United ground out a well-earned point at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, despite going behind in the first half to an Ollie Clarke header.The equaliser came twenty minutes from time thanks to Paddy Madden’s anticipation of a poor back pass, but the Iron striker wasn’t credited with the goal – it was the unlucky Tom Lockyer who got the final touch.
After the goal, the confidence grew and, if any of the teams were going to nick it, it would have more than likely been the away side.
Graham Alexander had made four changes for the game, drafting in Conor Townsend, Duane Holmes, Sam Mantom and Tom Hopper for Harry Toffolo, Stephen Dawson, Matt Crooks and Kevin van Veen.
United got the game underway and almost found an opener within 30 seconds, but Holmes’ shot when he had a clear sight of goal was straight at Joe Lumley.
Rovers then started to settle into the game as they too had a great opportunity, but Luke Daniels got a strong hand to Rory Gaffney’s shot to push it out for a corner.
United should have gone behind after eight minutes, but last ditch blocks on the line from Murray Wallace prevented a goal.
After the frantic opening, the game slowed down a little, and it was the 28th minute before another decent opportunity, and that chance fell to Gaffney once more, but his flicked shot from a good cross on the right went narrowly wide.
Rovers took the lead seven minutes before the break when Ollie Clarke headed home from a whipped corner, despite there appearing to be a push on Mirfin in the lead up to the set-play.
That goal would be the last action of an even first half, with Clarke’s header the difference.
Alexander made one change at the break, with David Mirfin being replaced by Charlie Goode.
The first major opportunity of the second period fell to the hosts, but Daniels held well from Billy Bodin’s stinging shot.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Iron found their first sight on goal, but Sam Mantom’s effort was deflected wide. The resulting corner was then dealt with by the Rovers defence.
The equaliser almost came on 70 minutes after Madden crossed into Mantom – his shot was deflected into the path of substitute Craig Davies, but his effort went over.
Then the equaliser did come a minute later as Madden ran through on goal after Ellis Harrison’s misplaced pass – but the unfortunate Lockyer saw his deflection evade Lumley in the Rovers net.
Madden looked to have given the Iron a dramatic lead after 82 minutes as he fired home Davies’ cross, but the linesman had his flag up.
Just as the fourth official announced four minutes of injury time the hosts almost nicked it – but the Rovers man could only fire wide from the edge of the box.
That would be the final chance of an action-packed game as the Iron held strong to earn a valuable point.
Bristol Rovers: Lumley, Leadbitter, Lockyer, O.Clarke, Lines, Harris (J.Clarke, 65), Bodin, Sinclair, James (Harrison, 60), Gaffney, Sweeney.
Substitutes not used: Mildenhall, Mansell, Montano, Moore, Burn.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wallace, Mirfin (Goode, 46), Madden, Morris, Bishop, Hopper (Davies, 60), Mantom, Holmes, Townsend, Sutton.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Dawson, van Veen, Toney, Crooks.
Attendance: 8,784 (283 away).
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