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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
15:00 13th August 2016
By  Jack Gallagher

The Iron came from two goals down to earn a more than deserved point in a breathtaking 2-2 draw against Fleetwood Town at Highbury.

After falling behind to goals from Eggert Jonsson and David Ball, Tom Hopper and a spectacular strike from Kevin van Veen levelled things up for the away side.

Graham Alexander made three alterations from the midweek EFL Cup victory over Notts County, as Sam Mantom made his league debut for the club, replacing Jamie Ness. Josh Morris came in for Kyle Wootton, and Hakeeb Adelakun came back into the side, in place of Luke Williams.

United made a positive start to proceedings, and after Mantom’s deflected shot found it’s way through to Duane Holmes, the net looked as though it would bulge. It wasn’t the case however, as the American dragged his close range strike just wide of the goal.

Alexander’s side were looking a dangerous prospect on the break, with Adelakun next to venture into the Fleetwood area. His quick feet bought him half a yard, before he sliced his effort off target from the right corner of the box.

Holmes was picking up some good positions in front of the hosts’ back four, and they were struggling to track him. 22 minutes in he went for goal again, but like his first attempt, he pulled the ball wide of the target.

Fleetwood went the closest up until that point however, when Jimmy Ryan rattled the crossbar on 25 minutes. The former Iron man looked to have beaten Luke Daniels with his free kick, but much to the ‘keeper’s relief, the ball bounced back into play.

With less than ten minutes to play until the break, Uwe Rosler’s men got their noses in front. Following Bobby Grant’s free kick from the left, Jonsson rose highest and glanced his header into the far corner of the goal.

It would turn out to be the last action of a frustrating half for the Iron, who went in behind, after creating a number of chances.

The beginning of the second half would prove to be just as frustrating the end of the first, with the Cod Army doubling their advantage, seven minutes after the restart. Striker Ball added the second, with a neatly taken goal from the edge of the penalty area, following a driving run.

United’s response to the setback was superb, and they began to create chances at will. Van Veen was the first to try his luck, with a sweetly struck shot on the half volley. It looked to be heading goalwards, but Fleetwood ‘keeper Chris Neal had other ideas, as he reached up to tip the ball behind for a corner.

From the resulting corner though, the visitors were back in it. Jordan Clarke initially did brilliantly to send his header goalwards, leading to a fumble from Neal, who palmed the ball into the path of substitute Hopper, who couldn’t miss, as he finished from yards out.

A moment of magic soon followed, and the man who provided it was van Veen. Picking the ball up on the angle from over 30 yards out, there seemed to be little danger, but what followed was spectacular. The Dutchman opened up his body and hit a curling shot which left Neal with no chance whatsoever, as it nestled in the top right corner.

Unsurprisingly Alexander’s men were in a buoyant mood, and the shots continued to rain down on the Fleetwood goal. With 15 minutes left to play, Morris hit a rasping drive from distance, but this time Neal held on, as Hopper closed in for the rebound.

The Iron’s pressing was persistent to say the least, with van Veen, Williams and Clarke all seeing efforts repelled in a short space of time, as the clock ticked towards full time.

United couldn’t find that all important third though and, after applying constant pressure for most of the second half, they had to make do with a point. It’s a point which certainly keeps the momentum going for Alexander and his players however, ahead of the visit to AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night.

TEAM LINE-UPS
Fleetwood Town:
Neal, McLaughlin, Bell, Jonsson, Eastham, Pond, Ryan, Ball, Grant (Hunter 65), Nirennold (Kip 79), Cole (Amadi-Holloway 72).
Substitutes not used: Cairns, Bolger, Duckworth, Haughton.

Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wallace, Mirfin, Dawson (Bishop 86), van Veen, Morris, Adelakun (Williams 58), Mantom, Holmes (Hopper 58), Townsend, Clarke.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Wiseman, Goode, Wootton.

Attendance: 2,509 (486 away).

    QUICK FACTS

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