Kyle Wootton bagged a brace during the Iron youth team's 2-2 draw at Bradford City on Saturday.The Iron youngsters are early league leaders and going up against last seasons’ title winners away from home promised to be their toughest test so far this season. The youth players knew they had to be on their game right from the first whistle; and they did just that taking the game to their opponents early on.
There was a welcome return to the starting line-up for youth team Captain Taron Hare, out since injuring his knee in a pre-season game over a month ago. Hare was restored to the centre of the Iron defence which meant that Jacob Hood was pushed forward into midfield. United were to operate in this game without their influential midfielder Levi Sutton who was promoted to substitute for the first team, making his Football League debut on the bench at Chesterfield.
Although possession was dominated by United in the opening minutes, City started to disrupt the Iron’s passing game and the home team pushed towards goal on 5 minutes. Bradford’s Rhys Jenkinson used his pace against Iron defender Jack Dyche, running the ball down the right wing but Dyche’s well-timed tackle prevented anything dangerous.
A counter-attack from a Bradford corner saw a Dyche ball reach centre forward, Noel Burdett who did well to bring the ball into his step but pressure from the Bantams’ back four meant that he couldn’t release the shot. Connor Purdue and rapid left-winger Reece Mosanya showed good link up play in midfield before Mosanya released a pacey cross into Kyle Wootton on 7 minutes but the danger was well cleared by the home team. City’s striker Reece Webb-Foster managed to slip behind United’s two centre halves before driving his shot at Ben Ledger’s net. Ledger’s first save of the game was an impressive one, pushing the ball to the right of the goal for Charlie Cleminshaw to clear.
In the 9th minute a Bradford corner saw the ball fall just shy of the left post from a City header. United were coming under pressure at this point in the game and the possession they had dominated in the opening minutes was lost to the Bradford youth boys.
Within a minute, the Iron were on the attack again with Jack Mawson switching a ball into the box but nothing was to come of it. Another Bradford counter attack occurred in the 10th minute where left winger Joe Brennan displayed his ability, comfortably taking the ball past Iron right back Emilio Stothard before feeding a ball through United’s back line. Although the danger was cleared by Cleminshaw, the Iron back four were coming under heavy pressure from the Bantams.
The ball remained in Scunthorpe’s half for some time during the first half and the defensive clearances became rushed and pressurised. Bradford executed some nice switch play to Brennan who caught Stothard out a few times on the wing and Brennan was starting to become a problem for the visitors.
On 22 minutes, City pressed United’s back four and a sharp shot on target came through a crowd of players. Ledger managed to pull off a save, diving to his right but could only deflect the ball wide of target. United right back Stothard was slow to react to the loose ball and it was City’s Brennan who was quickest to follow up to put Bradford in front.
A Scunthorpe substitution saw Riley Baker replace Stothard at right back shortly afterwards and a fresh pair of legs and a more physical presence in defence seemed to improve United after going behind.
A City ball in to the Iron’s penalty area forced Hare to make another one of his powerful clearing headers towards Mosanya in midfield. The winger showed his exquisite control and brought a first time touch across his body, beating his opponent in the process, before releasing a lovely switched pass into Mawson who’s forceful shot was blocked and cleared.
On 36 minutes, Hare played a good ball into the path of Mawson who managed to tip the ball towards Burdett outside the 18-yard line. Burdett managed to move the ball past players but this time, he was brought down as a result. The free-kick lead to two more corners for United but the chances weren’t taken and the Iron still remained behind.
In the 44th minute United drew level and it was Kyle Wootton on the score sheet once again for the Iron. After playing a neat one two with Burdett on the edge of the City penalty area, Wootton drove his left footed shot beyond Bradford keeper Elliot Barker to level the scores just before the teams went in at half time.
After the half time team talk and advice from the coaching staff, Scunthorpe came back to the pitch and started the game with a real tempo dominating the early proceedings of the second half and on 48 minutes the Iron deservedly went in front.
The move started from the back when Dyche played a neat ball into Wootton’s feet. The ball was moved quickly to Mosanya who made a storming run and early cross to the far post; Mawson kept the attack alive arriving at the far post in time before playing a good cross that found the head of Wootton at the far post. The first header was blocked by City keeper Barker but Wootton didn’t waste any time in following up and he made no mistake slotting the ball home to score his fourteenth goal of the season in all competitions.
The Scunthorpe youth’s had clearly taken the half-time comments on board and their response had enabled them to take the lead as they had reacted in a very positive manner.
Purdue appeared more energetic when he burst forward and nabbed the ball from a slow Bradford midfield before his attempt on goal flew over the crossbar on 52 minutes.
The first touch to a Bradford corner in the 55th minute was a Ledger punch out of his goal area before leaving it to his defence to clear the ball but the home team won another corner as a result.
The following corner delivered by Bradford’s Callum Chippendale was met by the head of an unmarked City player at the back post and he managed to force the ball into the back of Ledger’s net and secure the equaliser.
The level score line set United back in their tracks and City started to edge their way back in to the game. Things started to hot up and some aggressive challenges resulted in a United free kick in the 60th minute which came to nothing in the end.
On 70 minutes, the head of Cleminshaw accidentally helped on an attacking City ball, which was soon scooped up by Webb-Foster. A top corner goal was stopped by a superb diving save from Ledger. Another two Bradford corner’s followed and the pressure United experienced in the first half had returned.
United did however attempt to respond and in the 75th minute, a ball broke to Burdett who played a fantastic through ball for Mosanya but City’s keeper beat him to it. Wootton also tested the keeper a lot more throughout the remaining minutes of the game, trying his hardest to grab anything that came his way.
The football played by both sides was a little patchy at this stage and both youth teams made it difficult for one another to produce anything creative. Both back four units were defending strongly and all forwards on the pitch found it difficult to create anything.
United worked the ball up the pitch and succeeded in finding Wootton’s feet. The goal scorer used his strength to ease City players off the ball before being brought down inside the box for what appeared a definite penalty. However, the referee’s decision not to give the penalty was an unexpected one as it looked clear cut but the official was having none of it and he waved United’s claims away.
Cleminshaw challenged and cleared the ball just after, bringing down his opponent in the process. The referee somehow saw the challenge as a bookable offence and Cleminshaw received a yellow card, which, in contrast with the previous foul on Wootton, seemed very unfair on the Iron.
In the closing minutes of the second half, the game was a constant rush with both teams attacking the oppositions’ goal trying to secure a winning goal.
After the game Academy Manager Tony Daws said: "We were not at our best today performance wise, we can play much better, but the lads showed real character and commitment to take a point from a difficult game so it is right that we say - well done to the lads.’’