United wideman Gary McSheffrey believes the Iron have turned a corner after beating Gillingham 3-0 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.The squad were overseen by Andy Dawson, with Tony Daws and Paul Musselwhite assisting him, following Russ Wilcox and John Schofield’s departure in midweek, and the team put on a brilliant showing against the Gills, who were reduced to ten men.
“It was a good performance,” McSheffrey told The Iron Player.
“We were fortunate with the sending off in the first half, but after that we played the game like it should be played.
“The lads did well against ten men and we spoke at half-time it wasn’t urgent to get the second goal, but we knew if we kept the ball and played the right way and kept knocking on the door, we were going to get it.
“When you control possession you don’t need to go at a ridiculous tempo all the time because you’re in control and that’s what we did.”
McSheffrey provided Paddy Madden for the opening goal before getting on the scoresheet himself in the final moments of the game.
“We looked really comfortable and it was nice to get on the scoresheet and it’s always good to assist goals.” the former Coventry player said.
“It’s great to get a clean sheet. If you can do that, you can always nick a goal and it’s what we’ve got to try and do from now on.”
Doug Loft was dismissed for the home side after 34 minutes when he challenged Luke O’Neill. The referee had already blown up for a Gillingham free-kick, but Loft’s challenge gave him no choice but to send their summer signing for an early shower.
“We looked at the red card and I don’t know how much contact there was but it was a big lunge and he’s jumped five yards,” McSheffrey said, assessing the decision.
“I was sent off for a similar sort of tackle a couple of years ago and, while you may not think it at the time, it’s a bit of a wild challenge and he didn’t mean to do that but he’s paid the consequences for it.
“The referee had already brought play back after a previous foul and he will be disappointed because he’s let his team-mates down there and you make mistakes as humans, you make mistakes on the pitch.”
The Gillingham match was the only game to be played under Dawson’s management, after Peter Swann appointed Mark Robins as the new Scunthorpe United manager, unveiling the former Huddersfield, Coventry, Barnsley and Rotherham boss to the press on Monday lunchtime.
McSheffrey has played under the former striker before, when they were both employers of the Sky Blues.
He said: “Mark was manager at Coventry for a period of time. He came in and turned it around to be honest, we were playing great football under him and got a couple of records for consecutive away wins so he’s a good footballing guy and I’m looking forward to working with him again.
“Coventry were in a similar position after we didn’t start the season great and he came in and steadied the ship and we slowly climbed up the table.
“Had we not got the ten-point deduction because of administration, we’d have been up there in and around the play-offs. Circumstances meant he had to leave the club and he went onto bigger and better things at Huddersfield.”
Robins attended the Gillingham win, sitting in the stands alongside the Iron chairman, but it’s something McSheffrey says didn’t concern the players once the game was underway at three o’clock on Saturday afternoon.
“It was just another game of football, it was no different,” he added.
“We had to roll our sleeves up and produce a performance for the fans, who were great today.
“We are in a dogfight and the sooner we realise it the better. But, despite who was watching in the stands, the lads performed, every individual did.
“It’s nice Mark was there watching and he knows what he’s dealing with when he starts at the beginning of the week.”
See much more from Gary McSheffrey, Deon Burton, Paddy Madden and Andy Dawson on The Iron Player.