Two spectacular goals were enough to secure a 2-1 win for the Iron against Walsall, their first in League One this campaign.Hakeeb Adelakun’s mazy run and exquisite finish, plus Gary McSheffrey’s thunderous free-kick secured a deserved victory for the Iron.
United had the better of the game and were worthy winners, although they made it harder for themselves conceding with 20 minutes to go.
It was a result that lifted the Iron above their opponents and gave them a much deserved reward following some impressive displays of late.
Both sides went into the game looking for a first win of the campaign, with Walsall just three places ahead of the Iron in 20th spot.
Scunthorpe made only one change from the side that put up a valiant fight against Reading on Tuesday, Luke O’Neill coming in for Eddie Nolan.
They tried to carry on where they left off on Tuesday, starting on the front foot and taking the game to the visitors.
Some bright play on the left hand side saw the ball played dangerously across the Walsall six yard box after little more than 80 seconds.
The ball was hacked clear, but the Iron were quick to keep the move alive, Sean McAllister’s cutback scuffed wide by Neal Bishop from 20 yards out though.
Walsall tried to keep the ball and establish a foothold in the game, but were struggling to find any rhythm in the early exchanges.
It did not help that they were forced into a change after just eight minutes, with the injured James Chambers making way for Dean Holden.
After about 15 minutes the visitors sprung into life with Tom Bradshaw‘s header requiring an excellent stop from ‘keeper Bobby Olejnik, the Iron ‘keeper tipping the ball around the post.
The Iron enjoyed the better of the first half with chances for Gary McSheffrey, Neal Bishop and Paddy Madden, who will feel he could have done better when 12 yards out.
The best chance fell to Hakeeb Adelakun a couple of minutes before the break though, but Walsall ‘keeper Richard O’Donnell was equal to it, getting a strong hand onto it to turn it wide.
The Iron had to be wary of their visitors though, with the Saddlers looking dangerous from set pieces and also on the counter attack.
Anthony Forde was causing a lot of problems for the Iron, constantly trying to get past his man as well as drifting in from the left wing, although his good play just lacked an end product.
The first half as a whole could be summed up similarly, with both teams having bright spells and not being able to make their possession count, meaning the score was locked at 0-0.
The Iron came back out and tried to take the game to Walsall just as they had done at the start of the first half, putting immediate pressure on through Luke O’Neill’s long throw.
The pressure finally paid off as the Iron got their reward when Hakeeb Adelakun’s slaloming run ended with the ball trickling into the net.
The youngster beat a couple of Walsall challenges before racing into the box and rolling the ball in via the post to give the Iron a 51st minute lead.
It proved to be the catalyst for the Iron as they doubled their lead just two minutes later thanks to a sensational free-kick from Gary McSheffrey.
The Irishman was around 35 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable drive that went over the despairing fingertips of Richard O’Donnell in the Walsall goal.
The visitors were stunned by the rapid start to the second half and tried to force their way back into it through Mathieu Manset’s burst forward.
An excellent bit of defending from Luke O’Neill prevented the Walsall new boy from getting any kind of shot away though.
Any touch from the two Iron scorers was greeted by cries of “shoot” from the crowd and McSheffrey fully obliged, stinging the palms of O’Donnell in the visiting goal.
The Iron were enjoying their afternoon and frustrating Walsall who were giving away a lot of needless free-kicks with the score and time against them.
The Iron were firmly in the driving seat, but a momentary lapse of concentration let the visitors back in the game thanks to Tom Bradshaw’s goal.
A long ball forward was not dealt with by the Scunthorpe defence and Bradshaw nipped in before the onrushing Olejnik to head it into the empty net, with just over 20 minutes remaining.
This proved to be a nervy affair for the Iron, the goal spurred Walsall into life and also started to cause a bit of hesitancy in the Iron defence.
Jennison Myrie-Williams and Matt Sparrow came on towards the end, replacing Paddy Madden and Gary McSheffrey in an attempt to run down the clock with the visitors attacking.
Despite a nervy last couple of minute’s stoppage time, the Iron were able to hang on to claim their first League One victory of the season to the delight of the 3,098 inside Glanford Park.
SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Olejnik, O’Neill, Addison, Canavan, Williams, Hawkridge (Kee 67), McAllister, Bishop, Adelakun, McSheffrey (Sparrow 90), Madden (Myrie-Williams 87).
SUBS NOT USED: Weaver, Dawson, Taylor, Llera.
WALSALL: O’Donnell, O’Connor, Chambers (Holden 8), Downing, Taylor, Grimes (Baxendale 40), Chambers, Clifford, Forde (Morris 76), Manset, Bradshaw.
SUBS NOT USED: MacGillivray, Benning, Flanagan, Kinsella.
Attendance: 3,098 (301 away).