Scunthorpe were eliminated from the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday evening to extend their losing run to six matches in all competitions.
Winger Mark Duffy gave United an 11th minute lead but goals from Enoch Showunmi and Carl Regan ended the United’s hopes of success in the competition.
The Iron made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 away at Hartlepool on Saturday with Robbie Gibbons coming in for the suspended Josh Walker, Jimmy Ryan dropping to the bench in place of Jordan Keegan and Connor Jennings replacing Andy Barcham while David Prutton retained a starting slot in midfield to make his home debut.
County enjoyed away success against Bury at the weekend and began with an understrength side as Julian Kelly, Neal Bishop, Alan Judge, Jeff Hughes and Lee Hughes all dropped out of the squad completely and were replaced in the starting line up by Carl Regan, Joss Labadie, Hamza Bencherif, Yoann Arquin and Enoch Showunmi.
The game got off to a cagey start with very few chances but Scunthorpe were looking lively in the opening few minutes and eventually took an early lead.
Good work from Keegan saw the ball find its way to Mike Grella and his infield pass was hammered low into the net by Duffy, who scored his second cup goal of the season to put United a goal to the good.
Just moments later, the Iron could have extended their advantage as Keegan’s throughball down the line found Tom Newey who crossed into the danger zone but Jennings’ acrobatic effort was comfortable for Magpies stopper Bartosz Bialkowski.
The visitors were struggling to assert themselves into the game but did create an opportunity 10 minutes later when Showunmi’s wide ball was picked up by former Carlisle forward Francois Zoko and he struck a fierce drive towards goal that whizzed just wide following a faint touch from Iron defender Christian Ribeiro.
Keith Curle’s men then went close once more as Niall Canavan could only head Carl Regan’s cross as far as Joss Labadie who hit a 25-yard effort that sailed just past Sam Slocombe’s left hand post.
Alan Sheehan was proving to be a useful asset for the away side and five minutes before half-time, his deep cross found Arquin who darted infield to unleash a powerful effort that flew just over.
Then just seconds later, County grabbed an equaliser.
Arquin laid the ball off to Labadie whose long range attempt was tipped over by Slocombe for a corner and the resulting flag kick caused havoc in the United penalty area before Showunmi marked his first start for his new club with a goal after he headed the ball into the back of the net from deep inside the six-yard box.
The tide had very much turned as half-time approached and the Iron could have no complaints with the Magpies’ reply following several minutes of relentless pressure but that is the way things stayed at the break as referee Scott Duncan blew to signal the end of the first half.
In similar fashion to the opening period, the second half got off to a quiet start before Scunthorpe almost retook the lead in the 54th minute.
Slocombe’s early ball sent Duffy motoring down the wing and he centered for Grella but his effort was scrambled away from danger before County then went ahead for the first time in the match.
A diagonal pass found right-back Carl Regan who galloped menacingly towards goal before calmly slotting past Slocombe to put his side 2-1 up.
That setback seemed to drain the confidence from United but manager Alan Knill looked to re-energise his side midway through the second half as Keegan and goal scorer Duffy were switched for Ryan and Barcham.
And it was the two substitutes who combined to almost help the Iron score an equalising goal.
Barcham raced into the opposition half and sprayed the ball wide to Ryan who found Ribeiro down the right flank but his driven cross was tipped behind for a corner by Bialkowski with Grella ready to pounce.
Scunthorpe were then unlucky not to score moments later as Barcham played a weighted pass towards Grella but the American striker saw his side footed attempt trickle just wide.
The Iron were beginning to pile on the pressure and it was Ireland U21 international defender Niall Canavan who was next to go close as he headed David Prutton’s corner inches over the crossbar as the game appeared to be getting away from United.
The Magpies then went within a Sam Slocombe fingertip of scoring a third as Zoko’s energetic run saw the ball find Arquin but his low shot was saved superbly by United’s number one.
2-1 is how the score line stayed as Scunthorpe exited the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the first stage and will now refocus on league affairs at home to Sheffield United on Saturday.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Ribeiro, Mirfin, Canavan, Newey, Duffy (Ryan, 68), Gibbons (Hughes, 85), Prutton, Keegan (Barcham, 68), Grella, Jennings
Substitutes not used: Severn, Howe.
Notts County: Bialkowski, Regan, Liddle, Leacock, Sheehan, Boucaud, Labadie (Dixon, 90),Arquin, Bencherif, Zoko (Wholey,90), Showunmi
Substitutes not used: Speiss, Nangle, Waite.
Attendance: 1,153 (152 away).