Two second-half goals from Danny Philliskirk condemned the Iron to a 3-2 defeat at Oldham Athletic on Saturday afternoon.
Andrew Boyce gave United the lead midway through the first-half with a header from a Gary McSheffrey corner before Jonathan Forte calmly slotted an equalising goal past Bobby Olejnik.
Rory Fallon bagged a debut goal when he fired into the bottom corner, from deep inside the box but those two second-half strikes from Philliskirk handed the Latics all three points.
Manager Russ Wilcox made five changes to his starting XI with Shaun Brisley, Boyce and Fallon all coming in to make their first starts as well as Neal Bishop and Jennison Myrie-Williams.
The suspended Miguel Llera dropped out as did injured duo Niall Canavan and Lyle Taylor and midfield pair Matt Sparrow and Terry Hawkridge.
Boyce was involved in the action early on as he slid in to block a shot from Conor Wilkinson away for a corner, after the Oldham man had made his way into the United area.
But in truth, the game got off to a cagey start with both teams taking their time to settle into the clash. The Iron’s first real opportunity came when Sean McAllister chipped a diagonal ball into the box towards
Fallon, who nodded the ball on to Paddy Madden but the Irishman couldn’t quite get his head on it before Latics ‘keeper Paul Rachubka cleared the danger.
A speculative effort from Fallon then drew a fine diving save from Rachubka and Scunthorpe went ahead from the resulting corner as McSheffrey’s flag kick landed right on the head of Boyce, to score his first goal for the club.
Oldham then responded by finding an equaliser just minutes later as Mike Jones’ through ball found former Iron striker Forte calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
The hosts almost turned the game on its head as Jones hit a long range drive at the Scunthorpe goal, that Olejnik did well to tip away but it wasn’t long before Wilcox’s men regained their advantage.
A ball into the box was flicked on by Madden to the feet of Fallon who held off his marker before turning and firing a shot into the far corner to score on his first appearance for the club.
The half then calmed down slightly, after that sudden flurry of goal action, and United saw out the rest of the opening period with their lead still intact as the teams went into the break with the away side 2-1 up.
Oldham came out after the break with the bit between their teeth and Forte went close to scoring his second goal of the match as he connected with Carl Winchester’s cross-field pass but couldn’t quite direct his headed attempt on target.
Another long range drive from Jones stung the palms of Olejnik and Lee Johnson’s side eventually scored a second equaliser as Brian Wilson twisted and turned his way into the Scunthorpe box before striking a low cross towards substitute Philliskirk, who levelled the game up again from close range.
McSheffrey made way for Hakeeb Adellakun as the Iron went in search of a third goal but it was Oldham who nearly bagged another as Forte’s header from a Joseph Mills cross almost found the top corner and a snapshot from Wilkinson was well saved down low by Olejnik.
Matt Sparrow replaced Fallon in the closing stages of the game but it was the hosts that managed to find a winner as a long free-kick was headed back across the box towards Philliskirk who nodded in his second goal of the game.
Billy Kee came on for Bishop late on and the Iron huffed and puffed for a leveller but 3-2 was how things stayed.
Oldham Athletic: Rachubka, Mills, Elokobi (Kusunga, 45), Kelly (c), Jones, Poleon (Philliskirk, 46) , Forte, Wilkinson, Winchester (Morgan-Smith, 80), J.Wilson, B.Wilson.
Substitutes not used: Brown, Dieng, Dayton, Tidser,
Scunthorpe United: Olejnik, O'Neill, Boyce, Brisley, Williams, Myrie-Williams, Bishop (c) (Kee, 86), McAllister, McSheffrey (Adelakun, 72), Madden, Fallon (Sparrow, 81).
Substitutes not used: Weaver, Dawson, Howe, Hawkridge.
Attendance: 3,837 (310 away).