Midfielder Neal Bishop was pleased with his side’s performance as they continued their unbeaten run; extending it to eleven matches in all competitions.The Iron weathered a storm from the hosts at the Bescot Stadium, lasting nearly two thirds of the first half, before James Chambers inadvertently volleyed past his own keeper to give Scunthorpe the lead.
Speaking following the game, United’s team captain spoke about the team’s resilience in the opening 25 minutes, prior to breaking the deadlock.
“We didn’t start too well and they had a spring in their step after their win against Preston on Wednesday,” he told The Iron Player.
“They started the better team, there’s no doubt about it. We looked dangerous on the break though and we flashed a couple of balls across the box during the game and a couple of offsides thwarted us from scoring more today. To be fair, when they were on top, the lads defended very well and we grew into the game.
“We got the two goals and came into the dressing room 2-0 up, which was obviously the same as Tuesday and we talked about not letting them get back into the game. They came out and got a goal back and the next goal was vital.”
He added: “Thankfully we got it and we ended up running out comfortable winners.”
Scunthorpe took the lead in fortuitous circumstances, with Chambers diverting Gary McSheffrey’s cross into his own net on the rare occasion that the away team had ventured forward.
“The first goal was our first attack and it came out of nowhere really,” he continued.
“The balls gone into the box and the defender was running at pace towards his own goal and he had to do something to clear it. Defending like that always risks the chance of an own goal when they face their own goal.”
He added: “Once that goal went in, we went on to thoroughly deserve a 2-0 lead going into the break.”
United handed starts to on loan duo Tom Hopper (from Leicester City) and Jacob Murphy (Norwich City), with both making a significant impact in their debuts; the former converting from the latter’s low ball to put Scunthorpe 2-0 up.
“If you look at Tom, he must be on Duracell, because he’s run around all afternoon and chased everything,” he said.
“He was by far man of the match for me today as he was a different class. He’s held things up, he’s got his head on things and he’s made the defender’s lives a nightmare today. We know about Jacob’s ability and today the conditions were probably not suited to him today.
“We’ve seen what he is about today and he will cause some damage in the final third in coming games. From looking in, we’ve got two really good signings on our hands.”
Murphy was replaced soon after Walsall halved the deficit by defensive midfielder Sean McAllister. It had looked as though the Iron would look to hold onto their lead, but instead they trebled it, with Paddy Madden converting from the penalty spot after Bishop was tripped, while the former Blackpool player rounded off the scoring himself to emulate the same scoreline from the club’s last trip to the Bescot Stadium.
“When they got a goal back, the home crowd got up and were ready for a fight-back, but we withstood it well,” Bishop explained.
“What we expected today was nothing we hadn’t spoken about before the game. It was good to get a goal myself as well today, but we now look forward to our cup replay on Tuesday at Chesterfield and go there with confidence.”
See much more from Neal Bishop, Mark Robins and Tom Hopper on The Iron Player.