November didn't get off to that terrible a start.Following a palatable draw against the then league leaders Chesterfield in which Luke Waterfall rescued a point in the 88th minute after an early mistake on his first start, the Iron were to endure a horrendous ten days.
Coupled with the fiercest rivals, Grimsby Town in the FA Cup, a replay was required following a goalless draw at Blundell Park. Scunthorpe lost to Accrington Stanley – their last league defeat of the campaign – 2-0 prior to the reverse fixture, with the league side dumped out of the competition after a 2-1 defeat. It proved to be the turning point though, with Brian Laws removed from his position the following morning.
Russ Wilcox, who was given a three game remit which would see the Iron to the end of the month, oversaw affairs alongside Tony Daws, first making the long treck to Portsmouth. The second win on the bounce was sealed three days later at nine-man Rochdale, with Canavan, Winnall, Spencer and Syers all netting before a 3-1 home victory over Torquay United.
Game of the Month:
Portsmouth 1-2 Scunthorpe United
A victory against Portsmouth set interim manager Wilcox on his way to what would be a World Record and the club’s longest unbeaten run in their history.
It would be a hard-fought affair in front of nearly 15,000 spectators with Scunthorpe having to clinch three points the hard way; coming from behind. United did manage to restore parity before the interval however, cancelling out Tom Craddock’s opener just four minutes after he broke the deadlock. He headed home from close range after 36 minutes, with David Syers – on loan from Doncaster Rovers at the time – forcing the equaliser home from a yard out following a corner from Andy Dawson.
The second half saw goalkeeper Slocombe making one of the saves of his career, diving athletically to his left to deny Johnny Ertl with Scunthorpe takin advantage of that miss on 70 minutes. Winnall cut inside and fired goalwards with his left foot, with a deflection meaning that shotstopper Trevor Carson could only fumble into the path of Syers who flicked the ball into an unguarded net.
Goal of the Month:
Given the scorer – and the finish – there were few to doubt who would scoop the accolade for November.
Hakeeb Adelakun, 17, replaced Reuben Noble-Lazarus on 55 minutes and was given a free role by Wilcox with United already in a comfortable 2-0 lead. Still a youth team player at the time, Adelakun sought to extend that lead, and did, bagging his first professional goal on 61 minutes.
The Iron broke through the centre of the pitch against the league’s basement side, with Sam Winnall cunningly feeding Adelakun on his right. Scunthorpe’s number sixteen required just two touches - one to control, with his second seeing his smash the ball low and hard into the bottom corner.
The former West Ham trainee also provided the celebration to match, producing a double somersault in front of the Doncaster Road end.