The Iron defeated Walsall 1-0 at the Sands Venue Stadium earlier this evening, thus picking up their first three points of the calendar year in the process.
Jai Rowe’s first half strike was enough to separate the two sides, with Keith Hill’s men also playing the majority of the second half with ten men, after Tom Pugh was dismissed on 53 minutes.
Within four minutes, Walsall carved open their first chance of the game, as a loose pass was seized upon by Joss Labadie, forcing Rory Watson to save well.
Seconds later it was the visitors who came again, with Manchester United loanee Reece Devine’s low drive pushed away from danger by Watson.
Scunthorpe then responded soon after, with Jai Rowe’s cross initially cleared well by the Saddlers defence, as Anthony Grant collected the loose ball only to fire wide of the mark.
Tyrese Shade sprung in behind on 15 minutes and with the goal seemingly gaping, Watson again denied Matthew Taylor’s side the lead, narrowing the angle well to deny the 21-year-old with his legs.
Liam Kinsella subsequently picked up the scraps, before the Scunthorpe number one was once more called into action, with the ball ricocheting into his arms following the midfielder’s low cross.
George Miller was the next Saddlers man to come close as he smartly broke the offside trap. With Watson attempting to pressure the former Scunthorpe loanee, Miller rounded his one-time teammate before blasting his effort into the home end.
Shade then broke the offside cleverly to get beyond Manny Onariase on 31 minutes, before the Scunthorpe number six raced back to make a superb last ditch tackle preventing any further danger.
Despite the away side’s early pressure, it was United who took the lead. Ross Millen’s right footed free-kick cannoned back off the post falling directly into the path of Jai Rowe, who in turn tapped home his first of the season.
Pugh then charged forward from left-back and after delivering a low cross that was failed to be cleared, Rowe’s deflected effort was turned away for a corner.
Liam Feeney rushed over to take the resulting set piece and with Onariase rising the highest, it took a fine save from Walsall keeper Carl Rushworth to deny Keith Hill’s men a second goal.
As the second half rolled into action, Miller was played through one on one, only for the ever busy Watson to once again clear any danger.
Pugh was then shown his second yellow card of the game on 52 minutes, after Hayden White had challenged him.
Conor Wilkinson was found unmarked in the area following a cross from Brendan Kiernan, only for Rowe to make a wonderful last ditch tackle to deny the Saddlers forward a strike at goal.
The Barnsley loanee Miller again troubled the Scunthorpe defence with 71 minutes gone, as he was found following a Walsall corner, only for his header to bounce back off the post and subsequently be scrambled away by the Iron defence.
Ross Millen defended bravely shortly after, sticking his head in where it hurts to fend off the away side’s advances.
With time ticking down the Iron defended like trojans heading into the final knockings off the game, as new addition Ryan Delaney time and time again used his experience to prevent any further Saddlers danger.
Anthony Grant was adjudged to have handled just outside the area with only minutes remaining, as Wilkinson stepped up only to fire the resulting free-kick over the crossbar.
Watson bravely collected a late Saddlers corner, and with the full time sounding shortly after, it was Hill’s men who hung for a vital three points at the Sands Venue Stadium.
Next up for United is an away trip to Swindon Town on Saturday afternoon (15:00 kick-off), as the Iron bid to make it two wins in four days.
IRON: Watson, Millen, Onariase, Delaney, Pugh, Sinclair (Gallimore, 56), Feeney, Grant, Rowe, Burns (Taft, 77), Pyke (Nuttall, 56).
IRON SUBS NOT USED: Collins, Jessop, Lewis, Matheson.
WALSALL: Rushworth, White, Labadie, Daniels, Monthe, Kinsella, Osadebe (Wilkinson, 59), Miller, Menayesse (Kiernan, 59), Shade, Devine.
WALSALL SUBS NOT USED: Jackson, Bates, Leak, Perry, Willock.