The Iron beat Northampton Town 3-0 to make it four League One wins in succession. The game saw Duane Holmes get both his sixth and seventh goals of the season, as well as a first strike in Iron colours for Cameron Burgess.
Graham Alexander made two changes to the team that beat the Cobblers 1-0 in an FA Cup first round replay on Tuesday night. Rory McArdle and Neal Bishop returned to the side in place of Conor Townsend and Charlie Goode.
The first attack of the game was led by Murray Wallace driving down the left-wing. The left-back attempted a cross but it was deflected into the path of Hakeeb Adelakun. The winger then tried to put the ball into the box, but he couldn’t guide it towards a head and saw it go out for a goal-kick.
It wasn’t long before Adelakun got back on the ball though as he ran through the midfield and passed the ball onto Holmes running to his right. Holmes read Adelakun’s run in-behind the defence and played the ball in front of him. Adelakun, who scored the match-winner against Town on Tuesday, took the ball in the box and attempted to drive across the face of goal. However, no-one could quite get a touch on it to send it into the goal.
In the seventh minute, Holmes was causing more trouble. A series of neat tricks saw him keep the opposition defence off-balance, allowing him some space inside the box. The winger played it to Funso Ojo, who was running into the box, but the Belgian midfielder couldn’t quite keep it low enough to hit the target.
Adelakun challenged the Northampton right-back with a tricky run down the left-flank. The winger managed to get past him and as a result was brought down on the edge of the box. Adelakun played the free-kick short to Holmes, who laid it off for a shot from Wallace. However, the defender hit it too high to challenge the ‘keeper.
The first real threat on goal came from ex-Iron loanee Matt Crooks. The midfielder passed the ball onto Billy Waters on the right-wing, who crossed the ball back into him. He headed the ball cleanly and sent it whiskers wide of the left post.
John-Joe O’Toole tried his luck from just outside the box after 15 minutes. The midfielder found himself in a pocket of space 20-yards out but his shot went well wide.
The Iron did well to keep Northampton at bay early on in the first-half. The United defence seemed to have control in the air and made intelligent interceptions to stop crosses coming in from the wings, where Town looked their most dangerous.
However, in the 23rd minute, one got away from them as a clearance fell to Waters at the back post. The winger hit a shot towards goal but Matt Gilks stopped it in its tracks.
Minutes later, Matt Grimes had a spectacular effort saved by the Iron ‘keeper. The ball fell to Grimes following a clearance and he hit it from 25-yards out. However, Gilks got enough of a hand to it to keep the shot out. He tried for another within two minutes as Northampton hit the Iron with a counter-attack. Waters cut inside and found Grimes at the edge of the box. However, this time his shot was deflected by the Iron’s defence.
With 15 minutes left in the first-half, Northampton were probing for a lead. Brendan Moloney crossed an inviting ball into the box and found O’Toole’s head with precision. The midfielder made a good connection with the ball but it wasn’t good enough as he guided it wide of the left post.
Burgess did brilliantly to deny Town a goal at the back post in the 30th minute. The 6ft 3in defender rose just in time to intercept Grimes’ free-kick.
Holmes looked impressive going forward in this half, as the winger created another chance with ten minutes left to play. He was played the ball by Tom Hopper and crossed it first-time into the far end of the box. However, it was intercepted before it could reach Adelakun.
Moments later, Adelakun performed a neat turn from 25-yards out which allowed him to run at the Town defence. As he surged forwards, he flicked the ball over the swinging foot of a Cobblers defender and got his shot away. However, it went wide.
Adelakun tore apart Town’s defence in the 41st minute. His cross found Holmes, who made a diagonal run into the box and flicked it past the oncoming ‘keeper. The winger saw the open goal and took the shot as soon as it was possible but David Buchanan jumped in front of it to save the day for the Cobblers, clearing it off the line.
John-Joe O’Toole had to be substituted with a minute left in the first-half as he went down after McArdle won the ball in a tackle. Sam Foley replaced him.
The second-half’s chances were opened by Adelakun, who took the ball towards the back post and shot. However, it was deflected away for a corner.
Lee Novak almost gave the Iron the lead early on in the second-half as he took control of the ball just inside the box, shot and forced a good deflection to keep out the danger.
From the resulting corner, Jordan Clarke was picked out 20-yards from goal. The right-back took on the shot and it took an instinctive save from Ingram to keep it out. However, he couldn’t hold onto the ball and could only force it as far out as Holmes running inside the box. The winger shot with his first touch but was denied this time by the Cobblers defence.
The Iron looked the more likely team to score in the second-half and it was Cameron Burgess, who had been frustrated in the box earlier on, that grabbed the Iron’s first goal. He did so in the 57th minute as Adelakun drove the ball into the six-yard-box from the right-wing where Burgess could tap it home. Only seconds later the goalscorer was required at the other end though as he blocked a shot inside the box.
In the 59th minute, Holmes added a second as he beat the offside trap, went one-on-one with Town ‘keeper Matt Ingram and cheekily chipped the ball over his head.
The game seemed to calm down after the second goal, including a stoppage after 72 minutes where Neal Bishop could receive treatment. The midfielder was deemed okay to continue.
On the counter-attack, the Iron looked lethal. In the 75th minute Holmes burst forward to beat the Town defence and round Ingram before passing the ball into the net for his brace and United’s third.
Town looked to try and salvage something as substitute Dean Bowditch sprinted down the right-wing, into the box and got a shot away. However, Gilks parried it wide for a corner.
Lewis McGugan showed Town’s frustrations as he decided to shoot from over 20 yards out. His shot dipped too late and went clear of the crossbar.
Northampton Town: Ingram (GK), Moloney, Buchanan (c), Taylor, Waters (Bowditch, 80’), Pierre, Long, O’Toole (Foley, 45’), Crooks, Grimes, McGugan.
Unused substitutes: Cornell (GK), Richards, McWilliams, McGivern, Poole.
Scunthorpe United: Gilks (GK), Clarke, Wallace, Ojo, Bishop, Hopper (Goode, 82’), Adelakun, Novak (Madden, 66’), Holmes (Townsend, 76’), Burgess, McArdle (c).
Unused Substitutes: Crofts, van Veen, Sutton, Watson (GK).
Attendance: 5,181 (306 away).
Referee: Michael Salisbury.
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