The Iron’s Under-23s completed their pre-season campaign with a slender 2-1 defeat to North Ferriby at the Dransfield Stadium on Monday evening.
Yasin Ben El-Mhanni gave United an early lead in the encounter, only for two goals in the second half from the hosts seeing them claim victory.
Russ Wilcox’s men commenced the encounter with his Under-23s side supplemented by academy forward Harry Jessop in the starting XI with six further academy players on the bench.
The hosts got the game underway on a warm evening, with the Iron opting to switch ends and attack away from the sun in the opening 45 minutes.
The opening exchanges began quite cagey, but it was the Scunthorpe who had the first attempt inside five minutes. Tom Pugh chased a ball over the top by Mason O’Malley down the left to win a throw. From the resultant ball back into play, Reon Potts picked up the ball on the left angle and fired an effort over the bar.
On seven minutes, it was Potts denied once more with Charlie Barks pinpointing a cross-field ball to Ben El-Mhanni who checked the ball back from the left-wing to the Iron striker. He saw his effort blocked. Meanwhile, in the next phase of play, Omar Sanyang picked up possession and found Harry Jessop. He checked onto his left foot before seeing his 20-yard effort also blocked.
Scunthorpe broke the deadlock on ten minutes with a well-worked finish from Ben El-Mhanni. The ball was played into the final third with Potts holding up well, waiting for support. He then played square to Hornshaw before finding Ben El-Mhanni on the overlap on the left. The Moroccan took a neat first touch before cutting onto his right foot, striking low across goal, finding the far corner of the net from the left edge of the penalty area.
A chance to double the lead presented itself three minutes later. Sanyang was fouled on half-way, but United retained possession. Play was spread left to Ben El-Mhanni who played inside for Jessop before O’Malley made the overlapping run. Jessop would receive the return ball inside the area before his close range effort was blocked. The pressure continued soon after, with Pugh spraying possession wide to Ben El-Mhanni who drove at his full-back, again cutting onto his right foot and this time seeing his effort fly over the bar.
On 23 minutes, North Ferriby had their first chance of the half following the awarding of a free-kick to the hosts on the left side. The cross, a right-footed in-swinger, found one of the home central defenders running in, with his header powering just wide of the post.
Four minutes later Sanyang thought he was clean through as he surged past the final defender following a good through ball, only for the home ‘keeper to be alert to the danger to provide a brilliant sliding challenge to deny him.
Just one minute later, North Ferriby had their best spell of the game as they counter-attacked down the right before a low shot was driven in towards goal, requiring Adam Kelsey to get down smartly to his right to push the effort away. O’Malley got in the way of an immediate rebound to block before the third shot was straight down the throat of the Iron shot stopper, still requiring a smart save as the ball came through the bodies.
The Iron were back on the attack in the 29th minute though, with a smart interchange between Potts and Sanyang down the right resulting in a low cross searching for Jessop. That cross was turned behind for a corner, with O’Malley’s set-piece just a little too high for Jo Cummings who was making a run towards the back post.
On 32 minutes, Scunthorpe won their latest corner following a quick free-kick by Rowe to Charlie Barks. Sanyang was the next recipient of the ball, driving towards goal and seeing his left-footed 25-yard effort deflected behind for a corner on the left. Ben El-Mhanni whipped in the latest cross, with Barks peeling away at the back post to send a right-footed volley wide of the target.
Sanyang won a free-kick on the right moments later following good persistence, with O’Malley whipping a brilliant ball into the danger area, requiring the ‘keeper to punch clear under pressure, with Jessop challenging for the ball inside the six-yard box.
Seven minutes before the interval, North Ferriby won a corner on the right side with the cross whipped into the danger area, requiring Kelsey to punch clear from two yards out under pressure from two home forwards. United were then made to defend a free-kick which was dinked into the box. A header down was met by another home player on the edge of the box, but he hooked his effort over the bar.
On 43 minutes, Barks was forced into some good defending as he was on hand to block a left-footed volley from the Ferriby left-back following a deep cross on the right side. The hosts won back possession with the next goal bound effort, also blocked by Barks, seeing handball claims turned down before the Iron came away with possession.
On the stroke of half-time, Scunthorpe threatened to add a second when Barks found Ben El-Mhanni on the left with a good ball. He took on his man before finding Jessop inside the effort with his low drive denied by a sliding intervention from a central defender before being claimed by the ‘keeper.
The Iron made two alterations at the interval with Barks making way for fellow scholar Harry Baker, while Jessop was replaced by Trialist A.
On 48 minutes, the first chance of the second half fell to the visitors following the awarding of a soft free-kick 35-yards from goal. The taker opted to shoot, dragging his powerful, low effort wide of the target.
Two minutes later, neat play from the hosts see a move from the right go into the box with the follow-up played out to the edge of the box. The shot from the edge of the box was blocked before the Iron cleared.
Ten minutes later, substitute Baker almost doubled the Iron’s advantage, threatening to catch out the home ‘keeper with a powerful cross from the right which spun towards goal. The move had began with a wide ball to the left to Ben El-Mhanni before he drove across the pitch and spread the play to the right. The effort from Baker required palming over the bar for a corner. Ben El-Mhanni’s corner came into the danger area and looked to have been headed clear for another corner, only for a goal kick to be given.
That decision proved costly just one minute later as the hosts equalised. A good reverse pass saw the home forward break the offside trap. His low effort across goal was smartly saved before the rebound was put in despite the best efforts of O’Malley.
The Iron responded by going forward once more, with Ben El-Mhanni driving at his marker before playing the killer ball through to Pugh. In a race between the United midfielder and the home ‘keeper, it was the man wearing the North Ferriby shirt who came out with the ball.
The hosts then took the lead in the 68th minute as a Ferriby midfielder charged down a clearance before drilling a 20-yard effort across goal which required a smart save from Kelsey, only for the rebound to be once again smashed into an unguarded net from close range.
Scunthorpe made two further substitutions in the 69th minute with Raynner Silva and Joey Dawson replacing Ben El-Mhanni and George Hornshaw respectively.
The next ten minutes following the goal and subsequent substitutions would see the game become scrappy before the hosts almost doubled their lead in the 80th minute. The ball was worked well down the North Ferriby left side before the inviting cross was turned over his own crossbar for a corner by O’Malley. From the resultant corner, the ball was cleared and put back to the right channel where a second inviting ball was headed over the bar from close range.
A chance for the Iron to equalise presented itself with eight minutes left on the clock when O’Malley shaped to shoot, instead finding Silva. He’d play Pugh 25-yards from goal, who took one touch before curling his effort narrowly wide of the post with the ‘keeper routed to the spot.
Trialist A had an effort to equalise in the 85th minute following a half-cleared corner, but his rasping volley from 25-yards surged over the bar and out for a goal kick.
That proved to be the last chance for the Iron to snatch a draw in the encounter, as the hosts held on for a 2-1 victory.
IRON: Kelsey, Rowe, O’Malley, Hornshaw (Dawson, 69), Cummings, Barks (Baker, 45), Sanyang, Pugh, Potts, Jessop (Trialist A, 45), Ben El-Mhanni (Silva, 69).
IRON UNUSED SUBS: Collins, Chadli, Shrimpton.