Goals from Tom Hopper and Josh Morris looked to have set the visitors on their way to a routine win, but the home side fought back, rallying late on. Scunthorpe held out though, and secured a well deserved three points.
United made three changes from the 2-2 draw with Fleetwood Town, as Neal Bishop, Luke Williams and Hopper came in for Sam Mantom, Hakeeb Adelakun and Duane Holmes respectively.
After an even opening to the match, the home side went close on nine minutes. Following a strong burst down the left by former Iron man Andy Barcham, the winger stood a cross up which clipped the far post. The ball then was then struck goalwards from the rebound, with Bishop making a crucial block to divert the effort over the crossbar.
It wasn’t too long before Graham Alexander’s men created their first chance, through Morris. It looked as though the opportunity had gone when Stephen Dawson’s cross was cleared, but Morris was on it like a flash, and tested Ryan Clarke in the Dons goal with a low, left footed drive.
Fifteen minutes in, Wimbledon thought they’d get their noses in front when Tyrone Barnett burst through and finished at the second attempt. The celebrations were cut short though, as the linesman’s flag was raised, much to Barnett’s disappointment.
Another major setback for the hosts would soon follow, with the Iron edging ahead. After some neat combination play on the left, Conor Townsend centred for Hopper, who rose highest to head the ball into the opposing corner of the goal.
Hopper’s goal meant United had the bit between their teeth, and they went instantly in search of a quickfire second. Williams almost got it too, latching onto a superb cross-field pass, the midfielder poked the ball across goal, but it went inches wide.
The former Middlesbrough man was involved again moments later, this time engineering the opening for himself. His shot was then deflected into the path of Kevin van Veen, who saw his close range shot cleared off the goal-line.
United’s frustration would be short lived, as they doubled their lead four minutes ahead of the interval. Hopper did superb to get in front of his man, and was then fouled. The resulting spot kick was never in doubt, with Morris sending Clarke the wrong way to dispatch with ease. A perfect time for the Iron to score, giving them an added bonus heading into the break.
The scoreline was nearly halved shortly after the resumption of play, when Jake Reeves went for goal from distance. The midfielder struck his shot well, but it flew marginally over Luke Daniels’ crossbar and out for a goal kick.
In spite of the hosts’ positive start to the second period, Graham Alexander’s team weren’t about to rest on their laurels, and Bishop went close to settling the argument with a well struck volley from the edge of the penalty area.
Just after the hour mark though, Neil Ardley’s side did manage to get a foothold in the match. Following a well taken free kick on the right, Darius Charles crashed his header off the crossbar. He was then the first to react, stabbing home from inside the six yard box.
That goal gave the Wombles an added impetus, and Daniels soon had work to do. He preserved the Iron’s lead on 75 minutes, stretching out a strong hand to deny substitute Tom Elliott.
As the clock ticked past the 90 minute mark, Hopper had a great chance to seal the victory. Substitute Sam Mantom did well to cushion a pass into Morris after the ball broke in the middle of the park. The winger then squared for the United striker, but he fired over from close range.
Hopper and his teammates wouldn’t rue that miss though, as a superb defensive display late on ensured the three points would be heading back to Glanford Park.
AFC Wimbledon: Clarke, Fuller, Robinson, Charles, Kelly, Whelpdale (Parrett 46), Bulman, Reeves, Barnett, Taylor (Poleon 81), Barcham (Elliott 46)
Substitutes not used: Shea, Nightingale, Beere, Fitzpatrick.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wallace, Mirfin, Williams (Adelakun 46 (Goode 84)), Dawson, van Veen (Mantom 69), Morris, Bishop, Hopper, Townsend, Clarke.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Wiseman, Holmes, Wootton.
Attendance: 4,163 (372 away).