Half-time substitute Ryan Loft scored a brace, with Myles Hippolyte also netting, as the Iron came from behind to win 3-1 at Oldham Athletic on Boxing Day.
The Iron made three changes going the match, with Devarn Green, Harry Bunn and Hayden Hackney coming in for Ross Millen, Alfie Beestin and Loft.
United won an early free-kick on the left channel as Aaron Jarvis put his body in between the ball and a Latics defender before being felled.
Hackney’s subsequent in-swinging cross into the area was a good one. The hosts failed to clear and Manny Onariase sent the ball over the bar from the far side of the six-yard box.
With four minutes gone, there was a real chance for the Iron as Myles Hippolyte persisted on the right to squeeze in a low cross for Jarvis. He rolled his man and allowed the ball to roll to Bunn, who dragged an effort wide of the target.
Oldham won a free-kick in the eighth minute, which Jack Stobbs stepped up to take, clearing the wall and the crossbar.
However, just three minutes later, the Latics took the lead when Benny Couto drilled a powerful drive across goal and into the far corner of the net.
After 15 minutes, Hippolyte kept the ball in on the right touchline and found Tom Pugh in the area. He played a one-two with Hackney before his shot was blocked. Pugh claimed it was with an arm, but the referee was unmoved.
Two minutes after, the Latics' Hallam Hope miscued his effort from 12-yards after he was squared the ball from the left side.
With 20 minutes played, Green drove down the right channel and sent in a low cross. Bunn came near post to meet it and turned sharply before firing a low shot towards goal, which Jayson Leutwiler got down to save.
Pugh then got another half-chance on the edge of the box, with his effort taking a deflection before spinning out for a corner. From it, the hosts failed to clear on a number of occasions following, but Jarvis, Bunn and Onariase couldn't divert the ball towards goal before the Latics eventually cleared.
After 28 minutes, Jarvis chased down a ball over the top from Hackney. Leutwiler was a good distance from his goal and cleared, with Carl Piergianni close to colliding with his colleague.
Bunn then broke the offside trap over the top. He took one touch onto his left foot before his low driven effort was beaten away by the goalkeeper.
At the other end, Couto was squared the ball on the edge of the box. He took one touch before drilling an effort towards the corner, with Watson getting down smartly to his left to push around the post. The Iron cleared the corner, with Stobbs retrieving possession on the left channel before sending the ball out for a goal kick.
On 36 minutes, Green cut onto his left foot and floated in a good ball. Jarvis rose to meet the header, but Piergianni popped up in front of him to concede a corner. It proved the last opening of the first half.
At the break, Loft came on for Jarvis for the first Scunthorpe change.
There was an early second half chance for the hosts as Watson was drawn into a save down to his right. Straight after, at the other end, Bunn saw a driven effort on the right side of the box blocked.
Scunthorpe levelled in the 49th minute when Loft set up for the acrobatics and connected with the ball. Leutwiler committed to the dive, with a wicked deflection sending the ball into the other corner.
The 58th minute saw a corner to the hosts on the far side, which was headed clear by the Iron and Scunthorpe broke with speed. Loft was played in and Pugh made a steaming overlapping run. He was played in, but his shot went across goal and wide.
With 60 minutes gone, the Iron came at the Latics defence with pace, with Bunn driving towards goal. He slotted in Loft, who clipped the top of the bar with his powerful strike.
Four minutes later, Dylan Bahamboula wriggled free on the edge of the box to angle a shot goalwards. Watson got down to parry before gathering at the second attempt. Moments later, the striker again tested the Iron ‘keeper, but it was another good save.
On 66 minutes, Couto drove at the Iron defence before angling a shot goalwards. Green got a boot on the effort to turn the ball into the side-netting. From the subsequent corner, Piergianni won the contact and the ball dropped into the six-yard box before being hooked away by Bunn. The hosts came forward again, with Hope glancing a header wide of the target.
In the 73rd minute, the home side's Hope was almost slipped into the area, but Onariase came across to prod the ball out for a corner.
However, the Iron managed to go ahead in the 75th minute with Loft feeding a ball through to Hippolyte, who turned and found himself in acres of space before drilling the ball through Leutwiler’s legs.
Two minutes later, they made it two when Hackney slid in to win the ball back, Bunn slotted the ball across to Loft and he drilled in his second of the game.
There was a substitution straight after as Alex Kenyon came on for Green, and his side successfully saw the game out to claim an important third league win of the season.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time, there was good attacking play from the Iron down the left culminating in Hippolyte’s shot being blocked for a corner. This came after Bunn had taken the ball down the left and won his side a corner earlier too.
Scunthorpe return to action on Wednesday night when they host Northampton Town (7.45pm kick-off).
OLDHAM: Leutwiler, Cisse, Piergianni, Adams, Whelan, Hope, Stobbs (Keillor-Dunn, 45), Diarra (Luamba, 83), Bahamboula, Couto, Vaughan (Hart, 55).
OLDHAM SUBS NOT USED: Rogers, McGahey, Hopcutt, Atkinson.
IRON: Watson, O'Malley, Taft, Onariase, Green (Kenyon, 79), Hippolyte, Rowe, Bunn, Jarvis (Loft, 45), Pugh, Hackney.
IRON SUBS NOT USED: Billson, Millen, Hallam, Davis, Lewis.
ATTENDANCE: 4,693 (413 away).