Iron manager Russ Wilcox has labelled his squad “outstanding” following the 1-0 win over Oxford United.Matt Sparrow’s 15th minute goal was enough to secure the victory to put Scunthorpe five points clear of fourth placed Fleetwood Town with just two league games to go.
As well as being overjoyed with United’s performance, he also believes that it was one the club’s best home performances for some time.
Wilcox told The Iron Player: “I thought we were outstanding. That was one of our best home performances for a long time.
“I asked the players to be brave and good with the ball which we’ve been lacking in previous home games with teams coming and sitting deep.
“We were brave and creative today and we’re a little disappointed that we only won the game 1-0. We can’t quite get that second goal at the moment to calm everyone down and it’s hairy scary again in the last five minutes with the goalkeeper coming up.
“It’s not about formations in situations like that, it’s about getting bodies on the line, grafting and working hard but I think we deserved that little bit of luck to get that second.
“We didn’t get it but it’s always nice to get a 1-0 win because it shows everything about the players and they have to go to the final whistle.
“I’m very proud today of where we are in the league, the performance and the group of players that I’m working with.”
One thing that Wilcox has placed particular importance on over the last few months is managing periods in games.
And he believes United did that well against the U’s and thinks the 1-0 score line flattered Gary Waddock’s men.
“I think we managed periods of the game well today and in the last five minutes, anything can happen,” he continued.
“They’re always going to chip balls into the box but I think what we tried to do different from last week was try and engage the ball higher up the pitch.
“They’ve thrown Raynes the centre half up top and it’s happened to us too much this year (conceding late goals) so we deserved that today.
“It wasn’t about luck, we deserved the victory today because we probably should have been out of sight.
“A 2 or 3-0 victory would have been fair but it’s still pleasing just to get that win.”
United had numerous chances throughout the game to extend their lead but were consistently thwarted by Oxford ‘keeper Ryan Clarke.
But one goal was enough and Wilcox gave some of United’s closest rivals for promotion credit in a League Two season that promises to go right down to the wire.
Wilcox added: “Their ‘keeper made some terrific saves but I think he got lucky with the Dave Syers one.
“Nine times out of ten it hits the bottom of his stomach, bounces and goes in the net but it’s gone over the bar so you’re just hoping it’s not going to be one of those days where you get punished right at the death and fortunately it wasn’t.
“We have 80 points and a couple of months ago you’d have said that would be enough but we still don’t know.
“You have to give credit to Fleetwood who had a man sent off after 15 minutes and won and Rochdale were a goal down and won 2-1 so they’re all showing bravery and it shows you what this league is all about.
“There are two games to go and nobody is promoted yet so it shows how fine a line there is but today I’m so proud because we were fantastic.
“To play under that kind of pressure at home with a big crowd, knowing what was at stake was fantastic.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox, Matt Sparrow and Michael Collins on The Iron Player.