United turned in a battling performance to beat Shrewsbury Town 1-0 at Greenhous Meadow.David Mirfin got the only goal of the game, heading home from inside the penalty area on the stroke of half-time, to send Scunthorpe top of the League One table.
Graham Alexander made two changes to the starting line-up which began the game against Southend United, with Jordan Clarke and Harry Toffolo replacing Scott Wiseman and Conor Townsend respectively.
The Iron had Stephen Dawson to thank early on, as the skipper miraculously cleared a Shrewsbury header off the goal-line. Luke Daniels then did well from the follow up, gathering the ball comfortably.
Daniels was forced into another save just before the half an hour mark, with Shaun Whalley setting his sights from distance. The midfielder’s dipping effort was on target, but the United stopper held on with relative ease.
It took until five minutes from the interval for the visitors to create their first real opening of the match. Kevin van Veen did well to evade an initial challenge, and then went for goal. However, he dragged his strike just wide of the post.
A frustrating half for Scunthorpe looked like it’d end goalless, up until Josh Morris whipped in a dangerous free kick from the right. Mirfin was the man who rose highest, getting the slightest touch on the ball, to glance it into the far corner and send United into the break ahead.
The second period began in the same manner as the first, with both sides struggling to get a foothold in proceedings.
Morris had the first attempt after the restart, as he latched onto a perfectly weighted pass from full-back Harry Toffolo. The winger then got the ball out of his feet and tried to beat Shrews ‘keeper Jayson Leutwiler at the near post, but he could only find the sidenetting.
United continued to knock on the door of the home side, as Paddy Madden hit one from distance shortly after. The Irishman missed the target though, with the ball trickling wide of the goal.
Mickey Mellon’s side weren’t without chances of their own too, and Junior Brown had the home supporters off their seats with a free kick twenty minutes from time. It was of no worry for Daniels though, who watched it drift wide of his left post.
A matter of moments later, United were threatening themselves. Madden and Richie Smallwood initially did well to win the ball on the half-way line, before the latter drove into the penalty area. The loanee then squared for Madden, but the striker poked his shot marginally wide of the target.
On the break looked the Iron’s best bet for that decisive second, as van Veen soon tried his luck, running at the Shrews’ backline, ahead of seeing his strike snuffed out by some good defending from Ryan McGivern.
As time went on, more resolute defending was required from the away side. Clarke did superbly on 79 minutes to cut out the danger, clearing the ball away as Louis Dodds lurked dangerously behind him.
Murray Wallace was the next to clear his lines, and Dodds was the danger man again, with the Scot denying him at the second attempt - conceding a corner in the process.
You couldn’t exactly say the proverbial kitchen sink was thrown at the visitors in the dying embers of the match, but Alexander’s men fought tremendously to close the game out and get their second away victory of the season so far.
Shrewsbury Town: Leutwiler, McGivern, Lancashire, Whalley (Leitch-Smith 63), Ogogo, Dodds, O’Brien (Waring 80), Brown, Grimmer, Deegan, Ebanks-Blake (Mangan 60).
Substitutes not used: Halstead, Black, Sarcevic, Choulay.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wallace, Mirfin (Goode 46), Dawson, Madden (Wiseman 75), van Veen, Morris, Bishop, Toffolo, Holmes (Smallwood 46), Clarke.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Adelakun, Mantom, Margetts.
Attendance: 4,878 (409 away).
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