The Iron’s Under-18 side ensured their season got off to the perfect start on Saturday, as they defeated Bradford City 6-2 in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
With a whole host of pre-season friendlies postponed prior to the commencement of this year’s league campaign, the Iron were dominant in the first 45 minutes and started the game brightly.
Captain Ben Franklin saw his free-kick sail just over the Bradford goal early on and minutes later Harvey Cribb saw his goal-bound effort narrowly miss the target.
The Iron did however take a deserved lead on 10 minutes through midfielder Jack Moore-Billam. The number seven cleverly reacted quickly to Cribb’s initial effort which cannoned back of the post to convert the rebound and give his side the perfect start to the 2021/22 campaign.
Just 12 minutes later their lead was doubled with thanks again to some superb work down the right flank from Harvey Cribb. The full back’s low cross flashed across the Bradford six-yard area only to be met and coolly converted by Franklin.
The visitors then got themselves back into the game just five minutes later, a smart header from the Bradford right midfielder narrowly crossed the line despite the best attempts of Iron defender Oliver Lobley.
But the hosts restored their two goal advantage in the 20th minute, with Sellars-Fleming notched after some good work in the area to keep the move alive from strike partner Harrison Poulter.
The goals then kept on coming for Tony Daws’ side and on 35 minutes it was 4-1 through what was arguably the pick of the goals so far. A superb phase of play from the Academy backline eventually culminated in Sellars-Fleming being brought down in the Bradford area after latching onto a wonderful pass from Dan Gallimore (who played as part of new Youth Alliance League rules which means teams can play a maximum of three first year professionals in a game). Harrison Poulter stepped up to convert his first goal of this season, smashing the penalty low to the right of the Bradford keeper.
There was even time for one more before half time for this impressive Scunthorpe side who made it 5-1 on 40 minutes. Some great trickery from Moore-Billam over on the right hand side of the area resulted in the wide man being the next player in claret and blue to be fouled inside the area. Another spot kick resulted in the same outcome as Poulter again stepped and scored to notch his second penalty.
As the second half began the Iron could have easily taken their foot off the gas being four goals to the good following a comprehensive performance in the first 45, but a swift counter attack down the left hand side resulted in Poulter getting his season off to the perfect start, netting his hat-trick as he swept home at the back post to make it 6-1.
The game then fizzled out in the second period but goalkeeper Jake Balme made two smart efforts to keep his side's lead in tact following good moves from the opposition to try and reduce the deficit in the second period of the game.
Bradford did however net the last goal of proceedings, with the visitors finishing smartly following a well worked move down the right hand side.
Speaking following the 6-2 victory for his side, Academy Manager Tony Daws praised his side's performance despite the lack of pre-season games heading into Saturday’s curtain raiser.
He said: "We’ve had a difficult pre-season as because of COVID we had five games called off. It was a good performance for us and the lads in our first competitive match against very good opposition in Bradford City. The result was quite pleasing on what was a really good day. The pitch is great, the sun was shining and it’s brilliant to get going again. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season."
Speaking on his aims for the upcoming campaign, Daws spoke about the aims of himself and his backroom team to produce players for the first team and to further aid their development whilst under his guidance.
He added: "That level of productivity is what we get judged on. We had a great season last year and it’s a different group of players now with a number of the second years moving on and earning their pro deals such as Dan (Dan Gallimore), who played today. Its rebuilding again for this season but the outcome is always the same, we look to produce good enough players to go on and become professional football players."
The Under-18 side's next fixture is an away trip to Mansfield Town this Saturday in the EFL Youth Alliance League once again, as the Iron look to make it two wins from two.
Scunthorpe United: Balme, Cribb (Pike, 60), Lewis, Gallimore, Elliott-Bell, Lobley, Moore-Billam, Franklin, Sellars-Fleming (Burden, 64), Poulter, Robertson.