Scunthorpe United worked intensely hard to claim all three points against Warrington Town with the game won thanks to a Callum Roberts close range finish in what was his first goal for the club.
The Iron came into the National League North encounter against the Yellows with hopes of extending their home winning run to seven victories in a row in all competitions. The visitors came to Glanford Park sitting 11th in the standings, as manager Mark Beesley’s men had experienced a stellar start to life in the sixth tier.
Following Tuesday night’s hard-fought 1-0 triumph over Southport, Jimmy Dean made one change to his sides starting XI. Right-back Ross Barrows was seen leaving Glanford Park on crutches after sustaining a foot injury in midweek, he dropped out of the side to be replaced by Will Evans who returned to the squad after serving his one-match suspension after accumulating five yellow cards. With the Iron finding themselves light on reinforcements at right-back through injuries, midweek matchwinner Max Kouogun was pushed out wide in a decision that saw Evans partner Andrew Boyce in the centre of defence.
The travelling side got the game underway and came immediately out the blocks with a swift counterattacking move. Winger Connor Woods capitalised on a stray Scunthorpe pass and was able to drive at the defence, he unleashed a stinging effort from range that was comfortably caught by Ross Fitzsimons in the United goal.
The Iron took this as an early warning side an made an immediate attempt to create an opportunity of their own. Makeshift right back Kouogun strode down the right flank in excellent fashion before laying the ball inside to Jason Law. Law was bundled to the floor before he could fire a shot away and Danny Whitehall’s strike that followed appeared to have been deflected away from goal by an outstretched Warrington arm. Appeals rang out around Glanford Park only for referee Alex Sawden to dismiss the cries.
Following their fortune, Warrington resumed their impressive start to the tie, and came immensely close to taking the lead following some expert build-up play. Woods again threatened with trickery down the right-hand side and sent a hard, low driven cross across the face of goal that was seemingly flying toward the net, only for Fitzsimons to acrobatically deny captain Josh Amis in sensational fashion to keep the scores level.
With Scunthorpe’s lacklustre first half display continuing, the Yellows were unable to take advantage of whatever chances they could conjure. Warrington were an extended boot away from rueing their untaken chances as after some marvellous footwork from Kian Scales to escape the clutches of his marker, he repeated Woods’ efforts by firing a cross across the box that beat Warrington goalkeeper Dan Atherton that merely avoided the boot of Law.
This opportunity would be the last notable moment of the half as Sawden blew his whistle to summon the period’s end.
With the teams back out, the Iron were left with plenty to do and improve on given their performance up to that point. Dean’s team talk during the break seemed to have inspired his players as they looked to have received a new lease of life.
Kouogun was substituted at half-time for creative winger Roberts. He immediately stamped his mark onto the fixture by handing Iron the lead from point blank range. Maestro Jacob Butterfield picked up the ball in a dangerous area and struck a fabulous effort towards Atherton who tipped the ball onto the crossbar, although his heroics were short-lived as it fell kindly to Roberts who headed the ball home for his first goal in claret and blue.
Now with the advantage, Scunthorpe went up an extra gear, running the Warrington players ragged all over the pitch. Roberts now appeared to be resounding in confidence and on two separate occasions came close to doubling his account from a free-kick 25-yards from goal that dipped just wide of the upright, and an effort from distance that left Atherton untroubled but rooted to the spot as the ball wrapped around his far post.
Now in complete control, the Iron’s hunt for a second goal seemed only a matter of time before being discovered. Some neat and tidy approach play from United was seemingly stopped in its tracks by experienced centre-back Peter Clarke, however the ball fell kindly to Law who’s low curling effort forced a smart stop by Atherton down to his left.
With the game still relatively hanging within the balance Warrington now decided to push on in search for an equaliser. The ball was kindly teed up for the troublesome Woods who was already wheeling away in celebration only to be left despaired thanks to a stunning theatrical save from Fitzsimons to turn the ball away for a corner.
The games closing exchanges were those of desperation for the visiting Yellows as they threw everything at the United backline but were unable to find a leveller as the fixture came to a close.
Another crucial win for the Iron who were forced to fight right up until the encounter’s death by an impressive Warrington side.
IRON: Fitzsimons, Kouogun (Roberts, 45), Evans, Boyce, Clunan, Butterfield (Elliott, 83), Scales, Smith (Shrimpton, 74), Law, Denton, Whitehall.
IRON UNUSED SUBS: Wilson, Jenkins.