United recorded an important 1-0 home win over Walsall on Saturday, with Ryan Yates scoring the decisive goal.
His diving header on 76 minutes secured a victory which tightens Scunthorpe’s grip on sixth place in the League One play-off zone, moving three points clear of seventh place.
It was our second win in succession and fifth match without defeat.
The Iron named an unchanged side from the one that won 1-0 at Charlton Athletic the previous week.
The away side tried to press early on but United were equal to it. Then, Kieron Morris’s free-kick from the right side was headed goalwards by Jon Guthrie, but it drifted over the crossbar.
With six minutes on the clock, Scunthorpe had the ball in the net. The ball was played down the left with Conor Townsend feeding the cross into the box from Ivan Toney’s tee-up. Jordan Clarke controlled the cross and Yates stabbed the ball into the net, but it was ruled out for offside.
Four minutes later, Matt Gilks was tested as a snapshot from the edge of the box from Julien Ngoy stung the fingers of Gilks, but the Iron ‘keeper saved comfortably.
In the 11th minute, there was another chance for the Iron as Josh Morris surged down the left wing. His low cross found Toney, who was tightly marshalled. He wriggled free and angled an effort goalwards, with Yates not able to get a further touch as Roberts gathered.
The pressure continued from the Iron, as Morris saw a cross bounce through to Clarke. His cross was then cleared, but Morris won it back. His cross deflected to Roberts with handball appeals waved away.
On 17 minutes, there was then almost an opening on the left as Duane Holmes got the better of the full-back before slipping Toney into the area. He checked back as Hakeeb Adelakun ran into the area, but the ‘keeper did well to gather.
There was then a delay as assistant referee Helen Byrne indicated she couldn’t continue and she was replaced by fourth official Ian Smedley, who was replaced in his previous role by local referee Rob Atkin.
In the 31st minute, there was a great take from Gilks as Ngoy battled for the ball following a right-winged cross. From the distribution, Funso Ojo looked to cause a nuisance of himself by blocking two clearances and forced a slice before Roberts gathered.
With 38 minutes on the clock, United won a free-kick on the right side of the 18-yard box. Morris attempted to curl the ball home but it cannoned back into play off Liam Roberts’ left-hand post.
In the 43rd minute, Amadou Bakayoko tried a spectacular effort as he controlled a left-winged cross in the area. Rory McArdle blocked the attempt for a Saddlers corner, from which nothing came.
After the half-time break, Gilks was forced into a fine save down to his left to deny Luke Leahy.
Soon after, there was a Scunthorpe change as Cameron McGeehan replaced Adelakun. There was then a good move from the Iron as McGeehan received the ball in the area and danced around the Walsall defence. His final touch brought the ball to Morris, with Townsend’s cross just about dealt with by Roberts.
On 60 minutes, the visitors surged forward down the left before the ball was fed to Bakayoko, who forced Gilks into a fine save down to his left.
Four minutes later, Ojo drew a great save from Roberts low down to his right, as he pushed his 20-yard effort around the post. It led to a corner, which was headed towards goal by Clarke, but the ball was cleared to the edge where Ojo struck the ball ferociously, but only into a defender.
With around 20 minutes remaining, Lee Novak replaced Toney as United looked to freshen up their attacking options.
In the 73rd minute, Clarke pulled the ball back to Holmes, who hung a cross in the air for McGeehan. He won the header, but it went just wide of the mark.
Then, two minutes later, Oztumer floated a free-kick over the wall and wide of the target as Walsall still threatened.
Nevertheless, on 76 minutes, United took the lead with a Yates diving header into the bottom corner. The ball came into the box from the left from Townsend, it surpassed McGeehan’s header, but there was the on-loan Nottingham Forest man to send the ball into the corner and net his second goal for the club.
There were few more real chances, with four minutes of stoppage time given, as United successfully saw the game out and recorded three valuable points.
Scunthorpe United: Gilks, Clarke, Townsend, Wallace, Ojo, Toney (Novak, 69), Morris, Adelakun (McGeehan, 55), Holmes (Vermijl, 90), McArdle, Yates.
Substitutes not used: Watson, Bishop, Hopper, Burgess.
Walsall: Roberts, Devlin, Leahy, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Chambers, Kinsella (Cuvelier, 81), Dobson, Morris (Shaibu, 81), Bakayoko, Ngoy (Oztumer, 70).
Substitutes not used: Gillespie, Flanagan, Roberts, Kouhyar.
Sponsors and Iron Bar man of the match: Ryan Yates.
Jaik Thompson’s man of the match: Duane Holmes.