The Iron’s Under-18’s side hosted Rotherham Under-18’s in the Youth Alliance Cup on Friday afternoon and emerged as 1-0 victors. This made it back-to-back wins for Scunthorpe against the Millers, after they defeated them 4-1 in the league last time out.
The result catapulted Scunthorpe to the top of the table in their group as they made it two wins out of two so far in the competition, with Tom Pugh scoring the winner in the 52nd minute.
It was an excellent team display from the Iron which saw them defend brilliantly to keep the visitors at bay for 90 minutes, while showing great game management to see out the 1-0 victory.
However, the first 45 minutes saw a tightly contested encounter, with neither team able to break the deadlock going into the half-time interval, despite multiple efforts by the Iron to find a way past the Rotherham ‘keeper.
Scunthorpe started brightly and had the first opportunity of the game just two minutes in. A well worked corner routine found Harry Jessop in the area, who spun past his marker, but couldn’t quite find the target with his shot.
A minute later, Miracle Okafor grabbed possession in the attacking half before he ran and shot from 18-yards, however, the ‘keeper managed to get down well to save from the striker.
In the tenth minute, the visitors had their first chance of the game when a long ball over the top of the defence searched for the forward, but a great piece of covering defending allowed Scunthorpe to get back and clear the danger.
It was a real end-to-end match as the clock ticked past the quarter of an hour mark. The Iron were then on the attack again soon after, when Cameron Morfoot was picked out from a set-piece, but the defender couldn’t guide his volley towards goal, as he fired over the top of the crossbar.
Again, Scunthorpe searched for an opening, but the Rotherham stopper denied them from taking the lead in the 18th minute when he tipped the ball behind superbly following a shot on goal by Okafor after a scramble in the box.
Okafor then looked to provide the breakthrough again, but the ‘keeper managed to close the angle well, before he blocked his effort on goal. Sam Riches in the Scunthorpe goal then played a wonderful throughball over the top to Jessop, who controlled it well, but fired over the bar.
Just before the half-time whistle, Rotherham had a few decent chances of their own. First, a quick counter led to a cross which found the centre-forward in the area, but he couldn’t keep his header down. Then, a great piece of last ditch defending denied the visitors from taking the lead when a lobbed effort looped over Riches. However, Charlie Barks sprinted back to divert the ball off the line.
As the team’s emerged for the second half, the Iron started on the front foot once again and were rewarded in the 52nd minute when Pugh fired them ahead. The midfielder latched onto the ball in the centre of the park, before he drove through to the edge of the box, skipping the defender’s challenge and unleashed a shot that flew into the top left corner of the goal.
The Iron continued to dominate proceedings after taking the lead and played some great football. Morfoot had a chance to double the advantage only a few minutes later when the ball was only cleared as far as him on the outside of the area, but he shot just wide of the target.
Rotherham looked for a way back into the game and threatened with a long ball forward on the 71st minute, but more solid and resolute defending from Scunthorpe stopped them from creating a clear goal scoring opportunity.
The away side threw everything they could at the young Iron, however they continued to hold firm until the final whistle and held out for the 1-0 victory to make it two wins in a row in the cup and top the group standings.
Iron: Riches, Baker, Morfoot, Pugh, Barks, Harrison (Chadli, 62), L. Gallimore (Shrimpton, 69), Collins, Jessop, Okafor, Silva.
Substitutes not used: T. Collins.