The Iron bowed out of the Carabao Cup at the hands of Derby County at the first round stage on Tuesday evening.
Fine margins separated the two sides in a 1-0 defeat, after Lee Buchanan struck late in the second half for the Championship side, to seal their passage to the next round.
The Rams fashioned an early opening. Graeme Shinnie fed the ball through to Jamie Paterson but the angle was tight and Rory Watson beat the winger to it.
Inside 10 minutes, Regan Slater saw his cross cleared but it came out to Matthew Lund who took a swing at it but didn’t hit the target from the perimeter of the box.
Minutes later, Rory Watson was called into action between the sticks, blocking from Jack Marriott.
There were concerns for John McAtee as the young attacker pulled up with 11 minutes on the clock. However, he dusted himself off and almost opened his account for the Iron.
After some good work, winning back possession in the final third, the striker spread play out wide to the returning Ryan Colclough. The cross was met by McAtee but he couldn’t direct his header on target.
The Iron were forced to make a change with 25 minutes gone, as Adam Hammill replaced the injured Lee Novak.
On the half-hour mark, Max Lowe picked out Buchanan at full stretch and managed to keep the ball in play, but it was comfortable for Watson who gathered.
Jason Knight whipped the ball back into the box for the visitors and found Marriott in space, but the striker side-footed over the crossbar.
The Iron upped the tempo as the interval approached. Colclough found McAtee on the edge of the area, allowing it to roll through to Alex Gilliead but Ben Hamer dived off to his left to make the save.
A glorious chance went begging for the visitors, as an inswinging Rams corner fizzed over the head of Krystian Bielik, lurkijng in the centre to add the clinical touch.
On the stroke of half-time, Knight stung Watson’s palms. His effort took a deflection but the Iron ‘keeper was equal to it.
Bennett’s ball across the face of goal left Andy Butler and Marriott scrambling for it, with appeals for offside from the Iron, but Watson came out to clean up.
Deep into added time, Paterson cut inside, twisting and turning inside the box before unleashing a powerful effort but Watson did well to hold it, showing good hands to keep it goalless heading into the break.
Early in the second-half, McAtee chased down possession, driving into the box. It fell to substitute Adam Hammill who tried his luck from outside the box. The winger’s shot took a deflection and Hamer tipped it onto the post before it could nestle into the bottom corner.
Watson then saved superbly with his feet, with Paterson through on goal, to keep proceedings level with 53 minutes on the watch.
Butler was the first to go into the referee’s book, as the captain was shown a yellow card on 62 minutes.
Some slick passing from the Iron almost sliced open the Rams’ defence. Gilliead laid it off to Lund, racing down the right but the delivery, aimed at McAtee, was blocked before it could reach him.
Soon after, Shinnie’s deep cross landed for Buchanan at the back post but the defender nodded straight at Watson.
In the 73rd minute, Joey Dawson took McAtee’s place to make his senior Iron debut at just 16-years-of-age.
The Rams took the lead with 77 minutes gone. Lee Buchanan drove into the box and drilled a shot across goal, rippling the net to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
With a minute remaining to find an equaliser, Hammill floated a set piece in from the left. Davies headed to safety but only as far as a claret and blue shirt. It fell to Hammill once again for a second bite of the cherry, but his half-volley was high of the target.
IRON: Watson, Ntlhe, Lund, Butler, Colclough (Songo’o 73’), Perch, Novak (Hammill 25’), Gilliead, McArdle, Slater, McAtee (Dawson 73’).
IRON UNUSED SUBS: Eastwood, Horsfield, McGahey, O’Malley.
RAMS: Hamer, Shinnie, Bielik, Paterson, Marriott, Bennett (Sibley 74’), Lowe, Davies, Knight (Whittaker 87’), Bird (Evans 45’), Buchanan.
RAMS UNUSED SUBS: Roos, Keogh, Dowell, Waghorn.