George Miller grabbed a hat-trick for the Iron as they led and then came from two goals down to draw 3-3 and gain a point in the Premier League Cup group stages against Newcastle United at the Sands Venue Stadium on Friday night.
Among the starting line-up for Russ Wilcox’s side was Levi Sutton, returning for the first time following a hand injury, Ryan Colclough after illness, George Miller, who had completed a week of training back at the club after a quad strain which saw him briefly return to parent club Barnsley and Andy Dales, in order to get more minutes after his recent hamstring lay-off.
It was the Iron who got proceedings underway on home soil in the second of six group stage matches in the competition and the side began the opening exchanges with purpose. Colclough was the beneficiary of an early tackle from Jai Rowe. His pinpoint cross-field ball searched for Dales, only for the ball to skip off the surface and out of play.
The visitors, however, had the first effort of the game as Scunthorpe cleared a free-kick as far as Mo Sangare. His curling effort from 20-yards went just over the bar. From there, inside the opening ten minute, it was the Magpies who took a foothold in the game, with Jo Cummings first forced to head away following an inviting cross before Rowe also cleared after the ball dropped inside the penalty area.
On nine minutes, the Iron took advantage of their first attack with Lewis Butroid playing a neat ball down the left channel for Miller who, in breaking the offside trap, took a brilliant first touch before angling a low shot across goal into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-0.
Straight after the Iron looked to double their advantage with a move which began with Dales stealing possession on half-way. Miller then dinked into McAtee before a mix-up in the Newcastle backline allowed McAtee to regain possession before seeing his shot blocked.
On 14 minutes, it could and perhaps should have been 2-0 as Colclough cut onto his left foot after driving forward before seeing his ferocious effort, which may have taken a slight deflection, rebound back into play off the crossbar. McAtee cushioned the ball to the edge of the area for Dales to run onto the rebound, but the winger was thwarted by a good sliding challenge.
Just 60 seconds later, the home side continued their pressure following the opening, with goalscorer Miller fed the ball on the edge of the area. He sent in a left-footed shot which flew wide of the target.
17 minutes in, goalkeeper Adam Kelsey was drawn into action for the first time to deny Lewis Cass. The Newcastle right-winger cut onto his left foot before angling a shot across goal, requiring a smart stop down to his right, with Rowe tidying up any potential rebound.
The equaliser came four minutes later from the Magpies’ first real advance in ten minutes. Cass was prominent again as he got in down the right, once again drawing a smart stop from Kelsey. The loose bounce took two ricochets which fell kindly to Elliott Anderson who found the bottom corner with absolute precision.
With the visitors buoyed by the equaliser, they immediately sought after taking the lead for the first time. On 25 minutes, Butroid was required to be on hand to read a one-two to put Thomas Allan into a forward position, clearing for a corner. From that corner, Rosaire Longelo cut onto his left foot before curling an effort wide of the target.
On 29 minutes, Sutton saw a long range effort blocked before Dales picked up the ball and exchanged a quick one-two with McAtee. Dales then fired goalwards from 25-yards, drawing a smart save from Dan Langley down to his right. Colclough ran in for the rebound, but was flagged offside.
Colclough himself was next to mount the latest attack, driving down the right before seeing his low cross blocked. Sutton won a foul in the follow-up, which was taken quickly, resulting in a corner. Butroid’s cross was met with a glancing header at the near post, with Jo Cummings running towards the far post, although the central defender couldn’t quite get a touch on the ball.
38 minutes in and the Magpies took the lead for the first time, with skipper Allan receiving the ball on the edge of the area, turning neatly and quickly before firing a low shot beyond Kelsey’s dive.
Two minutes before half-time, the Iron won a corner on the right as Colclough’s low cross was blocked. The first corner came in, taking a glancing touch off a Newcastle player for another before the visitors hooked clear as the ball dropped in the six-yard box from Butroid’s second corner.
