Just like December, United remained unbeaten – extending their run to twelve games by the end of the first month of 2014.Another manager of the month nomination would follow for Wilcox, who saw his side top the division for the first time in the campaign – backing up their victory with another – a 2-0 away win at Mansfield in which Paul Hayes marked his return to the club with a brace.
Three draws would end the month, with a 3-3 draw at Dagenham & Redbridge sandwiching two goalless encounters against AFC Wimbledon and Fleetwood Town (live on Sky Sports) respectively. Sam Slocombe would save a penalty in the latter match, with United squandering a three goal lead at the LBBD Stadium. Winnall, Burton and Hayes would strike the visitors ahead, with the conditions (and proceedings) then making a turn for the worst.
Scunthorpe also suffered a double whammy, losing Burton through injury after scoring the second goal.
Game of the Month: Scunthorpe United 3-0 Rochdale
Playing their first reverse fixture of the season, the Iron claimed top spot for the first time on New Year’s Day – convincingly overhauling promotion rivals Rochdale at Glanford Park.
They added three goals to the four scored at Spotland in November, while Dale also finished the game a man light – similar to the reverse in which the opposition finished with nine men.
On this occasion, it took until the second half to break the deadlock with Syers firing home from 25 yards after a square ball from Winnall. Slocombe then produced another wonder save to deny Cummins, before former United defender Michael Rose was dismissed for a second booking for a foul on Adelakun. The Iron’s second goal followed from the resultant free kick, with Mirfin’s long ball from halfway allowing Winnall to exchange a one-two with Burton. The former received the ball back, volleying across Lillis into the top right hand corner.
Victory was sealed less than two minutes later with Winnall grabbing his second with McAllister’s flick sending him through to loft high into the net.
Goal of the Month:
It was a month in which some of United’s best goals in the season were netted, but it was always going to be the return of Paul Hayes who grabbed the headlines, particularly as it was he who grabbed a brace on his third debut to seal victory for Scunthorpe away at Mansfield.
Following a ball forward, Winnall cushioned down for United’s fourth all-time goalscorer (in all competitions) with Hayes allowing the ball to drop before hitting on the half-volley from 30 yards out. The strike looped into the top right hand corner, leaving Alan Marriott helpless, giving the 1,211 following supporters behind that goal something to shout about after a slow start.
Returning to the club for a third spell, it was almost rude not to cap off the goal with his trademark knee slide celebration, something he duly obliged to.