The Iron wrapped up pre-season with a slender 1-0 defeat against local rivals Lincoln at Glanford Park on Saturday.
Scott Wharton scored the only goal of the game for the visitors in a match that saw new signing Cameron Borthwick-Jackson start for Scunthorpe.
It was the away side that got the game underway but it was United who started bright. Intricate play between Andy Dales and Olufela Olomola on the edge of the area inside the first minute allowed the latter to drive into the box before his cutback on the byline was hooked away for a corner.
Scunthorpe continued to pressure the visitors in the early exchanges and forced Josh Vickers in the Lincoln goal to make the first save of the day after five minutes. Stephen Humphrys received the ball on the right-hand side of the box, rolled it out of his feet before he unleashed a shot that was well held by the keeper.
The Iron then almost took the lead after 13 minutes when Kyle Wootton curled an effort inches past the post with his left foot after he cut in on the right-hand side of the area.
Lincoln then looked to mount an attack of their own. First a left-footed shot from Shay McCartan went just wide of the goal after Harry Toffolo won possession of the ball on the halfway line. Minutes later, the imps won a corner that was put into a dangerous area in the six-yard-box but the Iron defence held strong to clear.
The visitors were nearly ahead in the 27th minute when a cross from the left flank was aimed towards Scott Wharton in the area who rose highest to meet the ball before he saw his header drop just wide of the target.
Moments later, A free-kick in the centre of the pitch was quickly taken and slid through to Matt Green who hammered his shot against the post but a fantastic point-blank save from Watson on the rebound denied the Imps a goal.
Despite a whole host of chances in the first 45 minutes, neither side could break the deadlock going into half-time.
Shortly after the restart, the Iron had their best opportunity of the game. A brilliant searching through ball over the top from Borthwick-Jackson found the run of Humphrys in the middle but as he closed in on goal, his shot struck the outside of the right post and bounced away.
Lincoln looked dangerous from set pieces all game. A free-kick on the edge of the box in the 68th minute was curled towards goal by McCartan but his effort flew over the bar.
However, it was United who could have gone ahead with one of their own. Humphrys got on the end of a Levi Sutton free-kick to head it back across goal towards Cameron Burgess but the defender’s headed effort on goal was saved by Vickers.
In the 80th minute, the visitors went 1-0 up. A half cleared free-kick came out to Michael O’Connor on the edge of the area who fired in a shot that was deflected behind for a corner. The ball was floated into the box and headed home into the bottom left by Wharton to put the imps in front.
The remaining ten minutes saw the Iron search for an equaliser. Borthwich-Jackson whipped a dangerous cross into the area from the left flank. Luke Waterfall sliced his clearance which nearly ended up in the back of his own net but the imps held on for the win.
The Iron get their league campaign underway next Saturday as they face Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena.
Iron: Watson, Clarke (Trialist A, 76) , Borthwick-Jackson, Humphrys, Dales (Lewis, 76), Goode, Burgess, Sutton, Olomola (Pugh, 85), Hornshaw, Wootton.
Substitutes not used: Flatt, Butroid, Harrison.
Lincoln City: Vickers, Eardley, Toffolo, Wilson (O’Connor, 64), Waterfall, Wharton, Chapman (Anderson, 64), Frecklington (Andrade, 71), McCartan (Pett, 71), Akinde (Rhead, 71), Green.
Substitutes not used: White, Luque, Horton, O’Hare.