United manager Russ Wilcox was pleased his side came through Saturday’s 1-0 win over Torquay United.In what was a scrappy affair, it was just a penalty from Sam Winnall which separated the sides over the 90 minutes, with Dale Tonge spurning the host’s opportunity with their own spot-kick – Sam Slocombe saving.
Torquay were a side who didn’t look like they were on the brink of relegation from the Football League, something acknowledged by the Scunthorpe boss.
“We knew what to expect today,” Wilcox told The Iron Player.
“It’s not their last throw of the dice, but it’s getting close now and they need to start winning football matches and they did their manager proud today and put us on the back foot. They had three corners inside two minutes and we had to remain solid.
“I’d describe today as a gritty performance. Looking back, if we do achieve promotion, these are the type of games you look back with pride.”
He added: “We’ve not been at our best today.”
It was another story of the two Sam’s – much as it was on the Iron’s last away day at Cheltenham. The winning combination came via two penalty kicks, in which one was scored and one was missed.
“The two Sam’s again have contributed massively,” he continued.
“It was nice and calm from Winnall for his penalty, which went nicely in the corner and another amazing save from Sam Slocombe at the other end.
“You have to fancy him to save them. It’s not down to luck; he does his homework and studies the penalties. He’s also very, very agile.
“That has to go down as the turning point in the game. It’s a game-changing moment because if they get their goal just before half time, it’s game on in the second half. In the second half, we were a little bit better. We changed the shape a little bit and brought Hakeeb on and I thought he contributed really well.”
He added: “It looked like he could have been the one to get us the second goal. We had to sit back a little bit, which we don’t want to do.
"We just had to be hard to break down and I thought apart from one or two moments, we were comfortable in the second period without being threatening ourselves.”
Wilcox also gave his views on the two penalty decisions, stating that he thought both were the correct decisions.
“I thought Niall’s challenge was a little bit harsh,” said Wilcox.
“I think Pearce looked for it a little bit. He’s a big guy and he went down fairly easily. Niall tried to block his run, so you can understand why he’s given that one. The other one was pretty blatant on Matt Sparrow.”
He added: “It’s all about the three points at this stage of the season. We win games whichever way we can. It certainly wasn’t fluent or an exciting game. It was a massive three points.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox, Sam Winnall and Sam Slocombe on The Iron Player.