The Iron won 1-0 against Bristol Rovers at Glanford Park, following a dramatic last minute winner.
Late drama saw the Iron take all three points thanks to a Neal Bishop header in stoppage time. He put his attempt into the corner of the net, after Lee Novak’s cross into the area.
Manager Graham Alexander made a couple of changes from the side that drew 0-0 in the Emirates FA Cup first round at Northampton last weekend. Charlie Goode and Neal Bishop both started, whilst goalkeeper Matt Gilks was handed the captain’s armband in Rory McArdle’s absence with the Northern Ireland national squad.
Within the first minute, the Iron were on the attack. Hakeeb Adelakun came forward with the ball, playing it wide right to Jordan Clarke. The full-back took a shot, with the ball bouncing off a Bristol Rovers player back to Adelakun, who crashed a powerful attempt off another defender, going out for a corner kick.
Five minutes later and it was the visitors who looked dangerous going forward. Rory Gaffney received the ball inside the area at a tight angle, but his driven strike hit the side netting.
They came close again in the 18th minute. Captain Chris Lines stood over a free-kick slightly to the left-hand side and he curled his effort just over the crossbar.
Adelakun was involved in more action for the Iron halfway through the first half. He intercepted a pass outside of the 18-yard box, taking a shot that went over the bar.
Tom Hopper then nearly capitalised on a Rovers error. The striker raced behind the defence, after a weak back pass, but goalkeeper Adam Smith beat him to the ball and earnt his side a free-kick.
In the 34th minute, Goode was on defensive duty and did well to block Tom Nichols’ shot from inside the area after he had wriggled past Hopper on the left side.
It was Adelakun again who was proving to be a big threat going forward for the Iron. He got past his opposition with some trickery and flashed a stinging shot towards the net, but Smith was alert getting down quickly to his right to parry the shot away.
United came extremely close to taking the lead in the 39th minute. A corner found Bishop at the far post and the midfielder tried to bundle the ball in, but a Rovers defender cleared off the line to keep the scores level.
The first bit of action after half-time came in the 55th minute. Lee Novak chipped the ball in the air for Hopper, who struck a half-volley attempt at the goalkeeper towards the left of the box. This was followed up by another chance for the striker, but this effort was blocked from a similar position to the first.
Scunthorpe nearly had their opening goal five minutes later. A Clarke cross was headed away, but Murray Wallace bulleted a header back into the box and Tom Broadbent nearly turned the ball into his own-goal. The ball bounced just wide of the right post, with the ‘keeper out of position.
Gilks then made a fine save for the Iron. Stuart Sinclair drilled a shot after a Gaffney throw, but the shotstopper held onto the ball.
Lee Brown made a vital block for Bristol Rovers in the 64th minute to deny Novak from scoring. The striker took the ball past the goalkeeper, but the left-back was in a good position to keep the ball out.
After a quiet spell in the game, the Iron had an opportunity from a corner when Cameron Burgess rose the highest, but his header was deflected over.
In the 84th minute Gilks made another save to block at the away side. Daniel Leadbitter sent a cross along the floor towards the near post, but the goalkeeper smothered the ball before it reached Ellis Harrison.
Substitute Paddy Madden was presented with a great chance in the 90th minute. Duane Holmes twisted and turned on the right, getting to the byline and pulling the ball back to Madden, but the striker hit his effort over the bar.
There was another chance for the Iron in stoppage time. Kevin van Veen delicately curled a free-kick from the right into the area, however Goode couldn’t direct his header towards the target.
However, moments later, Scunthorpe found a winner right at the death. Novak kept the attack alive by putting the ball back into the area for Bishop to head the ball into the corner of the net and give his side the 1-0 win.
Scunthorpe United: Gilks, Clarke, Wallace, Ojo, Morris (Holmes, 46’), Bishop, Hopper (Madden, 70’), Adelakun (van Veen, 79’), Novak, Goode, Burgess.
Unused substitutes: Watson, Crofts, Sutton, Butroid.
Bristol Rovers: Smith, Leadbitter, Brown, Sercombe, Harrison, Nichols (Partington, 58’), Lines (c), Broadbent, Sinclair, Gaffney, Menayese.
Unused substitutes: Slocombe, Burn, Broom, Telford, Moore, Bola.
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge.
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