Scunthorpe United finished comfortable 4-1 winners at Westfield Lane against opponents Frickley Athletic.It was a game that saw several youngsters and trialists given the chance to impress. Frickley were well organised for a good period of the game – the two sides going in level at half time but the Iron’s quality told in the second half where the damage was done.
Frickley started brightly - they were the first to create an opening after pinball in the midfield for the opening few minutes as both sides tried to settle into the game. Korey Dyer-Stewart broke clear, latching onto a ball from midfield after Luke Waterfall stumbled but his side-footed effort slipped narrowly wide with James Severn beaten.
Scunthorpe’s response was swift, after a good spell in possession resulted in a throw in well inside the Frickley half. Ribeiro whipped a pinpoint cross in from deep and trialist Deon Burton nodded past Woodhead to make it 1-0 to the Iron in the sixth minute.
With their next attack, Scunthorpe nearly extended their lead. Youngster Curtis Bateson used his pace to find space in midfield down the Iron right and after seeing the Frickley ‘keeper off his line he tried to place a shot into the top corner from some way out with a clever effort on the spin. Woodhead was alert, however, feathering Bateson’s effort round the post to safety at full stretch.
After quarter of an hour with little action of note at either end, the sides broke for a drinks break on what was another warm evening. Scunthorpe managed an effort through Bateson who twisted and turned in the Frickley box, but his effort was comfortably within reach of Woodhead and the stopper smothered.
Frickley were the side that seized the initiative after the drinks break and following a good sequence of passes they drew level in the 23rd minute through Joe Fox. The midfielder struck past Severn from the edge of the six-yard box after good work from Gavin Allott to square a ball across.
Neither side could say with any confidence that they were in control of the game and the Iron were next to get a sight of goal. Bateson, who’d already looked sprightly in possession, jinked past Frickley left-back Joe Wilcox and slid a ball across the face of goal. Fagan was nearest to getting on the end of it but the striker couldn’t quite get close enough on the slide after two Frickley defenders failed to deal with the danger.
Both sides continued to be stuck battling in the middle third of the pitch during the final few minutes of the first half, though Scunthorpe did have a good chance to go 2-1 up just before the break after Burton dinked a ball over the top to send Bateson clean through. The tricky winger, who’d been the Iron’s bright spark on the night so far, saw his effort well saved down low to his left by Woodhead in the Frickley goal.
Scunthorpe made three changes at half time with trialists Craig Beattie and Sam Winnall entering the action alongside young midfielder Levi Sutton.
The Iron sparked into life after the break. Craig Beattie hit an effort at Woodhead after being put through on goal and shortly afterwards trialist front-man Sam Winnall, who was last at Wolves, put Scunthorpe ahead, smashing home from an acute angle on 47 minutes.
Minutes later Winnall was again in action with a snapshot that rattled the post after Adelakun had squeezed his way into the box between two Frickley defenders.
The next ten minutes were all Scunthorpe and Winnall was once more at the heart of another Iron attack. The 22-year-old broke clear down the left flank, outrunning the chasing Frickley defenders after good linkup with Beattie. He looked up and picked out Adelakun breaking into the box late and squared leaving Hakeeb with time and space to slot home, making it 3-1 with half an hour left to play.
The game had slowed down in pace with Frickley tiring and Scunthorpe in a comfortable lead though Frickley were the ones who were busier at the back. Trialist Craig Beattie was causing the Frickley defence all kinds of problems with his ability to find, and willingness to run into space. The former West Brom and Celtic man bustled past three Frickley men but struck straight at Woodhead after a good run down the left flank.
Beattie again threatened with just over a quarter of an hour to go. He beat his man inside the box but his shot was high over the bar. Soon afterwards he dropped into a pocket of space in front of Frickley’s defence, turned, but again missed his chance to net after good work – firing straight at Woodhead with the outside of his boot.
He did get himself a well-earned name check on the score sheet with 76 minutes played after working another opportunity for himself. Running clear on goal he outfoxed the keeper, calmly rounding him to tap in the Iron’s fourth from a few yards out.
With under ten minutes remaining Scunthorpe were in almost complete control of possession and were having the majority of the chances. Frickley did sting the palms of Severn, shortly before he was replaced by Pat Weaver, through a Danny Redfearn effort from a tight angle but the Iron saw the game out comfortably.
Frickley Athletic: Woodhead, Gardner, Wilcox, Picton, Gray, Griffiths, Ghaichen, Bloor, Dyer-Stewart, Allott, Fox. (3 substitutions at half-time) (3 substitutions on 56 minutes) (1 substitution on 68 minutes)
Substitutes: Jeffs, Hinsley, Yates, Barnett, Villerman, Redfearn, Oniama, O’Reilly
Scunthorpe United: Severn (Weaver), Ribeiro (Cowling, 81), Waterfall, Howe (Hare, 81), Grayson, Hogg (Sutton, 45), Bateson, Hornsey (Beresford, 69), Fagan (Beattie, 45), Burton (Winnall, 45), Adelakun (K. Wooton, 77).