It was a day of mixed emotions for the Iron, as they comfortably beat Sheffield United 2-0 at Bramall Lane, but narrowly missed out on the final League One play-off place.Goals from Tom Hopper and Paddy Madden either side of the break secured a routine victory for the visitors, who only finished outside the top six on goal difference.
Graham Alexander made no alterations from the home success over Port Vale, opting to leave things as they were going into the match.
Luke Daniels started in between the sticks, with a back four in front of him which was formed by Jordan Clarke, David Mirfin, Murray Wallace and Conor Townsend.
Captain Stephen Dawson partnered Jamie Ness in the centre of midfield and Luke Williams, along with Hakeeb Adelakun, occupied the flanks. In attack, Hopper partnered Irishman Madden, fresh from his winner against the Valiants.
It was a front foot start from the visitors, as Adelakun burst forward and ran at the Blades defence. The winger had three options, in Hopper, Williams and Madden, but he slightly overhit his pass, resulting in the home side clearing their lines.
Alexander’s side soon had some defending of their own to do though, when the ball dropped kindly for Chris Basham in the penalty area. He couldn’t find a way past Townsend however, who courageously threw his body in front of the shot to block the ball.
In similar fashion too Adelakun, as Williams made a driving run at the heart of Sheffield United’s back four. The midfielder decided to shoot, and in doing so tested George Long in the Blades goal with his dipping effort.
The match had an end-to-end feel to it, with former United man Billy Sharp rifling a strike inches past the post midway through the opening period. After playing a neat give and go on the edge of the area, the striker lashed an effort with his right foot, an effort which flashed past Daniels, who was rooted to the spot.
Five minutes before the interval though, Hopper sent the travelling Iron fans into hysterics. Following Adelakun sliding a perfectly weighted throughball to Madden, which the Irishman poked at Long, Hopper was primed and ready to slot home into the back of an empty Sheffield United net.
Adelakun had a chance to double the Iron’s lead ahead of the half time whistle, but his curling right footed strike was well held by Long.
It would prove to be the last action of the half, with referee Michael Bull blowing to signal the end of the opening period shortly after.
Chances were rare in the early stages of the second half. Sharp’s low drive from distance was probably the pick of the bunch, as he drew a smart save out of Daniels, who got down quickly to save.
After that quiet start to proceedings in the second period, breathing space was put between the two sides by Madden. United cut through the Blades defence like a knife through butter, with Williams, Adelakun and Hopper all involved, before the ball eventually was played to the Irishman, whose deflected strike deceived Long and squirmed into the bottom corner of the goal.
The Iron then dominated the match from there on in, and had chances to add to their tally late on. Reminiscent of his run and cross for the elusive goal against Port Vale, Dawson made a strong charge down the right flank, crossing for Madden at the far post. The striker sent a header back across goal, but he would be frustrated on two fronts, as Long pushed the ball away and he was too flagged for offside.
Blades substitute Ben Whiteman went close to finding a consolation for the home side, moments before the clock ticked passed the ninety minute mark with a well struck shot from the edge of the area. However, it was of no trouble for Daniels, as he watched the ball sail into the stand behind his goal.
Sheffield United: Long, Basham, Coutts (Reed 78), Sharp, Done, Woolford (Cuvelier 62), McEveley, Baptiste, Adams, Edgar, Hammond (Whiteman 46).
Substitutes not used: Sammon, McGahey, Kelly, Ramsdale.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Clarke, Mirfin (Goode 85) , Wallace, Townsend, Dawson, Ness, Williams, Adelakun, Hopper, Madden
Substitutes not used: Laird, Vose, Anyon, King, Burdett, Wootton.
Attendance: 21,445 (2,930 away).
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