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Match Reports

Iron Under-18s draw in entertaining derby battle

17 January 2022

The Iron’s Under-18's side played out a superbly entertaining 2-2 draw with rivals Grimsby Town on Saturday morning, with both Ben Pike and Ben Franklin finding the net.

Taking to the pitch for the first time in 2022, United had led 2-0 at the interval before the Mariners twice hit back late on to rescue a point.

In what was a cagey beginning to the game, with heavy fog conditions in North Lincolnshire providing a challenge to say the least, Oliver Lobley saw his effort saved on 11 minutes, after some good link up play between both Jamie Moore and Ben Franklin beforehand.

Just four minutes later the Iron did take the lead, as a deep looping corner from the right hand side fell to Ben Pike, as he was on hand to poke home only his second league goal of the campaign.

Harvey Cribb was cautioned soon after, with his challenge denying the away side a clear chance to break away through the middle of the park.

Grimsby then came close for the first time, with the Town number six rising highest to meet an in-swinging corner delivery, heading just wide.

With 37 minutes on the clock however, Tony Daws’ side found their second of the game through Franklin. The Newcastle-born midfielder picked up the ball and took aim from 25 yards out, curling his effort beyond the Mariners keeper.

Jake Balme was called into action for the first time just before the interval, as the Scunthorpe keeper did brilliantly to deny Town’s number 11, who cleverly found space to shoot inside the Iron’s penalty area.

As the second half began, Harrison Poulter carved his side's first chance of the half on 55 minutes, as United’s number 10 saw his goal-bound effort blocked after some tidy footwork to create the opportunity.

Tyrell Sellars-Fleming then went through one-on-one shortly after, with his effort saved well once more by the busy Grimsby keeper.

Just a minute later, Town’s number 12 halved his side's deficit, finishing into the bottom right corner after beating the offside trap to race through one-on-one.

With the game still hanging in the balance at 2-1, the Iron then felt very harshly done by, as Sellars-Fleming looked certain to have been clipped inside the penalty area. Scunthorpe’s claims were subsequently waived away, much to the frustration of the home bench.

Grimsby were to deal United a further hammer blow, as they were awarded a penalty following a mazy run from the visitors number 7, before stepping up from the spot to level the game.

In the dying seconds Poulter did well to win Scunthorpe a free-kick in very threatening territory, but he unfortunately couldn’t beat the well organised Mariners wall, with the points forced to be shared.

Academy coach Tony Daws reflected on the draw, as he began: "I thought in the first half our boys were really good, we passed the ball well and scored a couple of well worked goals.

"We played at a good tempo and created some good strong chances. We limited Grimsby to not many opportunities, but eventually it was almost a game of two halves."

On the contentious penalty decision that unfortunately didn’t go his team's way, Daws feels perhaps the mindset of the players was slightly affected soon after.

"We thought it was a clear penalty, and I think psychologically it changes the mindset of the players. It gave them the momentum and the game I feel maybe altered off the back off it," he said.

The Iron return to action next weekend in the EFL Youth Alliance League once more, travelling to South Yorkshire to face Rotherham United (11am kick-off).

IRON: Balme (Foster, 45), Moore, Lobley, Elliott-Bell, Pike, Young, Cribb (Wallace, 89), Franklin, Sellars-Fleming (Strouther, 79), Poulter, Moore-Billam.

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