United emerged 1-0 victors from their away clash at Fleetwood Town on Tuesday night.
Scunthorpe ran out 1-0 winners through a Sam Winnall strike. The spirited performance was the perfect tonic to the weekend's defeat at Exeter with the Iron weathering the storm at times and pouncing when it mattered.
His ball in was a teaser and Scott Davies between the Fleetwood sticks could only tip unconvincingly into the path of Hawkridge arriving down the left. Unfortunately the winger lost his footing at the wrong moment, preventing a strike.
With only four minutes on the clock, both sides had flashed the ball across the face of goal. In the first minute, good work from Sam Winnall striding through midfield, fed in Jimmy Spencer - wide in a crossing position.
The home side responded in kind. Murdoch switched play crossfield, finding Matty Blair who then fired a low ball in, dissecting the 6-yard box. Slocombe was beaten in the melee and got a boot in the forhead for his efforts. However, the ball flashed through to safety out the other side.
Fleetwood threatened again on fifteen minutes with a whipped centre across the face after a quick break down the left from Evans. He fed Sarcevic whose low cross only just evaded Blair, sliding in under the challenge of Mirfin - a timely foot in from the Iron centre-half. A minute later, another good piece of combination play between Evans and Taylor, on the left flank once more, lead to a cross-shot from the former, when perhaps it would have been more profitable to shoot. In the same move, Fleetwood did strike on goal. Central midfielder Jeff Hughes broke free inside the box. His left footed effort had Slocombe scrambling, but cannoned back off the outside of the post and behind.
The ten minutes following Fleetwood's string of half-chances became more even, with Scunthorpe gaining more of a foothold after their earlier backs-to the wall resiliance. This spell yielded the Iron's first real worked opportunity. Dave Syers played Jimmy Spencer - free inside the area. The striker slotted cooly under Davies with the outside of his left; good play but the linesman had rasied his flag.
Alongside Scunthorpe regaining their composure, the game became more fractured towards the end of the half - the referee awarding a few niggly freekicks against the Iron wasn't aiding hopes of building momentum. Frustration was apparent once more as the ball ended up in Fleetwood's net for the second time this evening after Spencer headed home. The linesman had his flag up against Canavan, though, who found the forward with his flick-on. With that, the first period petered out at 0-0.
The second period started as the first did. Town conjured two good opportunties within the opening five minutes. Gareth Evans continued where he left off after an impressive first half. Slocombe fumbled his goalbound effort but McAllister was there to mop up and clear the danger. Minutes later, following an Iron corner, Sparrow missed his challenge on half way allowing Evans to carry through towards the edge of the box. Slocombe saved at his near post.
Slocombe again produced the goods to prevent Fleetwood's skipper nodding the home side in front. He got down insitinctively to claw away a bottom-corner header. He was once more on hand to meet Sarcevic one on one, who'd broken through the Iron back-line. With fifteen minutes played in the second half, Scunthorpe needed to rally.
With 59 minutes played, they did just that. Sam Winnall hit a speculative effort from the edge of the 'D' which looped over Davies, stranded, with the help of a wicked deflection off a Town man to give Scunthorpe the lead.
The strike spurred Scunthorpe on. Spencer was left to curse his luck once more after seeing a third goalbound effort chalked off by the referee after the linesman had spotted an offside - this time, Spencer
Canavan and Mirfin were doing their bit to ensure Scunthorpe stayed on top. The former produced two perfectly timed slide tackles to dispossess Jon Parkin on the turn, preventing the big striker from getting an effort away. With 74 minutes on the clock, Cliff Byrne did well to block a volleyed effort from Hughes then Canavan matched him up - getting his body in the way of another dangerous looking strike towards goal.
In the same passage of play, the home side saw one of their strikes ruled out for offside. Jamille Matt controlled on his chest inside the area, powering the ball past Slocombe. The home support were up but so was the linesman's flag.
Brian Laws aimed to shore things up with ten minutes or so to go. Following Burton's entry into the game on 70 minutes in place of Spencer, Ribeiro entered proceedings on the right flank in place of Terry Hawkridge.
Fleetwood were now pushing hard, having gone three at the back. Sam Slocombe had to be at his best once again to hang onto the clean sheet, this time stooping down low to block a poke on goal from Matt after the midfielder broke clear. Parkin then glanced wide on the follow up - only a foot wide of the post, with Slocombe only able to watch and hope.
With five minutes remaining Deon Burton missed a glorious chance to put the game to bed. He found himself through on goal but elected to volley left footed, and wide, when there was perhaps time to make the chance a lot easier for himself.
The Iron had backs firmly to the wall with five minutes added on but stood firm to hold on to a vital win against a fellow promotion hopeful. Particularly important as the Iron have responded in the best manner possible to the 0-4 defeat by Exeter at the weekend.
Davies, Murdoch (Brown, 78), Roberts, Pond, Evans, Parkin, Hughes, Hogan (Ball, 78), Blair (65, Matt), Sarecvic, Taylor.TEAM LINE-UP
Lucas, McLaughlin, Cresswell, Crowther.Substitutes not used:
Slocombe, Byrne, Mirfin, Canavan, Dawson, Hawkridge (Ribeiro, 78), McAllister, Syers, Sparrow (Waterfall, 90), Winnall, Spencer (Burton, 70).Scunthorpe United:
Severn, Esajas, Wootton, Adelakun.Substitutes not used: