The Iron Under-18’s side defeated Tranmere Under-18’s 2-1 at Brumby Hall on Tuesday afternoon as they registered their third victory out of three matches so far in the Youth Alliance Cup group stage.
Charlie Barks and Miracle Okafor scored in the first half before Tranmere pulled one back ten minutes from time, in a dominant display by Scunthorpe which led to a well-deserved three points.
The result puts the Iron in good stead to qualify for the quarter finals of the competition as they look to finish top of the group with just one game to play in the group stages.
Tranmere came out of the blocks quickly and had the first chance of the game after six minutes. The ball dropped to the striker in the middle of the area, but he blazed his shot over the bar, untroubling goalkeeper Tom Collins.
However, the Iron came back at them moments later, when a scramble in the Tranmere box led to Harry Jessop shooting from a tight angle, but his effort went into the side netting.
Then, Levi Gallimore picked out Okafor with a brilliant diagonal pass that led to the striker beating the offside trap and baring one-on-one with the opposition goalkeeper. However, the ‘keeper read it well and charged off his line to make a fine save to stop the goal bound effort.
After 22 minutes, Scunthorpe did make the breakthrough. Finley Shrimpton fantastically pulled the ball back across the box from the right to find Barks lurking in the area. He made no mistake with a first-time finish that nestled into the bottom corner from the penalty spot to open the scoring.
The Iron continued to control possession of the football and created a couple more chances on the half-hour mark. However, the goalkeeper came up with a good double save, to keep the scoreline at one nil.
Just after, Tranmere created an opportunity of their own. They charged forward and unleashed a shot on goal, but Collins in the Scunthorpe goal was alert to the danger and pulled off a decent stop to deny the visitors.
With five minutes to go before the half, the Iron went two ahead. Wonderful combination play in the attacking third presented a chance for Okafor in the area and he tucked the ball away neatly to double Scunthorpe’s advantage going into the break.
As the match got underway for the second 45 minutes, the Iron continued to attack as they looked to kill the game off. Jessop’s pass found Okafor on the run, but he couldn’t quite find the finish and the ball dropped just wide of the target.
On 53 minutes, Louis Collins whipped the ball in from the flank. Okafor rose highest to meet it with his head; however, he couldn’t direct his effort towards goal and it sailed past the post.
Okafor caused problems for the Tranmere defence all game and nearly added to his tally a few minutes later when he went through one-on-one with the ‘keeper. However, the centre-back recovered well to make a last ditch challenge to put the striker off and the goalkeeper was able to parry the ball away.
Tranmere tried to find a way back into the game and burst forward looking for an equaliser. 71 minutes in, a chance was presented for the visitors when a shot came in from 25 yards, but it was fired it over the crossbar.
However, the away side were then able to pull a goal back after 79 minutes when a wide free-kick caught the Scunthorpe defence out. The ball found its way to the tall centre forward in the penalty area, who managed to loop his header over Collins to set up and exciting finish.
It was a nervy end to the game for the Iron, however they were able to hold on to get the win to put them in a great position to progress to the next stage in the Youth Alliance Cup.
Iron: T. Collins, Shrimpton, Morfoot, Barks, Harrison, L. Gallimore (Train, 83), Jessop (Wilson, 75), Pugh, L. Collins, Okafor (Wilkinson, 65), Silva.