United ran out 5-1 winners against Carlton Town on Wednesday evening at the Bill Stokeld ground.Goals from Curtis Bateson, Callum Howe, Reece Mosanya and David Syers (two) sealed what was a comfortable win in the end, despite Town pulling one back to make it 2-1 early in the second period.
Heroics from Luke Cooke, Town's goalkeeper, prevented the Iron from running away with things entirely.
United fielded a strong side, mixing youth and experience at the Bill Stokeld ground to face the Millers; a continuing fixture as part of Terry Hawkridge's deal that saw him arrive at Glanford Park from Gainsborough last summer.
The hosts opened brightly, busy in midfield with Josh Rae and his central midfield partner asserting themselves on proceedings.
Carlton pressure forced United into a hurried clearance from the back on five minutes, not helped by long turf causing some slowing up in the ball. Luke Hornsey was caught out on the touchline by Joe Brothwell who nipped in to break in-behind down the Iron right; the dinked ball back across well read by Severn.
Town backed up this positive opening five with more time on the ball; Canavan and Severn clearly audible in their attempts to organise the Iron back line. The first shot in anger came on the ten minute mark; well over from the edge of the 'D' from a Millers man.
Control of the game swayed in United's favour as Bishop and Hawkridge instilled an air of patience on the ball in midfield. Curtis Bateson then took the initiative and forced his way down the left flank, jinking past Town's right back before sliding back into Syers' path. The free-scoring central midfielder will be disappointed with his strike, on last season's form at least. A comfortable, smothered save down low for Luke Cooke.
On the quarter hour, the Iron followed up with a break down the right this time. Hornsey showed good ability on the ball to traverse the length of the flank before firing in a cross towards the edge of the area. McSheffrey arrived to meet it but volleyed well over on his favoured left.
Five minutes later Scunthorpe forced the first real save out of Town's stopper. Dave Syers opened the taps to burst beyond the last man before checking left and sliding ex-Miller Hawkridge in to curl on his right; the side-footed effort saved well down low by Mitchell who had raced off his line to close the angle down. Confident keeping.
The hosts struggled to wrest any control on the ball for the mid-portion of the half. A third key chance fell to United inside a quarter-hour. Deon Burton flicked on to Syers who looped high to allow Hawridge to remain onside. Town had sprung the offside trap but left the winger all on his own, allowing Hawkridge space to operate in behind. Veering left into the box, defenders had made up ground, blocking the near-post strike and leaving United with a corner - one well dealt with by Carlton.
With quarter of an hour before the break, the game had begun to distill into a more even affair. Carlton had regained some composure and limited the Iron more effectively. Despite this, Bateson went close with a flying header shortly before the Iron countered to take the lead on 35 minutes. A towering header from Callum Howe from a Carlton free-kick sparked a forward move. McSheffrey broke clear and cooly squared to Bateson, unmarked. The youngster this time only had to find the target to score with Cooke scurrying. A simple finish to put the Iron one up.
Scunthorpe had time before the break, four minutes until the whistle, to go agonisingly close to doubling that lead. Good work down the right through Syers and Bateson saw a cross come in deep for Hawkridge at the back post. The winger headed into the ground back across goal, instantly voicing his frustration as the ball trickled inches past the opposite post.
Bateson was involved once more after a pin-point ball from Dawson teed up the strike. Cooke saving well with his feet on this occasion. Cooke rounded off a good first half personally with another impressive save, tipping over from a Syers volley.
The second half saw no changes and United immediately re-assert themselves following the break. Hawkridge struck low to force Cooke into tipping round the post before Callum Howe headed home the resultant McSheffrey corner, towering at the near post.
Despite the setback within a minute of the restart, the hosts remained stoic. Bothwell was played in down the Town right before striking speculatively from a narrow angle. Substitute goalkeeper, Ben Ledger got a hand to it but couldn't prevent the goal, bringing the Millers right back into it.
The hope didn't last long for the home side though. United went right up the other end and netted to restore the two-goal lead. Hawkridge forced a parry from Cooke with a low, curled free kick allowing Syers to capitalise on the rebound, poking home from close range. A hectic start of the second period; the score now standing at 3-2.
United continued on the upward curve. Just past the hour mark, Mosanya hit from range to force a corner. Another Cooke stop. McSheffrey's corner was another teaser. Syers rose tallest at the back post, heading onto the top of the bar. Town had it all on to make something out of this game from this point on.
Through the mid portion of the half, things quietened down. Neither side really created and United looked instead to take control of possession. Even so, with ten to play, McSheffrey fired straight at Cooke from close range after Bateson worked clear away for the right flank. The busy Carlton 'keeper continued to impress.
With five minutes remaining United added a fourth from the spot through Syers after Kye Williamson lazily tripped McSheffrey inside the area.
On the stroke of full time Mosanya also netted from close range, Cooke unable this time to get enough on his parry to prevent the ball crossing the line.
Scunthorpe United: Severn, Hornsey, Canavan, Howe, Dawson, Hawkridge, Syers, Bishop, McSheffrey, Bateson, Burton (Mosanya, 51).
Substitutes: Ledger, Hare, Baker.