Scunthorpe United bowed out of the EFL Cup, after slipping to a 2-1 (AET) defeat, at the hands of Championship side Bristol City at Glanford Park.City had the better of the opening period, and deservedly took the lead through midfielder Bobby Reid. However, the Iron fought back - equalising on the hour through a Josh Morris penalty. The visitors got what proved to be the winner though, seven minutes into extra time, with substitute Tammy Abraham firing home from close range.
Graham Alexander made just the two changes heading into the match, which saw Duane Holmes replaced in the starting eleven by Hakeeb Adelakun, who impressed after coming on for the American in the 5-0 victory over Gillingham at the weekend, and Charlie Goode came into the heart of the defence in place of David Mirfin.
Possession was with the Robins in the early moments of the match, and it would be they who’d create a flurry of chances, just ahead of the ten minute mark. Luke Freeman firstly saw his initial drive tipped over the crossbar by Luke Daniels, who reached up superbly to deny the midfielder.
The resulting corner then brought about another opportunity for Lee Johnson’s side, as Aden Flint’s downward header struck the outside of Daniels’ post, leading to a frantic few seconds inside United’s penalty area before the ball was cleared.
City will maybe feel they should have taken the lead on 15 minutes, and they would have done if not for a terrific reflex save from Daniels to foil Callum O’Dowda from close range.
The Iron were defending with tremendous resolve, with the away side continuing to apply the pressure. Daniels was called into action again, making two fine stops in the process, and then captain Stephen Dawson heroically hacked the ball away off the goal-line to preserve the 0-0 scoreline.
Johnson’s men finally breached the Iron defence though, nine minutes ahead of the interval. Following Josh Brownhill’s thunderous strike crashing off the post, the ball fell to midfielder Reid, who had the simplest of tasks, as he slotted the ball home from 12 yards out.
After Reid’s opener, United pressed for an equaliser, but the Robins held out, to keep a 1-0 lead at the break.
There was a renewed sense of purpose to the Iron’s play at the beginning of the second half, and they created a good opening too. Kevin van Veen, who’d been kept quiet up until that point, latched onto a long ball, and tested Frankie Fielding with a curling right footed effort from the edge of the box.
It was a case of persistence paying off for Alexander and his team, as 15 minutes after the restart, things were all square. Initial neat link up play on the right flank between Jordan Clarke and Dawson got the latter into the penalty area, where he was tripped - leaving referee Ross Joyce with no option but to point to the spot. This then left Morris to repeat what he did against Gillingham, as he finished with ease.
Morris’ equaliser spurred Scunthorpe on, and van Veen set about completing the turnaround. Fresh off the bench, Holmes nearly made an immediate impact, squaring the ball for the Dutchman, who saw his shot blocked.
Despite their positive second half display, the hosts were almost hit with a sucker punch 20 minutes from time, as Chelsea loanee Abraham slid the ball under Daniels, and looked to have found the back of the net. He would have done if not for what can only be described as remarkable defending from Goode, with the defender making a miraculous recovery to clear the ball off the line.
Abraham then went mightily close to breaking Scunthorpe hearts when he broke free in the penalty area. Daniels was out fast to meet the striker however, saving well with his body.
Daniels’ save kept the score at 1-1, and meant the match would go the distance, and into 30 minutes of extra time.
Seven minutes into the extra time period, Abraham did manage to get his goal - receiving the ball in the area, and then finishing into the roof of the net, past a diving Daniels.
United continued to probe and, ten minutes before the end, Holmes went within a whisker of levelling the game at 2-2. Superb overlapping full-back play from Scott Wiseman set the chance up for the ex-Huddersfield man, who tucked the ball inches wide of the post, much to the despair of both the crowd and Holmes himself.
Opportunities subsequently fell the way of Conor Townsend and then Morris, but the home side couldn’t find a second, leaving them to exit the competition after a valiant effort against the Championship side.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wallace, Goode, Dawson, van Veen, Morris, Bishop (Wiseman, 105), Hopper (Wootton, 87), Adelakun (Holmes, 60), Townsend, Clarke.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Laird, King, Mirfin.
Bristol City: Fielding, Little, Flint, Williams, Brownhill, O'Dowda, Golbourne, Reid (Tomlin, 67), Freeman (De Girolamo, 101), Wilbraham (Abraham, 67), Pack.
Substitutes not used: Lucic, Garita, Kodjia, Magnusson.
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