An entertaining encounter finished in 2-5 victory for the Iron U23s. United netted four goals in an assured first half; Jai Rowe bagging a brace, along with goals from Clayton Lewis and Jo Cummings.
Lewis Butroid added to the score-line in the second half but Bottesford got two back at Birkdale Park.
The Iron started brightly, mounting an attack in the second minute. Winning back possession in the middle of the park, Harry Jessop latched onto Jordan Hallam’s pass but was stopped in his tracks with a challenge by a Bottesford player.
Hallam looked dangerous again, testing the hosts’ ‘keeper after some good work from Abo Eisa, but the shot-stopper was equal to it.
With 13 minutes on the watch, the Iron were awarded a free-kick out on the right for a foul on John McAtee. Clayton Lewis stepped up and put the Iron a goal to the good as he blasted the powerful set-piece into the roof of the net.
Shortly after, McAtee almost got one of his own. The striker appeared to have beat the offside trap before the flag was raised and the ‘keeper made the save.
From another set piece, Eisa fired high and wide of the target from the perimeter of the box, with 18 minutes played.
The young Iron side did double their lead, three minutes later. Jessop’s effort from range was deflected behind and Jo Cummings made it 0-2 from the resulting corner, losing his marker and heading home at the back post.
United laid siege to the opposition goal as Jessop connected with Jai Rowe’s cross but skewed the shot narrowly wide.
Bottesford managed to clear from an Iron corner. Rowe’s teasing ball picked out Butroid but the hosts got it away.
However, in the 28th minute, the Iron added a third. Rowe nodded home from Lewis’ corner. It evaded Jessop but the defender converted the delivery into the gaping goal.
The ball was in the back of the net once more on the half hour mark. Eisa let fly from 18-yards which was parried out to Hallam who gobbled up the rebound but the latter was adjudged to be offside.
There was a fourth with ten minutes until the half-time whistle. Rowe was at the double for the Iron after Lewis Butroid found Mason O’Malley who crossed for Rowe with a pinpoint delivery to make it 0-4.
Butroid was denied five minutes later, the ‘keeper diving off to his left to keep the full-back out.
With Iron players queuing up to get on the scoresheet, McAtee drew another save from the goalie. Spinning and shooting on the edge of the area, the ‘keeper got a touch to push the ball around the post.
The Iron made a handful of changes after the interval, with five substitutes coming on for the second period.
One of those replacements, Tom Pugh, spearheaded an attack early in the second half. The Welsh U21 international watched his low effort fizz just wide of the upright.
Ten minutes into the second half, Tom Collins made his first save of the game, with Jacob Bedeau and Cummings averting the danger from the follow up.
George Hornshaw almost netted from a corner, but directed his header straight at the Bottesford goalie.
On 64 minutes, Bottesford clawed a goal back. The opposition number eight took aim from distance with an effort that crept into the bottom corner to make it 1-4.
The Iron made it 1-5 with 73 minutes gone in a good move. Lambert stole possession from a Bottesford defender and squared to Butroid who was on hand to convert the cross.
Two minutes later, Bottesford scored their second goal of the game from close range to make it 2-5.
With 12 minutes to go, the Iron should have been 2-6 up. Potts did brilliantly, going solo, bursting through on goal and rounding the ‘keeper but his shot took a nick off a Bottesford defender and came back off the post.
Moments later, the home ‘keeper saved with his feet from Jessop and then Reon Potts from the edge of the box. The former’s rebound smashed off the crossbar but the forward was in an offside position. The seven-goal thriller ended 2-5 to the Iron.
IRON U23s: Collins (Chapman 79'), Rowe, O’Malley, Lewis (Pugh 45’), Cummings, Bedeau, Butroid, McAtee (Hornshaw 45’), Jessop (Potts 45’), Hallam (Lambert 45’ (Jessop 79'), Eisa (Ben El-Mhanni 45’).