The Iron rounded off their pre-season campaign with a battling 1-0 victory over Hartlepool United at Victoria Park.Kevin van Veen got the only goal of the game, finishing from close range after a superbly delivered cross from Josh Morris.
Both sides exchanged possession in the opening stages, and neither were able to muster an opportunity, until Morris made a burst down the left flank. Following Stephen Dawson winning the ball on the halfway line, the midfielder was able to get past his man and deliver an inch perfect cross for van Veen, who duly obliged, tapping the ball home at the far post.
Van Veen’s strike really set the visitors on their way, and soon after they created another opening. This time van Veen was the instigator, as he laid the ball off crisply for Hakeeb Adelakun, but the winger could only drag his shot wide from just inside the penalty area.
The pressure was constant, with United were making real inroads down the Pools’ right side, and would have doubled their lead if not for some alert goalkeeping from Trevor Carson, who grasped Conor Townsend’s cross, as several Iron players queued up to fire into an empty net.
Despite persistent pressing from Graham Alexander’s side, they did survive a scare just after the half-way mark, when Billy Paynter rose high in the box to glance a header just past the outside of Luke Daniels’ goal.
Five minutes before the interval, the Iron nearly did get that deserved second, with van Veen going close to making it two on the afternoon for himself too. The Dutchman was alive when Carson spilled Adelakun’s corner from the left, but his snap shot was snuffed out by some last ditch defending from Hartlepool’s Toto Nsiala.
1-0 is what it would remain at the break however, with the half time whistle being blown shortly after van Veen’s chance.
United quickly settled back into their rhythm at the start of the second period, and they created the first opportunity too. Following some industrious play from Tom Hopper on the right hand side of the field, the ball was set back for Morris, who in turn found van Veen in space. The striker then had the presence of mind to create some space for himself, but his shot was well saved by Carson in the Hartlepool goal.
The away side were almost made to rue van Veen’s missed opportunity though, as Pools striker Paynter pounced upon a loose ball inside the Iron six yard box. He was prevented from levelling things up however, by some fine work from Daniels, who stood up and repelled the attempt.
Another great chance then fell the hosts’ way, with full back Jake Carroll rattling the crossbar from the left corner of the penalty area, after some neat approach play.
Hartlepool weren’t finished there either, and they spurned possibly their best opening moments later. Some great work from a free kick unhinged the United defence, allowing substitute Nathan Thomas to get a shot off, but he sliced the ball wide from close range.
With ten minutes left to play, it looked as though Hartlepool would get their equaliser, with Lewis Alessandra picking up the ball and rounding Daniels in the Iron goal. He could only find the side netting however, as a combination of clever goalkeeping and a tight angle contributed to the Pools man missing the target.
Hopper then relieved some of the pressure which the United back four were being put under, breaking through the middle and drawing a foul in a dangerous position on the edge of the box. Morris took the subsequent free kick, and went inches from sealing the victory, but he got just a little too much elevation on his strike.
A swift Scunthorpe counter attack then followed shortly after, resulting in substitute Duane Holmes testing Carson from a tight angle.
United were then able to close out the game with relative ease after stemming the tide of Hartlepool attacks mid-way through the second half, to end their pre-season campaign with a well earned victory.
Hartlepool United: Carson, Magnay (Richards 73), Nsiala, Jones (Harrison 86), Carroll, Woods (Donnelly 77), Deverdics (Laurent 64), Hawkins, Alessandra (Oates 87), Amond (Thomas 64), Paynter.
Substitutes not used: Bartlett.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wallace (Goode 60), Mirfin, Dawson, van Veen, Morris, Bishop, Hopper (Holmes 83), Adelakun (Williams 62), Townsend, Clarke.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Ness, Wiseman, Laird, King, Wootton, Sutton.
Attendance: 1,136 (56 away).
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