The Iron produced a terrific display to defeat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Glanford Park.
David Mirfin got what proved to be the only goal of the game in the first half, as he headed a Josh Morris free-kick into the back of the net to set United on their way.
From then on, both teams battled it out, with good opportunities falling in each half. However, in spite of expectant pressure from the Trotters, it was the hosts who ran out winners in the end.
Graham Alexander made one change to the side which started against Millwall last time out, as Scott Wiseman replaced Levi Sutton at right-back.
The home side began the game at an electric pace and, 11 minutes in, they got their deserved reward. Morris’ free-kick from a central position was expertly placed for Mirfin, who glanced home at the back of a crowded penalty area.
Keen to build on that early advantage, United pressed for a quickfire second. An innovative piece of play from Paddy Madden almost teed Morris up at the far post, but the Bolton backline cleared just prior to the ball reaching the Iron winger.
The Trotters created their first real opening on the half an hour mark, with Mark Beevers laying the ball off to an onrushing Dean Moxey. The full-back then took aim, but his left footed arrowed strike flew wide of Joe Anyon’s left post.
Moxey’s attempt was quickly followed up by one from Conor Wilkinson at the near post. Adam Le Fondre’s low cross picked out his strike-partner, who could only manage to flash an effort wide.
Despite a late flurry of visiting attacks, Phil Parkinson’s couldn’t muster up another chance of any note, and the Iron went in at the break ahead.
Alexander opted to make a switch at the interval, with Neal Bishop entering the fray in place of Matt Crooks, who took a knock in the opening period.
Bishop thrust himself into the action straight away, and went close on two occasions to doubling United’s lead. The first of those efforts was all his own work, as he made a barnstorming run through the middle before hitting a low shot at Mark Howard.
He was then within a whisker of finding the net minutes later. After Stephen Dawson had been robbed of possession in the box, the ball broke to Bishop on the edge of the area and, following a deflection off a Trotters defender, the Iron man had to agonisingly watch as his shot clipped the outside of the post.
More fine individual play from Madden on the hour saw yet another opportunity come Scunthorpe’s way. The Irishman showed excellent close control to spin away from two Bolton defenders, and then took aim with a shot that Howard gathered comfortably.
The visitors thought they’d found their leveller on 73 minutes when substitute Max Clayton rose highest to connect with a Filipe Morais free-kick from the right. Anyon reacted superbly though, and palmed the ball away from danger.
After getting his 13th assist of the season earlier on in the match, Morris nearly got in on the act in the final quarter of proceedings. Bishop’s threaded pass was perfectly weighted for the winger to run onto, and he hit a left footed shot that Howard did very well to save.
As the match ticked towards it’s conclusion, the Iron’s rearguard action was there to see, with bodies being thrown on the line to preserve the slender lead. Alexander’s men did indeed hold out, to take a crucial three points.
Scunthorpe United: Anyon, Wiseman, Wallace, Mirfin, Dawson (Davies, 90+3), Madden (Mantom, 86), Morris, Townsend, Toney, Ness, Crooks (Bishop, 46).
Substitutes not used: Watson, van Veen, Holmes, Sutton.
Bolton Wanderers: Howard, Moxey, Dervite, Beevers, Vela, Spearing, Pratley (Henry, 62), Morais, Wheater, Wilkinson (Clayton, 62), Le Fondre.
Substitutes not used: Turner, Karacan, Long, Osede, Wabara.
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