United fell to a late defeat at Bolton on Saturday, as efforts from Josh Vela and James Henry meant that Neal Bishop’s second-half equaliser counted for little in the end. The Iron travelled to the Macron Stadium to face third-placed Bolton Wanderers, having made only one change to the side that drew a blank with Bradford City on Boxing Day.

Sam Mantom was the man to come in at the expense of Tom Hopper.

United started confidently and carved out a superb opportunity after neat work down the left wing just three minutes in. Josh Morris and Harry Toffolo’s interchange ended with the later laying it across the box to Sam Mantom, who then set Paddy Madden up for a curler, which stung the palms of Ben Alnwick.

More pressure down the left a few minutes later saw Madden fire in a dangerous ball, but no-one in green was there to tap home.

Bolton opened the scoring after 16 minutes as Gary Madine’s knockdown was hammered past Luke Daniels from 20-yards-out by Vela. The goal came against the run of play, as the Iron had started much the better of the two teams.

The Iron set about getting themselves back into the game soon after the opener, and did so after 24 minutes when Morris’ cross was headed home by Madden, but the linesman deemed the United man to be in an offside position.

Wanderers were next to pile forward and, after the ball found its way across the box to Zach Clough, the youngster really should have done better to keep his effort down.

Seven minutes before the break Sammy Ameobi found the space to shoot on the right wing, but his low effort never troubled Daniels, who held well.

That Ameobi effort would be the last chance of an entertaining half, with United unlucky to be behind in all honesty.

The second half started much slower than the first, and the game had to wait until the 53rd minute for a real chance. That opportunity fell to the hosts, but Clough’s curler went wide.

United were inches away from the equaliser when Charlie Goode’s headed effort was cleared off the line for another corner. The resulting corner saw Goode lay off to Mantom, but his effort went wide.

With the Iron well on top, another chance came their way a few minutes after the previous. The left boot of Morris crossed, but Madden’s header was tipped over.

Then, from the corner, the home side failed to clear and Neal Bishop was there to turn and hammer it home to level the scores at 1-1.

Buoyed by the equaliser, the Iron piled forward again but Adelakun’s lay off to Madden saw the striker fire high and wide.

The game then became a scrappy affair as it entered into the final ten minutes, with the best chance for a while falling to Bolton five minutes from the end, but Madine fired well over.

Bolton almost found a winner with two minutes of normal time to go but, after a wonderful corner, the attacker could only manage to nod it wide – to the relief of the 1,308 travelling Iron fans.

As the game entered into stoppage time, of which there were six, it was the home side that were over a free kick in a dangerous position, but Jay Spearing fire well wide.

A half chance fell to Mantom when Bolton keeper Alnwick rushed out to clear but only managed to find the midfielder – but his first time effort from 30 yards went just wide, but it would have been an extraordinary goal.

Bolton won it a minute later, when substitute James Henry’s shot took a deflection and evaded Daniels to make it 2-1.

The Iron will be looking to bounce back on Bank Holiday Monday when they host Peterborough United.

Bolton Wanderers:
Alnwick, Beavers, Vela, Spearing, Clough (Henry, 83), Madine, A.Taylor, Ameobi, Wilson (Osede, 51), Wheater, Thorpe.
Substitutes not used: Turner, Moxey, C. Taylor, Anderson, Clayton.

Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wallace, Dawson, Madden (Hopper, 90+2), Morris, Bishop, Toffolo, Adelakun (van Veen, 78), Mantom, Goode, Clarke.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Wiseman, Williams, Smallwood, Holmes.

Attendance: 17,062 (1,308 away).

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