The Iron were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Walsall at the Banks’s Stadium in Sky Bet League Two, with James Clarke’s strike in the 65th minute the difference between the two sides.
The Iron looked lively in the opening exchanges. Inside three minutes, Ryan Colclough’s deep cross was aimed at Alex Gilliead who headed the ball back across goal with George Miller lurking at the back post but Liam Roberts claimed.
Colclough did well to beat to beat two men before being brought down 35 yards from goal and the winger dusted himself off to take the set piece. He spotted the run of stand-in skipper Rory McArdle arriving at the back post but McArdle couldn’t quite stretch for it.
The Iron won a corner with 11 minutes on the clock. Roberts punched clear but only as far as Gilliead whose cross took a deflection and caused chaos in the box before it was eventually headed behind for another corner.
United went close from the resulting corner kick. Colclough’s inswinging delivery was met by Songo’o but his header was straight at the ‘keeper.
On 15 minutes, the hosts threatened. Danny Guthrie laid the ball off to Caolan Lavery and the striker fired just wide.
James Perch won back possession with 24 minutes gone. The defender spread play out wide to Kevin van Veen whose cross came out to Songo’o. The latter took aim from 25 yards but his powerful half-volley took a deflection off Guthrie.
McArdle made a vital block to to deny Rory Gaffney, with 10 minutes until the half-time whistle. Substitute Josh Gordon looked to break for the Saddlers, picking out Gaffney but the captain got his body in the way.
The Iron were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out for an infringement on Matty Lund but van Veen curled the set-piece wide of the goal.
Five minutes into the second period, Gordon drove at the Iron defence and took aim but McArdle did well to narrow the angle and the Saddlers striker skewed his shot over the bar as it took a deflection off the captain.
With 52 minutes played, Gilliead saw his shot blocked as the winger attacked down the left and cut inside.
Moments later, a chance went begging for the hosts. Guthrie’s free-kick was met by Gaffney but he couldn’t direct his header on target.
On the hour mark, van Veen turned brilliantly and tried his luck from the edge of the box. However, the Dutchman’s effort was saved by Roberts.
The striker drew a save from the home goalkeeper again, two minutes later. Abo Eisa and Gilliead linked up well down the right before working the ball to van Veen on the edge of the box but Roberts was alert to parry the effort to safety.
James Clarke broke the deadlock with 65 minutes on the watch. The defender made it 1-0 to the Saddlers from close range from Guthrie’s looping cross.
The Iron switched play to the left, with Brown sliding the ball in to Colclough. The latter’s ball fizzed across the face of goal with no claret and blue shirt in the vicinity to add the final touch.
Van Veen hacked the ball clear amid a scramble in the box. It eventually came out wide with Brown getting the block in to keep the Iron in the contest.
With 15 minutes left to play, Colclough watched his low shot wide of the post, looking for an Iron equaliser.
Into added time, the Iron won a corner. It fell to Gilliead on the perimeter of the box but his last ditch effort was blocked and it finished 1-0 to the hosts.
WALSALL: Roberts, Clarke, Scarr, Sinclair, Lavery (Gordon 22’), Holden, Guthrie (Kinsella 66’), McDonald (Norman 86’), Liddle, Gaffney, Jules.
WALSALL UNUSED SUBS: Rose, Hardy, Bates, Cockerill-Mollett.
IRON: Watson, Lund, Songo’o, Colclough (Slater 75’), van Veen, Perch, Gilliead, McArdle, McGahey, Brown (Ntlhe 84’), Miller (Eisa 61’).
IRON UNUSED SUBS: Eastwood, Clarke, Hornshaw, McAtee.
ATTENDANCE: 4,037 (306 away)