The Iron were defeated 2-0 by Bradford City at the Northern Commercials Stadium in Sky Bet League One on Saturday afternoon.
Manager Stuart McCall made three changes to the team that were beaten by Doncaster Rovers last weekend. On his return to Valley Parade, McCall brought Funso Ojo, Levi Sutton and Kyle Wootton into the starting eleven. They replaced the trio of Matthew Lund, Josh Morris and Andy Dales.
The Iron got the game underway as Levi Sutton – making his first league start of the season, rolled the ball back to Funso Ojo.
Seconds after the kick-off, Scunthorpe came forward. Ojo tried his luck from the distance, stinging the palms of Richard O’Donnell in the Bradford goal, who did just enough to parry it away.
A minute later, the Iron were on the attack again. Kyle Wootton expertly controlled the ball with his chest before laying it off to Lee Novak. The striker then squared it to Ojo, who latched onto the pass after making a good run into the area, but he dragged his first-time effort wide of the target.
However, despite all the early Scunthorpe pressure, on the tenth minute, Bradford found themselves 1-0 ahead.
Jack Payne was the man to score for the Bantams, after Eoin Doyle won the ball back in the attacking half. He picked up possession, drove towards goal, before passing left for Payne, who controlled it and rolled the ball into the bottom right of the net via the post.
The Iron almost responded straight away. Ojo again caused Bradford problems. He curled in a shot from the left side of the area, with his right foot searching for the far corner, but O’Donnell made sure he held onto the midfielder’s effort.
With 18 minutes on the clock, George Thomas nearly drew Scunthorpe level.
Good link-up play between Wootton and Novak presented a chance for the latter to slot the Wales International in down the right. After receiving the ball, Thomas looped O’Donnell, however he saw his effort drop onto the top of the net.
On 25 minutes, Bradford had a penalty with a great chance to extend their lead, after Jak Alnwick was adjudged to have fouled George Miller.
Doyle stepped up and emphatically buried it into the roof of the net, making it 2-0 to the Bantams, despite Alnwick’s best efforts of guessing the right way.
Five minutes after, Bradford came forward again. Paul Caddis found space down the right flank, before he whipped in a dangerous low cross towards Miller, however the striker couldn’t get on end of it and the ball petered out.
With the first half drawing to a close, Bradford nearly had another. A shot from Miller took a wicked deflection, but the fine fingertips of Alnwick touched the ball onto the crossbar, before Rory McArdle headed off the line and behind for a corner which came to nothing.
Another good stop from Alnwick then denied the hosts further. Miller’s audacious volley was fizzed in towards goal, but the goalkeeper was aware and pushed it away for a corner, which Cameron Borthwick-Jackson then mopped up.
Two minutes of added time were signalled by the fourth official at the end of the half, leaving Scunthorpe with time for one last attack. Borthwick-Jackson swung in a free-kick from the left, which Charlie Goode and McArdle both attacked, but the linesman had flagged for offside.
During the half-time interval, the Iron made a double substitution, with Cameron Burgess and Ike Ugbo coming on to replace Borthwick-Jackson and McArdle.
As the match restarted for the second half, David Ball made a run down the right for Bradford, he looked to cross towards the back post, however Alnwick was there to claw the ball away.
Ball came close again moments later when he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the area. He tried to curl one in the far corner, as he wrapped his left foot around the shot, but it went wide of the target.
50 minutes in, the Iron almost halved the deficit. Sutton did brilliantly to skip past three players, before passing out wide to Novak. The striker then sent a deep cross in towards Wootton, who met it with a volley, although he couldn’t quite keep it down and fired over the crossbar.
United tried to find a way back into the game with Ugbo injecting pace into the attack. He played a nice one-two with Wootton on the edge of the area, before firing in a shot, but his effort travelled wide of the post.
After 67 minutes, Burgess was dismissed for a second bookable offence, leaving the Iron down the ten men with over 20 minutes to play.
A few minutes later, Alnwick produced a fine reaction save to deny Ball, who spun and shot inside the six-yard-box. From the following corner, Payne headed over the bar.
Alnwick was required again on the 76th minute, when Caddis neatly backheeled to Payne in the area. Payne opened up his body as he looked to place it with the side of his foot and caught it well, but Alnwick dived to his left to deny him and push the ball to safety.
Clayton Lewis was sent on for the remaining ten minutes in place of Thomas and shortly after, the Iron nearly scored. Wootton connected with a cross and his looping header had O’Donnell scrambling across his goal, but the ball dropped just wide of the target.
With five minutes to go, Lewis unleashed an effort from distance after a free-kick was played short to him. He caught the ball well with his right foot, however it sailed over the goalkeepers’ head and over the bar.
As the fourth official indicated four minutes of additional time, there were no other opportunities for either side and the game ended 2-0.
The Iron are next back in action against Luton Town on 26th December at Glanford Park.
Bradford City: O’Donnell, Chicksen, McGowan, Doyle (Goldthorp, 90), Payne (J. O’Brien, 82), Miller (Bruenker, 79), Akpan, Knight-Percival, Caddis (C), L. O’Brien, Ball.
Substitutes not used: Wilson, Wood, Devine, Isherwood.
Scunthorpe United: Alnwick, Clarke, Borthwick-Jackson, Ojo, Perch, Novak, Thomas (Lewis, 79), Goode, Sutton, McArdle (C) (Burgess, 45), Wootton (Ugbo, 45).
Substitutes not used: Flatt, Horsfield, Dales, Ben El-Mhanni.
Referee: Carl Boyeson.
Attendance: 16,113 (427 away).