United progressed to the third round of the FA Cup on Wednesday evening after a dramatic 14-13 penalty shootout victory over Worcester City.
It was Miguel Llera who scored the decisive spot kick to send Mark Robins’ men through after the game had finished 1-1 with 120 minutes of football played.
Paddy Madden opened the scoring just before half-time as he was first to Gary McSheffrey’s corner but Sean Geddes’ equaliser midway through the second period levelled the scores and with no further goals, extra-time and eventually penalties were required to settle who would reach the next stage of the competition.
The Iron made four changes to the side that beat Crewe Alexandra on Saturday with Terry Hawkridge departing the starting line-up along with loanees Luke Williams, Liam O’Neil and Richard Brindley.
They were replaced in the team by Andrew Boyce, Isaiah Osbourne, Sean McAllister and McSheffrey, after the latter recovered from a hamstring injury in time to play.
Scunthorpe came within inches of breaking the deadlock just five minutes in as McSheffrey’s corner was glanced goal bound by captain Neal Bishop but Wayne Thomas did well to clear away as Madden looked set to poke the ball home.
The home side, backed by a large number of noisy locals, earned a flag kick for themselves when Tyler Weir’s long range drive was diverted behind by Davey but the danger was eventually averted.
The returning McSheffrey then hit a cross-shot across the face of goal before Jordan Murphy jinked his way into the United penalty area and unleashed a powerful strike that flew just over as both teams looked lively in the early exchanges.
McAllister was next to go close when he collected an in-field pass from Lyle Taylor and dribbled his way into the area but saw his effort comfortably held by Nathan Vaughan.
Striker Taylor then had a chance himself as Osbourne won back possession 25 yards out and fed the former but his low attempt was saved by the legs of Vaughan.
In what was proving to be an entertaining first-half, Worcester then created two further opportunities as Daniel Nti struck George Williams’ low cross into the side netting and Mike Symons fired over after Murphy had made a darting run towards the Iron box.
With the clock ticking down towards the end of the opening period, Boyce saw a glancing header trickle just wide of goal following McSheffrey’s free-kick but Scunthorpe did then find the breakthrough right on the stroke of half-time.
McSheffrey’s corner was nodded into the back of the net by Madden, with the help of a deflection, as the Irishman bagged his 11th of the season to give United a slender advantage going into the break.
The second forty-five began as the first had finished with a chance arriving just seconds into it as Taylor controlled in the City area and hit a shot along the deck that was saved before Murphy picked up the ball in midfield and himself had an effort well pushed away down low by United ‘keeper Sam Slocombe.
The ever threatening McSheffrey then saw a deep free-kick tipped wide by Vaughan as it looked to be creeping into the top corner and Murphy had another fierce drive kept out as the cup clash continued to bring chances for both sides.
Home skipper Ellis Deeney was next to sting the palms of Slocombe with a curling left-footed free-kick just outside the Iron box before Worcester scored an equalising goal with just over twenty minutes remaining.
Some neat passing play from a couple of City players down the Iron right resulted in the ball eventually finding its way to Geddes and he stabbed his shot into the far corner to level the score line.
Clearly buoyed by their equaliser, Carl Heeley’s men then almost took the lead as Murphy’s long range attempt was tipped behind superbly by the finger tip of Slocombe.
As the match entered the final ten minutes of normal time, Nti came close to scoring spectacularly when he acrobatically hit Williams’ long throw towards goal but it was straight at Scunthorpe’s no.1 and that was how things stayed as the final whistle was blown by referee Andy D’Urso meaning that a further thirty minutes would be needed to try and settle the contest.
It was United who conjured up the first chance of extra-time as substitute Matt Sparrow motored forward and found Madden but his resulting effort was well dealt with by Vaughan.
Williams then fired just wide for the hosts after cutting in from the right wing and Hakeeb Adelakun did likewise for the Iron soon after following Madden’s low centre.
The second period of the extra thirty saw Llera rise highest to meet a Sparrow free-kick but his header went just wide with Vaughan scrambling away to his left.
Marcus Williams did well to dodge past his marker but could only smash his eventual shot into the side netting and Boyce also had a go but directed a nodded attempt down the throat of the host’s custodian following an Adelakun corner.
But 1-1 was how the score stayed as extra-time came and went meaning that penalties were needed to decide which team would reach the third round.
Worcester’s Geddes was first up and here’s the story of the shootout:
Llera’s decisive kick secured the Iron a place in the next round with a 14-13 triumph.
Worcester City: Vaughan, Williams, Weir, Hutchison, Thomas, Gater (Jackman, 106), Nti, Deeney (c), Symons (Dunkley, 64), Geddes, Murphy (Wright, 96).
Substitutes not used: Taylor, Rowe, Khan, Veiga.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Davey, Boyce, Llera, Williams, McSheffrey (Adelakun, 68), McAllister (Hawkridge, 100), Bishop (c), Osbourne (Sparrow, 79), Madden, Taylor.
Substitutes not used: Olejnik, Canavan, Brisley, Wootton.