Scunthorpe picked up their second point of 2013 against a resilient Shrewsbury Town on Saturday afternoon.
The Iron had much the better of the game’s chances but failed to break through a spirited defensive display from the away side.
United made one change to the side that drew against Oldham Athletic on New Year’s Day with loan striker Nathan Ellington replacing Andy Barcham in the starting line up as manager Brian Laws
opted to adjust to a 4-4-2 formation whilst defender David Mirfin was deemed fit enough to be named on the bench for his first involvement with the side since the FA Cup loss at Gillingham two months ago.
The visitors also made one switch as Aaron Wildig was replaced in midfield by Asa Hall after the former failed to recover from a knock picked up during the Shrews away victory at Coventry four days ago which incidentally was also the club’s maiden away win of the season.
The first chance of the game came after five minutes when Michael Collins’ delicate ball into the box was controlled by Jimmy Ryan but the winger couldn’t inflict enough power into his shot at goal as Shrews ‘keeper Chris Weale made an easy save.
Scunthorpe had the better of the early play despite not being able to muster up any meaningful attempts on target though a menacing run by Ellington down the left flank midway through the opening period resulted in the front man flashing a low centre across the box that Karl Hawley just failed to divert goal bound.
Minutes later Shrewsbury then had their first real chance of the match as a slip from Tom Newey allowed Jon Taylor space to cross into the United penalty area and forward Luke Rodgers was inches away from nodding the ball towards Sam Slocombe’s goal.
Scunthorpe forced Chris Weale into action soon after as a short free kick was thumped towards goal by Ellington which the Shrews’ glove man parried away to safety before a neat bit of individual play by Mark Duffy ended with the wingerstriking a right footed effort that whizzed a few yards wide of the post
The Iron then made an enforced substitution as Damien Mozika received a knock in the centre of the park and was replaced by Andy Barcham as the clock ticked down towards the end of the first half.
United were first to threat in the second period as Collins cut infield and set up Barcham on the edge of the penalty area but the substitute could only strike the ball down the throat of the visiting goalkeeper.
Brian Laws’ then came within a whisker of scoring the opening goal of the game as Hawley found space 25 yards out and struck a fierce drive that went agonisingly wide of the post as Scunthorpe began the half the better of the two teams.
And the Iron went close once more just moments later as Ryan hit a long range effort at goal that Weale saved smartly down to his left following neat hold up play by Hawley.
With the home side firmly on top in the game, Collins was the next man to try his luck as the midfielder played a one-two with Duffy before hitting a left footed effort straight at the goalkeeper before a teasing Tom Newey cross was narrowly missed by Hawley deep inside the box.
It was then Newey who had a go as Weale just managed to tip his header over the crossbar following a Duffy corner as the game turned into a very one sided affair.
However, there was very nearly a moment of calamity for Canavan mistimed his backpass to Slocombe, however the centre-back got back quick enough to poke the ball away from Morgan, who would have had an empty net to put the ball in.
On 82 minutes, Ryan shot just wide from the edge of the area after Hawley's lay-off found him.
In a nervy, and lively final ten minutes, Slocombe made a great quick reactionary top to keep out Jon Taylor's close range effort from a corner.
There were three minutes of stoppage time but despite United besieging the Shrews goal, they couldn't find that elusive winner.
Indeed, it was the visiting team who came closest to netting it in the final minute of stoppage time as Taylor's stinging drive from long distance was saved by Slocombe, diving full length to tip away.
Then, right at the death, Grella had Scunthorpe's best chance as his drive trickled across goal and out of other players' reach to safety and the final whistle was blown immediately after.
Brian Laws' side are next in action on Saturday when they visit Colchester.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Ribeiro, Reid, Canavan, Newey, Ryan, Mozika (Barcham, 40) , Collins, Duffy, Hawley, Ellington (Grella, 76)
Substitutes not used: Severn, Kennedy, Gibbons, Mirfin, Godden.
Shrewsbury Town: Weale, Goldson, Jones, Grandison, Jacobson, Taylor, Hall (McGinn, 65), Richards ,Purdie, Rodgers (Bradshaw, 72), Morgan
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Parry, Wildig, Woods, Gayle.
Attendance: 3,044 (271 away).
Sponsors' man of the match: Jimmy Ryan.
Iron Bar man of the match: Niall Canavan.