him free and heading towards the left corner of the box, he was onside but could only sky his effort into a despairing Chesterfield crowd behind.
They didn’t have to wait long to have something to cheer about though. Right on the stroke of half time in extra time, another Spireites breakaway saw Doyle away down the right, in behind the Iron and into the box. A simple square ball gave Clucas a tap in on a plate. He took his chance and put the hosts ahead in a tie they have turned right around over two legs.
Just after the break Alex Davey won an Iron corner off the goal-scorer, to be taken by Terry Hawkridge. The winger drove it in flat towards the penalty spot where Davey twisted to head narrowly over the angle of post and bar. Lee was struggling.
Again United showed their fighting spirit, another good delivery from Hawkridge found the head of Alex Davey who headed on goal, forcing Lee into parrying. The Chelsea loanee then tried an audacious back-heel, Lee palmed away once more before clutching to his chest.
With United pushing they shifted to three at the back with Llera the target man up top, surrounded by Madden and Taylor.
Despite this effort to push for that equaliser, the hosts extended their lead. Sam Clucas added his and Chesterfield’s second with a pearler from 25 yards, shaping nicely away from Slocombe into the top corner.
Game over as proved to be the case as Chesterfield saw out the remaining four minutes comfortably.
Chesterfield: Lee, Darikwa, Hird, Morsy, Gnanduillet, Roberts, Clucas, Humphreys (Ryan, 81), Raglan, Doyle, Boco (Jones, 90).
Substitutes: Wright, Gardner, O'Shea, Evatt, Talbot.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Williams, Llera, Davey, Boyce, Nolan (Sparrow, 45), McSheffrey (Adelakun, 56), Bishop, Osbourne (Hawkridge, 94), Madden, Taylor.
Substitutes: Weaver, Canavan, Wootton, Mosanya.
Attendance: 6,815 (431 away).