The Iron Under-18s kept their first clean sheet of the season, by drawing 0-0 with rivals Grimsby Town on Saturday morning.
United started the game slowly and allowed an energetic Mariners side to dictate the early tempo in the opening 10 minutes, with Dan Gallimore (who played alongside Cameron Wilson as part of new Youth Alliance League rules which means teams can play a maximum of three first year professionals in a game) committing a foul on the edge of his own penalty area. Fortunately, the resulting free kick was indeed smartly saved by Iron goalkeeper Owen Foster.
Minutes later, it was again the visitors who came forward in what was blistering conditions at Bradley Football Development Centre, as a long ball from the midfield was raced onto by the Grimsby forward, who was brought down under a heavy challenge by United’s keeper when attempting to race through one-on-one. Foster was shown a yellow card with the resulting free kick again luckily coming to no avail.
Another 10 minutes passed by in a game that was very much being battled out in the midfield areas. Town’s striker raced through beating the offside trap, with Foster once again being called upon to keep the scores level.
Wilson and Harvey Cribb linked up terrifically on 33 minutes, with the Iron’s No 7 finding half a yard of space for himself on the edge of the penalty area, as his shot was saved smartly by the Mariners shot-stopper.
On 35 minutes, Foster was once called upon in a busy start to proceedings for the young goalkeeper. A terrific delivery from the right hand side was met powerfully by the Town defender, before Foster leaped into the air to deny what looked to be the game’s opening goal.
In the final action of the first half, Cribb did well after some smart midfield play by Jack Moore-Billam, before his effort from 20 yards out sailed over the hosts' crossbar to bring the first 45 minutes of action to a close.
The second half again followed the same pattern as the first, with both teams looking to control the midfield areas and spring attacks upon each other in an end-to-end and tightly contested derby fixture in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
On 54 minutes, Town pushed once more and after some good work down the right hand side by their right midfielder, the Mariners wide man cut the ball back across the Iron’s six-yard box only for the home side's striker to fire his effort wide of the target in what was a huge let off for Tony Daws’ side.
Just before the hour mark, it was Wilson who again looked to be the instigator for Scunthorpe, as he did well to spin his defender before his left-footed attempt just sailed wide of the Mariners goal.
Minutes later, substitute Josh Robertson and Moore-Billam combined terrifically just outside of the home side's penalty area as Robertson flicked his pass into the path of the arriving Cribb who couldn’t keep his effort under control as it unfortunately sailed just over the crossbar.
On 67 minutes, it was again Moore-Billam looking to bring his side forward, as he played a delightful one-two with Wilson as Scunthorpe seem to dance around the penalty area looking for the perfect opportunity at goal, before the home side recovered well to clear and distinguish any hopes of an opening goal with just over twenty minutes left to play.
12 minutes later, it was that man again Foster who kept the Iron’s clean sheet intact as the two Town strikers combined smartly to release the No 9 through on goal once more, before Foster rushed out to close the angle and saved brilliantly down to his left hand side.
And finally in the dying embers of proceedings it was once more the game's man of the match Foster who made a superb save in what was the biggest chance with just seconds left to play. Foster made himself big after the Mariners forward raced through and looked certain to win the game, before Scunthorpe’s goalkeeper stepped up to deny the hosts and ensure a first clean sheet of the season for his side, in what was a hard fought but entertaining encounter throughout.
Academy Coach Tony Daws was full of praise for his youthful Iron side, hailing the defensive work shown by his side to ensure the scores remained level.
"I thought today was a very good game of football between two very good teams, both trying to win and both trying to play football the right way,’’ he said.
"I think it was a fair result and they’ve had a few chances in the second half where they sneaked in and we’ve done well to defend it and keep the score level."
With the Iron again visiting the same ground again next week in a repeat of the tie but this time in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup, Daws expects changes to be made but another competitive fixture between two strong Academy sides.
"With it being a cup game next week we may look at it as an opportunity to utilise using some of the other players in the squad," he added.
"With us picking up a couple of injuries today we’ll assess those before next week and we’ll perhaps look at playing a different shape to enable us to get a strong result once more."
Next up is Grimsby again on Saturday, with Scunthorpe looking to build on a strong defensive performance this time in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup, before returning to league action the following week against Huddersfield Town.
IRON: Foster; Elliott-Bell (Robertson, 60), Gallimore, Moore (Lewis, 69), Lobley; Cribb, Franklin, Moore-Billam, Young; Wilson, Poulter (Strouther, 89).
IRON UNUSED SUBS: Pike, Wallace.