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28 December 2015

The Iron were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Rochdale at Glanford Park.

In a match of few openings, United struggled to break down a resilient Dale backline, who defended well throughout.

There was just one change from the Boxing Day victory at Doncaster Rovers, with Scott Wiseman taking the place of Jordan Clarke at right-back.

Luke Daniels started in goal, and Wiseman played alongside Niall Canavan, David Mirfin and Scott Laird in the back four in front of the United stopper.

Skipper Stephen Dawson continued in the heart of the Iron midfield, alongside Jack King and Neal Bishop. There was an unchanged front three too, with Luke Williams and Tommy Rowe providing support to Paddy Madden.

The hosts, who were clearly buoyed by the 1-0 success against Doncaster, started in a positive fashion. Rowe evaded three challenges, and then slid the ball into Laird in the penalty area. The Iron full-back then tested Joel Castro Pereira in the Dale goal, but his effort was in vain as he was flagged offside.

After a quiet opening 20 minutes, the visitors took a somewhat fortunate lead. Midfielder Peter Vincenti hit a scuffed shot from the edge of the box, which was turned home by Ian Henderson, with the Iron players protesting he was in an offside position.

It wasn't long before Mark Robins' side were back level though, as they equalised through a Mirfin header. Laird delivered a well flighted free kick into the box, which was flicked across goal by Canavan, and the Irishman's defensive partner was there to loop the ball over Pereira and into the back of the net.

Mirfin's equaliser then gave United the impetuous to go on and try to get their noses in front, and shortly after they nearly did when Madden headed for goal. However, he couldn't replicate his team-mate's effort, and saw his attempt tipped over for a corner by the visiting 'keeper.

The Iron continued to press, and Madden again almost completed the turnaround. This time he ghosted into the near post to try and get on the end of Wiseman's cross from the right, but he could only stab his effort past the outside of the post.

Madden wasn't finished there. On the stroke of half time he went close once again when he dragged a shot wide from just outside the area.

Despite the Irishman's best efforts, he couldn't edge the Iron ahead before the break, and the two sides went in level.

Much like in the first period, the opening exchanges were tight. United were having more of the ball, but struggled to mount any dangerous attacks with it.

In spite of their dominance of the ball, United were lucky not fall behind 20 minutes into the half. After the visitors whipped in a dangerous free-kick, the ball was flicked goalwards and looked to be nestling in the far corner. However, Daniels got across superbly to palm the ball away.

The roles were reversed, and now Keith Hill's side were the ones doing all the pressing. They went close again soon after, when substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was given time in the box. But the winger could only pull his shot wide as Daniels rushed out to stop him.

The warning signs kept coming for United, this time it was Calvin Andrew who almost gave Dale the lead with a curling strike from the edge of the box. The visitors were to be frustrated again though, as the effort rose fractionally over Daniels' crossbar.

With 10 minutes to play, the Iron had a golden opportunity to get themselves in front. Darius Henderson, who'd not long been on the field, was found with a brilliant cross from Wiseman. But the striker was cruelly denied by the outside of the post, as the ball looked to be heading for the far corner.

Hill's side were still providing a threat though, and they went close again when full-back Andrew Cannon cut in from the right flank and arrowed arrowed a left footed strike towards the left corner of Daniels' goal. But like earlier on in the match, the United 'keeper reacted superbly to tip the ball away.

There was to be no more openings, and with it came a frustrating point for Robins' side.

Scunthorpe United:
Daniels, Wiseman, Mirfin, Canavan, Laird, Bishop, Dawson (van Veen 83), King, Rowe, Madden, Williams (Henderson 69).
Substitutes not used: Anyon, McAllister, Clarke, Ness, Goode.

Rochdale: Castro Pereira, McNulty, Lancashire, Vincenti, Lund, Andrew, McDermott (Mendez-Laing 68), Rose, Cannon, Camps (Bennett 84), Henderson.
Substitutes not used: Lillis, Eastham, Alessandra, Allen, Bunney.

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