Shortly after two additional minutes were signalled, the Iron had a penalty appeal turned down as Dales appeared to beat the Magpies defenders to the ball, subsequently being brought down. However the referee David Richardson had a different view, dismissing the spot-kick claims.
That penalty denial prompted a Newcastle counter-attack for the final chance of the half, as they won a corner on the right. The ball required punching away by Kelsey, while Colclough headed away from danger.
No alterations were made at the interval as both teams looked to build on their first-half performances.
It was the Magpies who raced out of the blocks to add a third just three minutes into the second half as Longelo raced down the left to square the ball and put it on a plate for Allan who added to his first-half strike.
The hosts responded though and ought to have had a goal back on 50 minutes when Colclough cut onto his left foot before seeing his curling effort from 30-yards hit the underside of the bar and come back into play. Pugh controlled and lashed at the rebound, seeing his shot go across the face of goal and just evading Miller’s outstretched foot.
Searching for his hat-trick, Allan surged down the Iron right just a minute later, gaining half a yard of space before he fired over.
Ten minutes into the second half, an Iron body should’ve got on the end of an inviting free-kick by Colclough, but the ball skipped off the surface and out for a goal kick. Meanwhile, in the next phase of play, Dales drove down the left and saw his low cross blocked.
Just prior to the hour mark - and in between Magpies substitutions - Sutton had an effort to reduce the deficit as he was the beneficiary of a back flick from McAtee after Pugh showed good awareness to steal possession 30-yards from goal.
63 minutes in, Colclough had the latest attempt, driving down the right before his low shot across goal was saved by Langley. Just moments later, Kelsey was drawn into a comfortable stop following an effort from the edge of the area.
Five minutes later, following a driving run from Dales down the left, McAtee picked up the ball on the edge of the area and dinked a cross in for Miller. He peeled away from his marker and got clean contact on the header but sent his effort across goal and wide.
Scunthorpe continued their pressure on the Newcastle backline, with a further effort just a minute later. McAtee was slipped in, and broke the offside trap, but hit the side-netting with his shot.
In the 77th minute, the yellow card was out for the first time as Jamie Sterry ploughed into his opposite number Rowe for a free-kick on the right side of the area. Colclough’s kick was cleared.
On 79 minutes, Newcastle were reduced to ten men as Oliver Walters was withdrawn through injury, with the visitors having used all of their substitutes.
Just a minute later, Scunthorpe brought the game back to 3-2, with Miller getting his second go the game. He tapped in from close range following a headed knock down which arrived into his path.
Tom Pugh then entered the referee’s notebook for a foul on the half way line as the Magpies looked to break on 85 minutes.
McAtee dragged wide moments later from 25-yards after being teed up by Pugh in his final action of the game, as he was replaced by George Hornshaw. Second-year academy player Harry Jessop also came on for Dales and he was involved in the next attack which saw Miller win a corner.
With two minutes of normal time remaining, McAtee fired over after driving at the final defender and finding an opening of space from 25-yards.
Jessop broke down the left as five additional minutes were indicated. He and Colclough both had low drives blocked before United won a corner. It was from that kick that came the equaliser as Cummings won the header, sending the ball goalwards for Miller to get a deft touch on the ball to complete his hat-trick and bring the scores level.
The visitors won a late free-kick, deep into stoppage time, but Kelsey was on hand to emerge and gather the kick into the area for the last action of the game.
IRON: Kelsey, Rowe, Butroid (O’Malley, 66), Sutton, Cummings, Bedeau, Colclough, Pugh (Hornshaw, 86), Miller, McAtee, Dales (Jessop, 86).
IRON UNUSED SUBS: Collins, Potts.
NEWCASTLE: Langley, Sterry, Walters, Young, McEntee, Francillette (Barrett, 70), Cass, Sangare, Allan, Anderson (Fernandez, 57), Longelo (Toure, 61).
NEWCASTLE UNUSED SUBS: Turner, de Bolle.