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31 December 2016

Iron manager Graham Alexander remained upbeat despite seeing his side defeated late on in the New Year’s Eve clash with Bolton Wanderers.

Josh Vela opened the scoring before Neal Bishop equalised for United in a fiercely contested fixture between two sides at the top end of the League One table.

Substitute James Henry’s deflected strike from distance secured Bolton all three points however in a cruel blow right at the end for Alexander’s men.

He told The Iron PlayerHD: “Performance wise, I thought we were excellent.

“We played some great stuff at times and controlled the game for real good periods which, at a place like this, takes a good team and good players to do that.

“Fortune has gone against us at the end with a deflected goal which I thought was very unjust on our performance.

“It’s a bitter blow. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say you weren’t good enough but we were certainly good enough to win that game today.

“We’ve gone behind early on to a poor goal but we continued to play as we wanted to play and caused Bolton a lot of problems.

“For them to snatch a winner at the end with a deflection is a sore one for us all but football’s not fair sometimes so we have to go again.”

The result comes five days since drawing with further promotion rivals Bradford City and Alexander was happy to see the team put in another resolute display, in spite of the eventual outcome.

Peterborough United visit Glanford Park on Monday afternoon and that particular test allows Scunthorpe the chance to bounce back quickly from the setback in Lancashire.

“We’ve come here to a Premier League stadium against players who have mostly played at a higher level,” he continued.

“But we’ve bossed the game and we know there’s lots of courage and lots of ability in that changing room.

“We’ll need it for every game this season and if we play as well as we did today for the remaining 22 matches then we’ll be fine. We’ll win a lot of games.

“You have to take the medicine when it goes against you like that and we’re hurting.

“We’ve been stung today but what I know about this group of men is that they always respond in the right way and that’s what we’re looking for now.

“It’s not just about talking about it, it’s about doing it and the players are determined to go out and do that on Monday.”

One switch was made to the side that lined up at Bradford on Boxing Day as Sam Mantom was given a starting slot in midfield.

Pleased with the former Walsall man’s display, Alexander stressed that there are numerous players in the squad who can come in and perform to the required standard as and when needed.

The boss added: “I thought he was superb. We needed him to get the ball down and play.

“If we’d have gone to take Bolton on at the physical aspect of the game, I think it would have played into their hands.

“They’ve got a lot of big boys in their squad so we had to play in a different way and in the second-half we really got to grips with it.

“He was a major part of the performance today but it’s a shame that we haven’t justified that performance with the result.

“We’ve got several players who we know can play in different systems. We know we can adjust before or during games and we have the players who can go out there and compete.

“They’re an intelligent group of players. It’s about them when they cross over that white line and they do it fantastically well.

“We just have to ensure that we make up for this result in the next few games.”

See much more from Graham Alexander, Sam Mantom and Charlie Goode on The Iron PlayerHD.

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