The Iron’s Under-18’s side were defeated 3-0 by Doncaster Rovers in a Youth Alliance League fixture on Saturday morning at a windy Brumby Hall.
An early penalty in the first period, and an additional two goals in the second half, proved to be the difference between the sides, in a tough match, which provided difficult playing conditions for both sets of teams.
However, despite the result, Scunthorpe showed plenty of promise and signs of a bright future, after fielding five Under-16’s during the game.
The Iron were the better of the two teams for the majority of the first half, and started quickly, putting the away side under the cosh from the first whistle.
Using the high press, United almost took the lead, and were unlucky not to be ahead after 18 minutes.
Tom Pugh found space on edge of the area, cut the ball back onto his right-foot and unleashed a curling shot towards the far post. With his effort destined to go in, he was denied only by the upright.
With the Iron on top, they surged forward again five minutes later. A quick counter-attack saw Scunthorpe break away on a two-vs-two, with Miracle Okafor running through on goal. However, the striker’s first touch was too strong, and the ball sailed through to the Doncaster goalkeeper, who was able to gather possession back for the visitors.
Then, on the half-hour mark, the Iron conceded a penalty, after Doncaster’s first real opportunity of the game. A Rovers player went over in the area, having adjudged to have been fouled, and the referee pointed to the spot. The away side made no mistake from 12-yards, and went 1-0 up with 15 minutes to go before the break.
After going behind, the spirited Scunthorpe continued in the same vein, and were almost back on level terms only a matter of seconds later. Miracle Okafor was fed through nicely down the middle, he then rounded the goalkeeper, but a fantastic recovery run from a Doncaster defender prevented his shot from going in, clearing it off the line, to preserve Rovers’ lead going into the half-time interval.
As the second period got underway, Doncaster began to get more of a foothold in the game. With an hour played, the visitors were awarded their second penalty of the match, after Pugh appeared to have pulled down his marker.
Although, this time, Sam Riches stepped up to the task, superbly diving across his goal to make the save from the spot. H,owever unfortunately, the rebound fell to a free Doncaster player in the box and it was tapped in to make it two for the away side.
With the conditions worsening, Rovers’ were able to control the game, and soon made it 3-0 in the 73rd minute. A free-kick was floated into the area from a wide position, Riches came to claim, but misjudged the flight of the ball, and it fell to the opposing striker, who nodded it into the back of the net.
However, the Iron kept fighting until the end, and nearly got a goal back with ten minutes to play. Okafor found space in the area, and was picked out by a cross from the right, but like Pugh in the first half, he also saw his effort cannon back off the upright.
It was an unfortunate day at the office for Scunthorpe, but they will look to bounce back when they play Notts County next.
Scunthorpe United: Riches, Shrimpton, Baker, Pugh, Kemp, Harrison, Busby (Wilkinson, 77), Dawson, Okafor, Gallimore (Barks, 45), Jessop (Wilson, 77).
Unused Substitutes: Crosher.