Iron winger Etienne Esajas expressed his disappointment after his side were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Northampton Town at Glanford Park.After a disappointing first half, the home side went in front shortly after the restart when Niall Canavan bundled home an Andy Dawson corner from close-range.
The visitors were then reduced to 10 men with just over half an hour remaining when Northampton captain Ricky Ravenhill was sent off for a second bookable offence.
However, the relegation-threatened Cobblers responded admirably, and rescued a point when Zander Diamond flicked in a Darren Carter free-kick midway through the second period.
The result saw the gap between second and fourth-placed Burton cut to just 2 points, and Esajas told The Iron Player: “It was very disappointing to let go of two points.
“Looking at the game, we should have done better as a team, especially against 10 men. It was never going to be easy, and even when they had 10 men they kept working hard and didn’t make it easy for us.”
Despite occupying a relegation spot, Northampton came into the game on the back of accumulating 10 points from their last five matches under new manager Chris Wilder.
That meant the Iron were always likely to face a stern test, and the Dutch winger added: “Every team is fighting at the moment.
“With the season coming to a close, everyone wants to get as many points as they can. It doesn’t matter where you are in the league.
“If you are ready to fight every game you can beat any of the top teams, and Northampton showed that today. They made us work hard for it.”
Things could have looked even rosier for United had they won, courtesy of league leaders Chesterfield falling to a shock defeat against an Accrington Stanley side who also ended the game with 10 men after Peter Murphy’s first half dismissal.
The Spireites result meant the Iron moved to within a point of the League Two summit, and Esajas explained: “That’s why it’s disappointing we don’t have those extra two points, as obviously that would take us a step closer to going up.
“As a team we should have kept the ball a bit better, and been more patient, but we will learn from this. I think as a team we feel comfortable.”
The match marked a return to claret and blue ranks for Esajas as he registered his first appearance for the club since New Year’s Day as a late replacement for Marcus Williams.
Although he enjoyed only the briefest of cameos, the tricky winger still came close to providing a winning assist when his clipped cross in injury-time found Paddy Madden in space – only for the striker to direct his header at Town goalkeeper Matt Duke.
The 29-year-old was understandably delighted to be back in the fold, and said: “It was a great feeling.
“I’ve just been patient, trained hard, and Russ [Wilcox] gave me the opportunity today. I’m a Scunthorpe United player and I will fight until the end with this club, so on a personal note I will just work as hard as possible.”
The game was also notable for extending the Iron’s unbeaten run to 19 games – a sequence which now matches the club record set by Nigel Adkins’ side during the 2006/2007 campaign which culminated in United being crowned League One champions.
That run has seen a flurry of wins turn steadily into draws in recent weeks, and Esajas added: “It’s an amazing run, unbelievable, but obviously you want to win games.
“You can draw a couple but at the end of the season these points might cost you, and hopefully they don’t.”
Next up for United as they look to continue their promotion charge is the visit of Southend United to Glanford Park on Tuesday night, and Esajas added: “You’re going to have a couple of games like this, and now we have to think about how we can do a better job on Tuesday.
“Everybody is going to be up for it in order to get a better result. We need to manage some periods in the game a lot better, and need to get a better result than today.
“I think we were the better team today, but at the end of the day we only took a point so need to improve on that.”
See much more from Etienne Esajas, Russ Wilcox and Andy Dawson on The Iron Player.