Manager Stuart McCall was delighted to just see his players win, as they defeated Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 at Glanford Park on Saturday.
The performance came second as United found a way to earn their first three points since mid-November and arrest a run of seven straight defeats in all competitions.
Kyle Wootton scored the decisive goal early on, with Scunthorpe defending resolutely to see off Gareth Ainsworth’s side.
When asked about his post-match thoughts by iFollow Iron, McCall quipped: “Christmas has come late. I’m really exhausted and feel like I’ve played 90 minutes myself to be honest! Mentally it’s such a lift, but deep down I know myself we can play a lot better. We just had to win today, and I’m delighted we scrapped it out and got the job done.
“We had a big slice of lady luck. It’s nice for us to be given a gift for a change. Obviously, the goalkeeper has made an error for us to get the first goal, which was hugely important.
“We needed to get our noses in front with the run we’ve been on. We just did everything we could to hold on to it. Jak (Alnwick) has pulled off some really good saves but we didn’t make any basic elementary errors like we had done in the past two months.
“We managed to get a goal, get a clean sheet and get three points – brilliant. It’s a nice way to go into the new year. We know there’s a lot of hard work still to be done, but hopefully in the next month we can strengthen the squad, bring some fresh faces in and today’s result will hopefully lift the mood.
“We can’t criticise the players for their efforts. Yes, we’ve been lacking quality and confidence in areas but they stuck at it. It’s been hard for the supporters, the Chairman and everybody connected to the club, but we dug deep and managed to find a way to win.
“It crossed my mind (during the game) and I thought this might be the day where we get the luck. They had one disallowed straight after. It was the right decision but thankfully the linesman has seen it. They hit the post just before half-time. It was desperate at times and I don’t want my team to launch it up to Kyle on the wing against a smaller full-back but at the moment it’s needs must. We have to fight, scrap, battle and try to get the confidence back up.
“We have a lot of points to play for, and a tough game at Peterborough on New Year’s Day. It should help the mood. The Chairman is terrific around the place, while I also have good staff who lift me. If we cut out the elementary mistakes we give ourselves a chance to win games.”
Jak Alnwick made a superb second-half save from Scott Kashket, while Cameron Burgess won both man of the match awards as he returned from suspension following his dismissal in the defeat at Bradford City last week.
McCall added: “It was sent goalwards from an acute angle but it was a fantastic save by Jak. He’s only been culpable for one, maybe two goals, while he’s been here, but he’ll take great pride in that clean sheet as all the defenders will. It was an outstanding save and one we needed.
“This will do (Cameron) good. He’s gone out and shown what a player he can be. He’s played 60/70 games (in his career) now and isn’t a young boy. We’ve all had tough times at certain periods of this season and I just felt with Charlie (Goode), his confidence was a bit fragile at this moment in time. We thought (Adebayo) Akinfenwa might play and he was outstanding at their place.
“We know Cam felt really bad about the red card at Bradford and he believed he’d let the team down. We were hoping he was going to go out and put in a performance, which he did today, and long may that continue.”
Andy Dales came on as a substitute but was withdrawn not long after, with the boss explaining: “He landed on his neck and twisted his neck a little bit. He couldn’t see around about him. I don’t think it will be anything serious hopefully. Perchy (James Perch) got a whack late on too, and he worked tirelessly throughout the game.”
He continued: “We don’t have much breathing space between now and the next game. Whether we have enough bodies to change it, we’ll have a look. At least we now go with a little bit of confidence and it’s a massive three points. Even though it’s only three points, it feels like a big three points.”
Previewing the New Year’s Day trip to take on Peterborough United, McCall said: “They have some good players and are a good side. I thought we were unfortunate to be beaten by them here to be honest, and their away form has been better than their home form. They won 4-0 at Accrington today and I have no doubt they’ll be in the top six. They have some good players. It’s another chance for three points and that’s what we’re trying to do.
“We have to go with a gameplan that gets us something out of the game, and then look to build and start getting points to get us out of where we are.”
The transfer window opens at the start of January and McCall is hoping for some new arrivals to help the squad.
He said: “The Chairman, Jim (Rodwell), Lee (Turnbull), the coaching staff and myself can’t be doing any more at the minute, and the Chairman’s backing it with finances to try and bring players in. Obviously, it’s a bit of a harder sell where we are in the league than it was a month ago, but we need them in as soon as we can to start getting up that table.
“They’re coming to a relegation dog fight at the moment. Hopefully in ten games’ time when we’ve won some points, we can start looking up the table. First and foremost, we are where we are and we need a little bit of quality, leadership and freshness really, and that’s what we’re hoping to add.
“Everyone knows we need to be strengthened. Hopefully that will help with confidence and get us some key results. We’ve missed some key personnel and that’s why we are where we are. We have 21 games left and a lot of points to play for, so we’ve got to make sure we’re in this league next season.”
See much more from Stuart McCall, Kyle Wootton and Jak Alnwick on iFollow Iron.