United produced a scintillating display to beat Gillingham 5-0 at Glanford Park.The visitors couldn’t handle the Iron all afternoon, and succumbed to strikes from Kevin van Veen, Josh Morris (two), Jordan Clarke and Tom Hopper on a fabulous day for Graham Alexander and his side.
There was just one change from Tuesday night’s victory over AFC Wimbledon, as Duane Holmes came in to replace Luke Williams in midfield.
Things got off to a dream start for Alexander’s men, and there were no prizes for guessing who opened the scoring. After finding the back of the net from a stupendous distance against Fleetwood Town, van Veen was at it again. The Dutchman picked the ball up from about 30 yards out, and sent a speculative effort towards goal, an effort which was too hot to handle for Gills stopper Stuart Nelson, who spilled the ball into the goal.
It was a blistering opening to the match from the Iron, with the shots continuing to rain down on Nelson’s goal. Morris soon followed van Veen in trying his luck, dragging his shot wide from distance.
One could have so easily been two for van Veen too. When Holmes whipped a dangerous free kick into the box, United’s number ten rose highest and glanced his header goalwards. Nelson did well though, raising a strong hand to tip the ball over his crossbar.
The visitors soon came back into the game, with former Iron man Josh Wright testing Luke Daniels from the edge of the area. Daniels comfortably dealt with the effort however, as he held on well.
Wright’s strike did little to alter the pattern of play though, with van Veen threatening to steal the show for not the first time this season. Nelson was a spectator on 17 minutes, as the United frontman flashed a shot past the far post.
Scunthorpe wouldn’t have to wait too long for that second, as Morris was hauled down just inside the area on 20 minutes. The midfielder was soon back up to tuck the spot kick away too, dispatching it past Nelson with ease.
United’s two goal lead could have been halved shortly after, when the ball fell to Deji Oshilaja in the penalty area. His right footed drive looked to be heading for goal, but Daniels was out superbly to deny him.
Justin Edinburgh’s side looked as though they’d restricted the Iron to a two goal lead going into the break, but Clarke had other ideas. The full back was unmarked when Morris’ cross came in from the right, leaving him with the simple task of glancing the ball into the far corner of the goal, leaving Nelson with no chance.
It would indeed prove to be the last action of a half which the home side dominated from start to finish.
There was no sign of the Iron letting up at the start of the second half. Hakeeb Adelakun went in search of a fourth, and he nearly got it, creating space before stinging the palms of Nelson with a low drive.
Just before the hour mark, the fourth did arrive. It was a second of the afternoon for Morris also, and another moment to forget for Nelson, who allowed the winger’s left footed strike to wriggle underneath him, and into the back of the net.
Clarke then went looking for a brace of his own. The full back took aim just in from the right flank, and forced Nelson to make a smart save, getting down to his right to palm the ball away.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, a rare opportunity presented itself to the the away side, when Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was found, unmarked in the six yard box. He couldn’t quite rise high enough to guide his header though, and subsequently missed the target.
Just as United thought things couldn’t get much better, they did. Hopper was the next to get in on the act, tapping home from close range after Adelakun had done superbly well to trick his way through the Gillingham defence.
The Iron had an opportunity to make it six when substitute Scott Laird was denied from the penalty spot. The miss did little to dampen the spirits at Glanford Park though, with the full time whistle being blown moments later.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wallace, Mirfin, Dawson, van Veen (Wootton 73), Morris (Laird 85), Bishop, Hopper, Holmes (Adelakun 32), Townsend, Clarke.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Wiseman, King, Goode.
Gillingham: Nelson, Ehmer, Oshilaja, Byrne, Knott (List 65), Wright, Emmanuel Thomas, Osadebe (Oldaker 75), Donnelly (McDonald 65), Pask, Konchesky.
Substitutes not used: Hadler, Hessenthaler, Dack, Dickenson.
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