The 45th fixture of a long Sky Bet League Two season saw the Iron, Chesterfield and Rochdale promoted to League One.After our loss at Exeter, the players waited on the pitch for Fleetwood’s match to finish, as Southend did us a favour by holding the Cod Army to a draw to confirm our League One status for the 2014/15 campaign.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet, we’re all buzzing and delighted but it wasn’t the way we wanted to do it (losing at Exeter),” said Matt Sparrow, speaking to The Iron Player during the promotion celebrations after the game.
“Southend have helped us massively and we’re going to celebrate, come back in on Monday, de-brief the game and go again because we want to win the title.
“It’s been a long season and we will enjoy it. But next week, it’s back to business, and we’ll try to put in a performance against York, who are in great form, at a packed Glanford Park.”
Our promotion added to the much-coveted midfielder’s medal collection, in his first year back with the Iron.
“It’s my fifth promotion, fourth with Scunthorpe, and they’ve each been special in their own way," he said.
"To have it confirmed at Exeter on a cold, rainy day is a great feeling and to get another under my belt is fantastic.”
The 2-0 loss on the day saw Russ Wilcox’s first loss as Scunthorpe manager, a run dating back to November, and the club legend is proud to have been a part of a Football League record.
“The best run I’d been on before was 18 games unbeaten but to go 28 games without defeat, what an achievement," he continued.
“It’s great for Russ, the chairman and the squad. When you hang your boots up, you look back at the great moments and it will be great to tell friends and family that we went more than half a season without losing.”
The loss saw Rochdale leapfrog us to go back to the top of the league’s summit, one point clear with a game to go.
Whilst we host York City, who have won seven and drawn three of their last ten, Keith Hill’s Dale will travel to Newport and Chesterfield host Fleetwood.
With the main objective of promotion reached, anything else is a bonus and Wilcox’s men have their eyes set on completing their season’s hard work as the league champions.
“We’re going to fight for the title,” Sparrow said defiantly.
“It’s not in our hands but all we’ve got to do is try to win on Saturday and rely on other teams.”
It has been a long season for the Iron, who started out at 16/1 to win the title and 7/2 for promotion with the league’s official betting sponsor, SkyBet, and to return immediately to League One is a tough ask.
“At the start of the season, ten or 12 teams will have said at the start of the season that they wanted to go up,” said Sparrow, whose goal in the 1-0 win against Oxford proved vital as it effectively sent us up.
“To go and do it with all the fixture congestion and long away trips is tough and making the top three is a great achievement and it’s a credit to the coaching team, all of the squad, the fans and anybody else who has played their part this season.”
Exeter’s win confirmed a double over the Iron this season and it also confirmed their survival, escaping the SkyBet League Two drop.
Sparrow was hugely disappointed to lose on the day and he didn’t know where to start when assessing the defeat.
“I don’t particularly think we were nervous. We were just tired and sluggish and we should have played like we have in the last 28 games but it had to end eventually and today was the day.
“I honestly think Exeter are one of the best sides we’ve faced this season. They passed us off the park and it baffles me why they’re where they are in the table.
“They have beaten us 6-0 on aggregate this season and that’s a great achievement for them but the main thing is we’re up and that’s all that matters now.
“I felt sorry for the travelling fans, who came in their numbers and were great today, but they’ve still gone home delighted and happy because we’re up.
“Now we can look forward to next season in League One.”
See much more from Matt Sparrow, Russ Wilcox and Dave Syers on The Iron Player.