Nathan Tyson scored a hat-trick as the Iron were beaten 5-2 on a disappointing afternoon at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Two penalties and an own-goal made up three of the five strikes that ensured Scunthorpe United wouldn’t finish above their local rivals this campaign, as the season reached its final furlong.
Mark Robins was forced in to a couple of changes to his starting XI, with Everton loanee John Lundstram replaced in midfield by Sean McAllister. Kevin van Veen was also given the nod in attack after the expiration of Theo Robinson’s temporary switch to North Lincolnshire, returning to parent club, and today’s hosts, Doncaster Rovers.
Donning their Irish Iron green third kit for the final time this season, United started brightly with McAllister’s smooth transition back in to the centre of midfield and Hakeeb Adelakun looking extra sharp down the right hand side.
Despite their early showing, it was the hosts who scored the game’s opening goal. Kyle Bennett swung the ball in from the corner of the box after Harry Forrester earned Rovers a free-kick in the build-up, and unfortunately for Scunthorpe defender Niall Canavan his attempted header deflected past the stranded Luke Daniels and in to the back of the net.
An unfortunate own goal, but the visitors immediately pressed for an equaliser, and they were almost handed a gift of a goal when Rob Jones’ short back-pass to Marosi was pounced on by van Veen. The Dutchman outmuscled the Doncaster captain to go one-on-one with the ‘keeper from a tight angle, before tumbling to the ground after coming off second best in the challenge.
The striker appealed for a penalty, but the loose ball fell to Gary McSheffrey who had the chance to bury the equaliser with just a defender between him and the goal, but he cannoned his effort off of the under-side of the cross-bar before the home side eventually cleared their lines.
Rovers needed to alleviate some pressure and they did that on the 24th minute when the lively Forrester wriggled free of Neal Bishop before unleashing a dipping drive from 25-yards out; fortunately for the diving Daniels it cleared his top right hand corner by a good two feet.
Although it did fly wide it was a fine strike by the former Brentford midfielder, and he again delivered an eyebrow raising effort from a similar distance moments later. This time it was from a dead-ball situation after the home side were awarded a free-kick, and his finely curled strike had many in the crowd expecting the net to bulge.
With Forrester running the show for the red and whites, he was at the heart of a move that saw Paul Dickov’s men double their advantage just after the half hour mark.
Forrester’s jinking run saw him first put the ball through Jordan Clarke’s legs before driving in to the box and laying off Bennett to his right. The wide man then drove to the by-line before delivering a tantalising cross for Nathan Tyson to attack, and he sent a bullet of a header past the outstretched arm of Daniels to cap off a terrific move.
With the first half coming to a close Rovers grabbed their third goal of the game, this time with Rob Jones on the score-sheet. After Luke Daniels produced a superb stop to deny James Coppinger from firing in from distance, Jones found a yard of space on his man to glance home from the resulting corner, making it 3-0 as the half-time whistle blew.
With the Iron players having already spent a good six or seven minutes out on the pitch before their opponents returned to the field, Mark Robins’ words must have been ringing in their ears as they came within a whisker of reducing the arrears.
Clarke got free of his man down the right before sending a delightful cross towards the six-yard box, however despite making fantastic contact Kevin van Veen’s acrobatic effort went straight in the ground before looping over the bar, taking a nick off the woodwork on its way.
With Scunthorpe pressing, they promptly found their route back in to the match through that man again van Veen.
After a long ball was lifted over the top for the spritely forward, he swung at air the first time round before getting the chance to atone for his error after calamitous defending. He again couldn’t find the net after striking the post, however Rovers still amazingly couldn’t clear their lines, with van Veen eventually bundling the ball over the line from around a yard out.
Van Veen seemed in the mood to add to his tally, and on the 67th minute he almost did. McSheffrey’s whipped in delivery couldn’t be cleared by the Donny back-line, with the ball falling to the prowling van Veen, but despite his smart swivel his strike was blocked near the line.
Despite all of the pressure Mark Robins’ men had managed to exert on their opponents for the first half of this second period, their work was undone when Marcus Williams conceded a penalty on the 74th minute after tripping Forrester.
Nathan Tyson stepped up to coolly slot the ball past Daniels, who’d already committed to his right-hand side, to restore their three goal lead.
With only four minutes passing since Tyson’s spot-kick, he was handed the opportunity to wrap up his hat-trick from 12-yards after Canavan upended the Rovers attacker. The no.14 stepped up to smash home his third of the day to make it 5-1 to the home side.
With the Iron throwing on Dave Syers, George Evans and Kyle Wootton, there was time for one last cheer from the away fans before referee Richard Clark blew his whistle for full-time, with Adelakun’s free-kick slicing through the bundle of players inside the area, and making it all the way through without a touch and in to the net.
An unfortunate 5-2 defeat to round off the season for Scunthorpe United, but in the grander scheme of things, the main aim of survival was very much secured.
Doncaster Rovers: Marosi, Lund (Wabara, 75), Butler, Jones ©, Evina, Bennett (Main, 70), Wellens, Furman, Forrester, Coppinger, Tyson (J.McKay, 82).
Substitutes not used: Bywater, Stevens, Middleton, Whitehouse.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Clarke, Davey, Boyce, Williams, Bishop © (Evans, 81), McAllister, McSheffrey (Syers, 81), Adelakun, van Veen, (Wootton, 82), Madden.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Llera, Townsend, Dyche.
Attendance: 9,394 (1,618 away).