After a fortnight without a game, the Iron returned to league action in mid-December as they were held to a last-gasp 1-1 draw by 10-man Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park.A week later, United shook off any lingering disappointment from their trip to Buckinghamshire with a 2-0 home win over Morecambe which saw them spend Christmas in the automatic promotion positions.
The impressive form of the side since caretaker manager Russ Wilcox was put in temporary charge in November was duly awarded on Christmas Eve, with the 49-year-old appointed to the role on a permanent basis by chairman Peter Swann.
In Wilcox’s first game as permanent manager against Bury on Boxing Day, the Iron again found themselves restricted to a solitary point late on as the Shakers forced a 2-2 draw from two goals behind.
This time it was United’s turn to be reduced to 10 men, after Sam Winnall was shown a second yellow for over-celebrating his second goal of the afternoon.
United concluded the month with an impressive 2-0 win away at Oxford United which saw them end 2013 level on points with leaders Chesterfield United.
Game of the Month: Oxford United 0-2 Scunthorpe United
The Iron’s final game of 2013 took them to the Kassam Stadium, where they faced an Oxford United side who began the afternoon above United in the table.
With 11 minutes on the clock, the away side took the lead when Deon Burton headed home Marcus Williams’ cross to register his fourth goal in as many games.
The veteran striker then had the chance to double both his and United’s tally six minutes before the break when Deane Smalley handled in the box, but saw his spot-kick saved by Us goalkeeper Ryan Clarke.
Despite that, the Iron did extend their lead on 72 minutes when midfielder Dave Syers netted with a spectacular strike from distance.
That goal seemed likely to ease United towards an important win, but 10 minutes later Oxford were presented a lifeline when Sam Slocombe was adjudged to have brought down striker James Constable in the area.
However, Slocombe atoned for his error by subsequently denying Smalley from 12 yards as the Iron saw out a 2-0 victory which lifted them up to second-place going into the New Year.
Goal of the Month: Deon Burton (2nd, vs Morecambe)
Deon Burton was credited with December’s goal of the month as he finished a flowing team move in style during the 2-0 win over Morecambe at Glanford Park.
Having already put his side in front with 17 minutes gone courtesy of a close-range tap-in, it was Burton’s second of the afternoon which caught the eye while effectively also securing all three points for United.
A patient and probing move involving a number of the Iron players on 33 minutes intensified when Dave Syers lofted the ball into the path of Terry Hawkridge, who in turn flicked towards Burton with his first touch.
The veteran striker displayed sublime technique to bring the ball down over his shoulder, before swivelling neatly and hitting a left-footed half-volley beyond Morecambe goalkeeper Barry Roche from the edge of the box.
That goal saw United stretch their unbeaten run under caretaker manager Russ Wilcox to five games, with the then 49-year-old confirmed to the role permanently three days later.