“We saw yet again the good and bad of Scunthorpe United,” said manager Stuart McCall in his reaction to the 3-2 away loss at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
United raced out of the blocks and were 2-0 up inside eight minutes at Adams Park, with Ryan Colclough and Stephen Humphrys both adding to their goal tallies for the campaign.
However, that deficit was wiped out by ten minutes into the second half. It was 2-1 at half-time following Dominic Gape’s spectacular strike from the edge of the area before Fred Onyedinma’s equally impressive strike drew the Chairboys level.
Home goalkeeper Ryan Allsop was shown a straight red card soon after for bringing down Ugbo just outside the penalty area.
Craig Mackail-Smith then seized possession just inside the attacking half to slot home after four minutes of the allotted nine added onto the end of the game to clinch all three points.
McCall told iFollow Iron: “It certainly is hard to take. We can’t keep losing three goals, and I can’t keep saying it. I don’t want to come away with five at the back and sit in, looking for a clean sheet. We went 2-0 up with some really good counter-attacking football and we set up today with a team to play like that.
“We know what Wycombe are all about. They went 4-4-2 today with two wingers, and (Adebayo) Akinfenwa is a huge handful at this level. They scored two really good goals, but in the second-half in possession we were a bit loose and didn’t take enough care of the ball when we had opportunities to break against them, giving it away cheaply. We then put ourselves under pressure.
“The minimum we’ve got to be taking when they have the boy sent off at 2-2 is a point, but we made a huge individual error and lost the game when we should have been taking at least a point.
“We were unlucky for their first goal and it bounced around the box, we couldn’t get a proper clearance and it’s a great finish. They loaded the box again for the second, we didn’t deal with it and the lad cut in and scored another top-quality goal from their point of view.
“At 2-2, they came on a bit more, believed they could win it, and that gave us an opportunity on the break, with Ike and he went against the goalkeeper and then got brought down. You can’t afford to make individual errors like we did, we say it every week but it’s got to stop
“There’s nobody feeling any worse than Rory (McArdle). Everyone knows it’s an individual error, he tried to control it and play it to CBJ, but we got caught out. I’d never ask him to hoof it back in, we’ve got an extra man and should be looking to play through teams when we have an extra man. There’s nothing I can say that can help the matter, it’s an individual error and Rory is the first to hold his hands up.”
The key now is to respond with victory at Blackpool on Tuesday night.
“We know we have nice footballers who can break, and good players who can counter-attack but on Tuesday night, I’m looking for a bit of character because it’s a tough spell we’re going through,” he said.
“We can’t go away and look to shut up shop. It’s a mental thing at times I think. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we need to get back onto the training ground on Monday and work on things. Blackpool have been flying and it’ll be another difficult game. It’s about our mentality out there.
“As despondent as we feel at this moment in time, come Monday they need to be in, focused and I need to look in their eyes and see who really wants to be out there on Tuesday night.
“We’ve got to respond; nobody feels sorry for you in this game. It’s about character and a lot of football is about how big your heart is and can you dig deep down? Don’t mope about and feel sorry for yourself, get your chin up, your chest out and put in a performance that gets a result at Blackpool."
McCall also revealed the reason why Lee Novak was missing from the matchday squad.
He said: “Lee tweaked his calf in training on Monday and that left us with using Ike a little earlier than we’d have liked to. The referee told (Andy) Dalesy if he made one more challenge he’d be off, so we had to take him off. I think Novs will be doubtful again for Tuesday.”
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