Sheffield Wednesday were the visitors at the first game back at Glanford Park for Scunthorpe this pre-season and ran out narrow winners.That was despite Scunthorpe having much of the meaningful possession throughout the match.
United started the game brightly. Terry Hawkridge, Andy Dawson, Matt Godden and trialist Craig Fagan combined in two slick passing moves inside the first ten minutes.
Hawkridge wriggled free on the left corner of the box. He beat Liam Palmer but his slide through-ball was read by a Wednesday man. The second move saw trialist Craig Fagan beat the offside trap after good work down the left. After checking back, his cross was again blocked by a Wednesday man – this time Llera read the danger.
The Iron built on this and managed their first shot on goal. Kirkland was equal to Godden’s drive from the edge of the box. The good start saw Scunthorpe build in confidence.
Sheffield Wednesday were a threat on the counter-attack, however. Jermaine Johnson, known for his running and quick feet was causing some concern when carrying the ball but as of the first quarter of an hour the visitors failed to muster any real attack of note.
In the 19th minute, though, Wednesday earned a corner. Rhys McCabe hung one up towards the back-side of the 6-yard box and Llera out-jumped his man. His header on goal deflected narrowly wide.
In response, Scunthorpe continued as they’d started the game, keeping the visitors on the back foot. Good play down the Iron right led to the ball bobbling free from a cross. Sparrow scuffed a volleyed effort and the ball fell to Sean McAllister after Llera headed clear. McAllister was brought down but Hawkridge’s free-kick right on the edge of the box failed to test Kirkland in the Wednesday net.
Things simmered down for the next ten minutes or so but the Iron were looking the more comfortable side and held the ball well. Dawson and Hawkridge were working well as a pair, with Hawkridge content to float into spaceall across the midfield and Dawson keen to stick to the touchline. Hawkridge laid a ball off to Dawson who knocked a measured ball forward from out wide between both Wednesday centre-backs and onto Godden’s toe. Unfortunately his touch took away the opportunity to strike on goal and Llera mopped up.
The Scunthorpe winger had grown into the game – full of running, tracking back and a threat carrying the ball as well as with his range of passing. After tracking back to win a loose ball, he followed up to spray the ball wide to Nolan who then hit a ball over the top for Fagan to chase. The former Hull and Derby man headed back across goal and Llera again cleared, though only to Hawkridge who’d snuck in to head back across goal once more. Gardner managed to scramble clear with two Iron men waiting to pounce.
The ex-Trinity winger was again at the heart of some good Iron football. He broke with the ball from deep, this time down the right and placed an inch-perfect pass back to Sparrow, arriving on the penalty spot but his effort ballooned over the bar.
The miss was costly as against the run of play, despite Scunthorpe creating the majority of the game’s noteworthy chances, Wednesday took the lead on 41 minutes. Helan slid the ball across Slocombe into the bottom corner after breaking clear of Mirfin.
Scunthorpe brought a second trialist into the game at half time to replace Craig Fagan with Wednesday remaining unchanged. Dave Jones was forced into a change though on 49 minutes with Antonio coming off injured.
The Iron came close on 55 minutes – Godden found himself open at the back stick and struck the outside of the post after a low cross from McAllister.
Scunthorpe settled into playing the way they had in the first half and remained solid in possession but also as in the first half, Wednesday remained a threat on the break. McCabe had the ball pulled back to him on the corner of the box and struck the outside of the post.
Scunthorpe responded with another good chance. On 67 minutes good link-up between Deon Burton and Ribeiro worked the right back in behind. His whipped ball across the face of goal was met by Godden, unmarked, arriving at the back post but his side foot effort was off target.
The two sides’ defences succeeded in limiting attacking play for ten minutes or so. Wootton turned a Dawson free-kick into the side netting at the near post and Llera went close from another set-piece from the edge of the Iron box.
Inside the last five minutes the Iron managed to carve out a couple of half chances. Luke Hornsey fed Dawson with the outside of his boot. The left-back’s run into the box and resulting cross-shot was blocked at the near post. Then, Ribeiro struck inches over from just outside the box whilst in space.
The game ended with Wednesday narrow winners, though the Iron support will be pleased with the performance of the Iron men.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Dawson, Mirfin (Waterfall, 69), Canavan (Howe, 82), Sparrow (Adelakun, 69), McAllister (Hornsey, 76), Hawkridge (K. Wootton, 82), Godden (J. Wootton, 69), Nolan (Ribeiro 59), Collins, Craig Fagan (Deon Burton, 45).
Substitutes: Severn, Iwelumo, Esajas, Welsh, Jennings, Hornsey,
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Palmer, Floro, Semedo (Maguire, 55), Llera, Gardner, Coke (Prutton, 55), McCabe (Corry, 77), Antonio (Madine, 49), Johnson (Lambin, 63), Helan (Mattock, 71).
Substitutes: Taylor, Davies, Dieserauve, Ogileye, Lambin, McKenzie, Fenwick.
Iron Supporters' Twitter MOTM: Terry Hawkridge