The Iron were beaten 2-0 by Maidstone United at Glanford Park on Saturday afternoon.
United came into the game having made just the one change; Kgosi Ntlhe dropped out of the squad because of injury and Tom Pugh replaced him in the side. Maidstone came into the game having not won in the past 12 games and also found themselves in the drop zone.
The first chance of the match fell to the visitors. Early pressure earnt them a corner and a pinpoint ball was whipped into the area. The cross was met by a Maidstone player but the header was directed poorly and it went wide and out for a goal kick. It was a great opportunity to put the visitors 1-0 up from six-yards-out.
In the 15th minute, the Iron created a brilliant chance and should possibly have taken the lead in the game. Goalkeeper Marcus Dewhurst lofted a ball forward and the Maidstone defence were undecisive when trying to deal with the long ball. It bounced over them and Joe Nuttall found himself clean through on goal. The ball didn’t fall kindly for Joe Nuttall and he had to try and improvise. Ryan Sandford rushed off his line to try and deal with the danger and Nuttall had no time and therefore he had to use his knee to try and flick the ball over the Maidstone keeper and into the net. He couldn’t do so and Sandford collected.
A few minutes later, the visitors crafted another chance. Another ball into the United penalty area wasn’t dealt with and Ryan Galvin met the ball at the back post and tried to produce a powerful header but his header was off target and no threat to Dewhurst.
Mason O’Malley was the next player to try his luck on goal. Caolan Lavery turned his man and found an onrushing O’Malley in acres of space on the left flank. He drilled the ball across to the Iron left-back and he chose to take on the shot from the edge of the area. He unleashed a strong shot but Sandford was quickly down to his right to make a smart save.
In the 36th minute, Nuttall had the best chance of the game so far. Rowe had space and time on the right-hand flank and he decided to direct a cross into the area. His cross was precise and met the head of the Iron striker who guided the ball towards the bottom right corner. His effort narrowly went wide of the target and the scores stayed level.
Maidstone had another golden opportunity late on in the half. Andrew Boyce had his clearance blocked and Josh Fawole capitalised on this. He found a fellow Maidstone player inside the penalty area and he managed to turn and get a shot away (from eight yards out) but it went miles wide of the target. The away side would have been disappointed they hadn’t taken the lead.
The second half got underway and Maidstone had the best chance of the game up to then. A low cross into the box was met by Fawole and he flicked the ball goalward, and his effort struck the crossbar. The ball then rebounded and struck Dewhurst’s back, and somehow the ball didn’t find its way into the back of the Iron net. Once again, the ball somehow hit the bar and went out for a corner.
George Taft floated a ball over the top for Lavery to chase; the Iron forward brought the ball down well and managed to get a shot off. His shot looked to be heading in but it was blocked well by a Maidstone defender and it went out for a corner. Lavery had a chance from the resultant corner. The ball fell awkwardly to him and he had to improvise and try an overhead kick. His shot had the power to beat Sandford but it wasn’t on target and the chance went to waste.
In the 65th minute, Lavery slotted the ball through to Rob Apter and he found himself in a one-on-one situation. Nuttall was there for support and Apter chose to lay the ball off to him. There was a mix-up between Beestin and Nuttall and they both got in each other’s way and Maidstone were able to clear the danger.
One of Scunthorpe’s best chances of the game came midway through the second half, as Nuttall slotted a ball through to Lavery and the Iron’s No. 13 drove into the Maidstone penalty area. He was closed down quickly by Sandford and therefore he went for a chip. However, he saw his effort trickle wide of the target.
In the 74th minute, the visitors took the lead through substitute Barham. A cross from the right-hand flank was met by Barham’s head and he headed home from six-yards-out to put the visitors a goal to the good.
Minutes later, the Iron thought they were level through a Nuttall goal. After neat play in the middle of the park, the lines were broken and Lavery had time and space on the right-hand flank. He drilled the ball across the six-yard box to an onrushing Nuttall. Sanford was in no man’s land and the Iron striker slotted into an empty net. However, in doing so, the referee thought Nuttall had handled the ball and the goal was disallowed.
In the 86th minute, Maidstone grabbed a second goal through Roarie Deacon. The striker cut inside and powered a strike, from just inside the area, into the far corner. Dewhurst had no chance of reaching it as the strike was that powerful and accurate. This gave the visitors some breathing space in the game.
Nuttall tried to get United back in the game when he had a shot from just outside the area. He took the shot on with his weaker foot and it blazed over the crossbar.
That was the last action of the game and the visitors took away all three points.
IRON: Dewhurst, O’Malley, Boyce, Beestin, Nuttall, Rowe (Carver 75’), Lavery, Taft, Butterfield, Apter, Pugh (Wilson 65’)
IRON SUBS NOT USED: Foster, Young, Sellars-Fleming
MAIDSTONE UNITED: Sandford, Galvin, Fowler, Come, Mensah, Odusanya, Booty, Fawole (Barham 69’), Binnon-Williams (Patterson 82’), Greenidge, Deacon
MAIDSTONE UNITED SUBS NOT USED: Mersin, Ellul, Alabi