United slipped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Oldham Athletic at SportsDirect.com Park on Tuesday night.In a game of few chances, the home side struck twice in the minutes before half-time to condemn the visitors to only their second defeat of the league season.
The Iron made four changes going into the game, with Joe Anyon coming in to replace the injured Luke Daniels in between the sticks. Conor Townsend replaced Harry Toffolo at left back and Sam Mantom and Paddy Madden took the places of Richie Smallwood and Paddy Madden respectively.
It was the returning Mantom who registered the first effort on goal, after four minutes. The midfielder picked the ball up in space on the edge of the area before he hit a right footed shot, which was deflected wide for a corner kick.
Madden then went close to following up his brace from the weekend but, after he peeled off to the left corner of the box, his subsequent goal bound strike was blocked.
The opening 20 minutes were mostly spent in the Oldham half, with the chances continuing to come the way of Graham Alexander’s side. On 19 minutes it was Mantom again who tried his luck, this time glancing a header into the arms of Latics ‘keeper Connor Ripley.
Despite their dominant start to the game, United could have found themselves behind if not for some smart goalkeeping from Anyon. The Scunthorpe stopper got down well to parry away a Freddie Ladapo shot, who’d done well initially to wriggle free of his marker.
Four minutes before the break, Lapado did get his goal, as he finished well into the bottom corner of the goal.
Right on the stroke of half-time, the lead was doubled. It was Lapado’s strike partner Lee Erwin who got it, with a right footed finish past Anyon into the far corner of the goal. With that, referee Darren England blew to signal the end of the opening period.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks after the restart, and Madden did his best to reduce the arrears with a downward header which was well held by Ripley.
Ripley was then drawn into another save on the hour mark, as he clung onto a dipping drive by Mantom from distance.
Oldham could have been out of sight if Anyon hadn’t have pulled off a fine save from point blank range to deny Ryan Flynn, whose low shot stung the palms of the United stopper.
The introduction of Dutchman Kevin van Veen seemed to have a positive impact on the away side, but still the Latics’ backline held out against a wave of Iron pressure.
Fellow substitute Duane Holmes looked to have picked his way through that resolute defence, but his poked effort rebounded off the back of a home defender and away from danger - much to the American’s frustration.
Flynn, who tested Anyon with a shot earlier on in the half, managed to beat the Iron ‘keeper with ten minutes left to play. However, his shot beat the crossbar too, as it ended up in the stand behind the goal.
Alexander’s men huffed and puffed in the closing stages, but they couldn’t break the home side down, on what only can be described as a frustrating night for the Iron.
Oldham Athletic: Ripley, Reckord, Burgess, Flynn, Winchester (Klok, 70), Lapado, Dummigan, Erwin (McKay, 82), Fane, Clarke, Green.
Substitutes not used: Kettings, Wilson, Banks, Osei, Jahraldo.
Scunthorpe United: Anyon, Wiseman, Wallace, Mirfin, Dawson, Madden, Morris, Bishop (Ness, 75), Hopper (Holmes, 65), Mantom (van Veen, 60), Townsend.
Substitutes not used: Kelsey, Smallwood, Goode, Sutton.
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