United ensured the race for the League One play-off places will go to the final day of the season, as they edged out Port Vale 1-0 in front of a packed Glanford Park.Paddy Madden got the all important goal on the hour mark, to make it five successive league victories for the Iron.
Manager Graham Alexander made two changes going into the game, with Jamie Ness replacing Neal Bishop, and Tom Hopper coming in for Kyle Wootton in attack.
The rest of the eleven was unchanged, as Luke Daniels lined up between the sticks, and in front of him was a back four which was formed by Jordan Clarke, David Mirfin, Murray Wallace and Conor Townsend. Ness came back into a midfield that consisted of Stephen Dawson, Hakeeb Adelakun and Luke Williams, leaving Hopper and Paddy Madden to lead the line.
The match got off to a scrappy start, and both teams struggled to take charge of affairs, with Theo Robinson’s deflected effort for the visitors the only incident of note inside the opening twenty minutes.
United created their first opening just before the half an hour mark, when Adelakun played a give and go with Williams, with the former Middlesborough man then driving into the penalty area. He drilled the ball across the face of goal, but it was well defended by the Valiants.
A matter of moments later, Williams was involved again. On this occasion, he picked the ball up on the right flank and manufactured some space, before firing a right footed shot just past the far post.
The two opportunities in quick succession gave the Iron a obvious lift, as Adelakun and then Williams once more had shots from distance. The latter of which tested Vale ‘keeper Jak Alnwick, forcing him to parry.
It seemed as though Williams was instrumental in everything the home side did. On the stroke of half time he fed Clarke down the right, and the full back sent a thunderous drive towards the near post - a drive that flashed just wide.
Clarke’s effort would be the last action of the opening period, as both teams walked off level at the break.
After the restart, Alexander’s side quickly asserted more pressure onto the Vale backline, and more particularly Adelakun. The winger had two attempts at goal in a ten minute spell at the start of the half. The first saw him fire a right footed shot just wide of goal, and then he so nearly caught Alnwick out with an effort from 45 yards. The ball looked to have been drifting harmlessly wide, but it veered goalwards at the last, forcing the visiting stopper to scramble.
The home side’s patience paid off on the hour though, as Madden ended his mini goal drought, and in turn sent the Iron fans crazy. The Irishman peeled off round the back post, and was picked out by Dawson, whose cross was headed home powerfully by the United number nine.
Madden nearly doubled his tally for the afternoon minutes later when he was played in by Williams, following a swift counter attack. The striker opened up his body and curled the ball towards the far corner, however it was just too close to Alnwick, who gathered comfortably.
The shots were raining down on the Vale 'keeper’s goal, with Adelakun the next to try his luck. His shot took a wicked deflection, which looked to have caught the Vale stopper out, but he got down well to save with his feet.
It was the turn of Hopper to take aim next, as a result of Dawson’s powerful and purposeful run, leading to the striker being played in. He subsequently then went for goal, but marginally sliced wide.
The visitors were spurred on by the five additional minutes which were signalled by the fourth official, but they couldn’t break down a resolute United back four. The Iron will now go to Sheffield United on the final day of the season knowing a spot in the play-offs is still very much a possibility.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Clarke, Mirfin, Wallace, Townsend, Adelakun (King 88), Ness, Dawson, Williams (Laird 90+2), Madden, Hopper (Wootton 88).
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Vose, Goode, Burdett.
Port Vale: Alnwick, Purkiss (Moore 73), Dickinson, Streete, McGivern, Duffy, O’Connor (Kelly 73), Foley, Hooper, Brown, Robinson (Leitch-Smith 65).
Substitutes not used: Boot, Birchall, Yates, Turner.
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