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Match Reports


26 February 2013

United returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Stevenage at Glanford Park on Tuesday night.

Mark Duffy's goal midway through the second half was enough to earn United their first win in three game.

Duffy - a product of the Liverpool academy - wrapped his left foot around the ball 25 yards out nestled in Chris Day's right-hand post after squeezing through a crowded box.

Karl Hawley produced a cross field ball after escaping two defenders, which was collected by Duffy - who was playing in a wider role following the introduction of James Alabi - who cut in from the right before keeping his composure to fire United into the lead.

United had the better of the opening exchanges almost opened the scoring midway through the first half when Andy Barcham - who replaced the injured Akpo Sodje in the starting line-up - freed Mark Duffy down the left wing.

The former Morecambe midfielder, who was playing in the unfamiliar role behind the lone striker Karl Hawley, found himself one-on-one with Chris Day. However, the Stevenage goalkeeper saved well to ensure the scores stayed level.

Former Boro midfielder, Josh Walker could have opened the scoring after five minutes but his swerving shot from just outside the area was comfortably saved by the Stevenage shot-stopper.   

Jimmy Ryan had several chances to find the back of the net in quick succession, his first was pushed away by Day and his second nestled in the unused seats which were allocated to the visiting supporters.

The visitors only threatened Sam Slocombe's goal twice during the first half. United centre-half David Mirfin was caught in possession and Robin Shroot almost capitalised on his error. However, his unconvincing shot was straight at the Iron 'keeper.

With just over 10 minutes left of the first period Lucas Akins forced Slocombe into his only save of the match. The Stevenage winger's fierce shot stung Slocombe's hands, forcing him to parry the ball but he recovered to claim the ball before Ben Chorley pounced.

The home side started the second half the same way they started the first. On the front foot. Barcham saw his scuffed effort creep just wide of Day's far post after a great build up, orchestrated by captain Michael Collins.

On 53 minutes, Karl Hawley had the ball in the back of the net, however, the assistant referee ruled it out for offside.

Within minutes of United being denied the lead Eddie Nolan failed to capitalise on a free near-post header he had, after being picked out by Mark Duffy.

United were denied a penalty on the hour when Barcham's header from a Nolan cross struck right-back David Gray. The United winger and captain Collins were adamant it came off the defender's arm. However, Graham Salisbury thought otherwise.

After Nolan  had earlier missed a glorious chance to open the scoring, fellow defender Tom Newey tried his luck from eight yards, but his flicked header skimmed off of the crossbar.

The United defence was only called into action once during the second half. Freeman found himself with acres of space down the left wing sent in an early cross intended for Haber, but Canavan who has been ever present in Brian Laws' side this season, cleared the ball with ease despite little pressure from the Boro attack.

With just over 10 minutes of the game remaining Ryan almost sealed victory, but he was denied by the Stevenage shot-stopper. The Iron winger cut in from the left before firing a low drive which was pushed around the post by an uncomfortable Day.

Duffy came within whiskers of putting the icing on the cake during the closing stages. A fantastic team move down the left wing saw Ryan cross the ball from the dead-ball line. That found Duffy lurking at the back post and his shot - which he hit into the ground - was headed behind by Gray.

Stevenage threatened an equaliser during stoppage time after Eddie Nolan brought down Luke Freeman on the edge of the area. Boro captain Mark Roberts took the resulting free kick which was deflected off Canavan but his fellow defensive partner Mirfin headed the ball clear before Ryan lofted the ball out of play.

The win for United meant they moved up one place in League One and above Oldham Athletic who lost in their FA Cup Fifth Round replay to Everton.

Scunthorpe United:
Slocombe, Nolan, Newey, Mirfin, Canavan, Barcham, Ryan, Collins, Walker (Alabi, 62), Duffy, Hawley.
Substitutes not used: Severn, Ribeiro, Grella, Jennings, Wootton, Adelakun.

Stevenage: Day, Gray, Charles, Dunne, Akins (Tansey, 77), Roberts, Freeman, Mahon, Beleck (Haber, 59), Shroot (Hoskins, 62), Chorley.
Substitutes not used: Arnold, Grant, Iro, Comminges.

Attendance: 2,382 (44 away).

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