The Iron were beaten 1-0 by Southend United on Saturday afternoon at Roots Hall, following a late winner from James Olayinka.
Scunthorpe made five changes to their starting 11, following Tuesday night’s defeat against Colchester. Jacob Bedeau, Ryan Loft, Abo Eisa, Jai Rowe and John McAtee all started for Neil Cox’s side.
Southend made the first attacking move of the game when a smartly taken free-kick was played short to Tom Clifford in the opening five minutes, however his low, enticing cross was intercepted by Lewis Spence.
The Iron then posed a threat themselves when captain Alex Gilliead advanced with the ball on the right side. Aiming a cross towards Loft, Southend’s Elvis Bwomono did well to head away from danger.
Bwomono was again to Southend’s rescue when Eisa was played through centrally. Alfie Beestin retained possession for the Iron before setting the winger free, he looked set to dribble the ball into the area, but Bwomono covered in behind to make a well-timed tackle.
15 minutes played and the Shrimpers had their first shot on target. Emile Acquah won his side a free-kick, which Jason Demetriou lifted high into the area and was met by Timothee Dieng, whose header lacked power to beat Iron goalkeeper Mark Howard.
Scunthorpe looked a threat on the right-wing once more when Rowe was given space to deliver an almost perfect cross towards the back post. Eisa made the run into the box, but the ball just flew over his head.
A short corner then momentarily caught Southend out. Eisa was allowed to take the ball closer to the goal before curling a shot from the edge of the area into the direction of Dieng, who headed the effort away for the home side.
Ten minutes of the first-half remained when Sam Hart brought some life to Southend’s attack. The left-winger made a surging run all the way to the byline and drove a low cross goalwards that was claimed by Howard.
That attack inspired Mark Molesley’s men who put the Iron under pressure with multiple opportunities. First, Alan McCormack sliced the ball wide of target before Bedeau was on hand twice to block efforts from close range.
Whilst Southend continued to send players forward in search of a goal before half-time, the Iron managed to regain possession and quickly turned defence into attack. They swiftly worked the ball into the feet of McAtee who unleashed a powerful strike from 25-yards out. Mark Oxley was beaten, but the post came to the goalkeeper’s rescue with the effort hitting the frame of the goal.
After a slow and uneventful start to the second-half, Loft progressed forward with the ball and passed wide to Eisa. The winger came inside, hitting his strike harmlessly over from distance.
Eisa again tried to make something happen for the Iron. He took the ball past his man, but his pass across the face of goal was intercepted.
In the 65th minute, substitute Kyle Taylor won Southend a free-kick 30 yards out, but the set-piece taken by Tom Clifford saw his effort deflect off the wall and bounce through to Howard.
Southend then tried their luck from a corner. The initial ball into the area was headed away by the Iron’s defence and McCormack attempted an ambitious header from the edge of the 18-yard box, but Howard made another comfortable stop.
With ten minutes remaining, Southend gained a goal advantage when Olayinka put his side 1-0 up. The ball came into the box from the right-wing at pace and the Shrimpers midfielder slotted it beyond Howard.
The Iron almost had an immediate response. A fantastic cross from Rowe was delivered into the area and Aaron Jarvis directed his header just over the crossbar.
Closing in on the final minutes of the game, Jordan Hallam had a great chance to level the scoring, however Bwomono just about deflected his shot behind for a corner.
The resulting corner also presented the Iron with a chance. Bedeau found himself unmarked in the box and with the goalkeeper off his line, could only manage to put his header over the bar.
With five minutes of added time, the Iron couldn't find the leveller and fell to a 1-0 defeat.
SOUTHEND: Oxley, Bwomono, McCormack, Hobson, Olayinka(Goodship, 88’), Dieng, Akinola (Kyle Taylor, 62’), Clifford, Acquah (Richard Taylor, 88’), Demetriou, Hart (Egbri, 78’).
SOUTHEND UNUSED SUBS: Seaden, Klass, Kyprianou.
IRON: Howard, Bedeau, Onariase, Gilliead (Green, 57’), Loft (Jarvis, 78’), Eisa, Spence (Hallam, 85’), Beestin, Rowe, O’Malley, McAtee (Taylor, 78’).
IRON UNUSED SUBS: Watson, Hippolyte, Cordner.