The Iron returned to winning ways, as they comfortably defeated Millwall 3-0 at Glanford Park to ensure they ended the year undefeated at home.A brace from Paddy Madden and a Hakeeb Adelakun strike just ahead of half time made sure of the points for United, who maintained their place at the top of the League One table.
Graham Alexander made four changes to the side which started the game against Rochdale, as Jordan Clarke, Harry Toffolo, Adelakun and Tom Hopper replaced Scott Wiseman, Conor Townsend, Duane Holmes and Kevin van Veen in the starting eleven.
There was incident right from the off, with Hopper making a burst into the Millwall penalty area inside of nine seconds. The forward went down under the challenge of a Lions defender, but referee Roger East waved away the subsequent appeals for a spot kick.
United were firmly on top in the opening minutes of proceedings, and Adelakun was the danger - running at, and probing the visitors’ backline.
It was then the turn of Neil Harris’ team to do some pressing of their own, with Luke Daniels forced into two smart saves in quick succession. The first of which was from Shaun Williams, whose spectacular long range volley meant the Iron ‘keeper had to dive to his right in order to prevent the ball finding the top corner of the goal. That save was superbly backed up by another minutes later, as Lee Gregory was denied at the near post.
Adelakun was proving a constant threat and, just after the half an hour mark, he went close to opening the scoring. His driving run deserved a finish at the end of it. However, Jordan Archer in the Millwall goal saved well, as the Scunthorpe winger tested him with a low strike.
It wasn’t long before the visiting defence was breached though. Josh Morris again was the man to provide it, flighting in a perfect cross for Madden at the near post, who flicked the ball expertly into the opposing corner of the goal.
No sooner had the home side found the net once, they were then netting for a second time. It was a case of persistence paying off for Adelakun and, after a fine first half display, he rounded it off with a goal. Clarke’s initial work was superb, as he carried the ball over the halfway line and fed the winger, whose second time finish was unerring.
Adelakun’s strike was the perfect way to end an impressive first showing, for both the winger and his teammates, who went in two ahead at the break.
Opportunities were few and far between at the beginning of the second period. Adelakun and Madden combined for the best opening up until that point, but Neal Bishop’s goal-bound shot was blocked well.
A third was not long in coming though, as Madden got his second of the afternoon. Credit to Hopper, whose determination won the ball back from the visitors. The forward then had the presence of mind to square for his strike-partner, who slotted home into the corner of the net.
Madden’s second gave United that all important breathing space, and more chances soon followed. Full back Toffolo optimised the confidence flowing through the side, as he burst past four bodies, before drawing a save out of Archer.
That hat-trick for Scunthorpe’s number nine looked as though it had arrived on 77 minutes. However, he would be frustrated, with his half-volley flying just wide of the goal.
More half chances came the way of the home side as the game came towards its conclusion, but three is what Alexander and his side would ultimately have to settle for, with referee East bringing a halt to proceedings shortly afterwards.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wallace, Dawson, Madden, Morris, Bishop, Hopper (Mantom, 87), Toffolo, Adelakun, Goode, Clarke.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Wiseman, Williams, van Veen, Smallwood, Holmes.
Millwall: Archer, Martin (Worrall, 46), Hutchinson, Craig, Williams, Thompson, Gregory, Onyedinma (Morison, 46), Romeo (Butcher, 74), Ferguson, O’Brien.
Substitutes not used: King, Cummings, Nelson, Abdou.
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