Scunthorpe United’s Under-18 side were held to a 2-2 draw by Oldham Athletic on Saturday morning, in the side's second Youth Alliance League Cup match of the season. Charlie Burden-Whittleton and Josh Robertson were the scorers.

It was the away side who started the contest the brighter of the two sides, with the Oldham number 14 creating space and forcing goalkeeper Ewan Oxborough into an early save.

Nat Wallace produced a superb ball down the right-hand side to pick out Lucas Dawson soon after, who nodded his effort just narrowly wide.

Charlie Strouther’s in-swinging corner was to be United’s next threatening opening, finding Wallace in the area, who acrobatically flicked over. 

With just over half an hour gone however it was the away side who took the lead, with the Latics number 16 taking aim from distance and superbly finding the top corner. 

Midfielder Harvey Cribb galavanted forward well soon after as the Iron bidded to level the scoring. His cross came to no avail however and sailed out for a throw-in on the far side. 

Oxborough was then called into action once more as the half-time whistle approached, denying the visitors a second after a looping effort had seemingly caught Scunthorpe napping. 

There were huge claims for a penalty just moments before the break, as Strouther appeared to be shoved to the ground inside the penalty area. The referee subsequently waved the claims away.

As the second half began it was United who asserted the early dominance and found the game's equaliser just 10 minutes after the interval. Ben Pyke and Wallace combined brilliantly down the left, with the latter picking out Burden-Whittleton who nodded home from close range.

Wallace was again found inside the penalty area as the game came alive shortly after. He was found in acres of space over on the left and as he got his shot away, was hauled down inside the box and a penalty was awarded.

Robertson duly stepped up and flipped the scoreline on its head with just 15 minutes gone in the second period, tucking the spot-kick away.

Pike was handed a chance to make it three after another superb Strouther corner was sent in. The defender however couldn't direct his header on target. 

Strouther was again impacting the game, as he wonderfully won the ball back in the middle of the park before playing in Robertson with 72 minutes played. He was then brought down 20 yards from goal, with Strouther stepping up to take the set-piece himself which was well saved once more. 

With just 10 minutes remaining it was Athletic who drew level, as an outswinging ball into the area was tapped home by the number four, setting up a grandstand finish.

Ed Devine picked out Pike for the last action of the game, as again the United defender just couldn't steer his header on target, as the tie finished level.

Speaking following the full-time whistle, Professional Development Phase Coach Rob Watson insisted he saw enough good things from his side across the 90 minutes at Appleby Frodingham. 

"As a whole I'm disappointed with the result for the lads, but not disappointed with any of the performance," he began.

"I’m really happy with the game and how it went, as we knew Oldham would be a good side coming into it and we are coming off the back of three games unbeaten which is a positive going into any match.

"In the previous two teams we have played, no discredit to them, sides that are lower down the leagues and they were difficult games in themselves, but we had to then switch it on against another professional full time team. 

"It was always going to be difficult and I thought we managed the game well, we had a lot more attacking third entries, corners and some of the things we are trying to introduce into the games a lot."

With former Academy Head Coach Tony Daws currently overseeing the operations with the first team, Watson amplified how the pathway into the first team has never been better for the Iron’s younger players.

"It's a brilliant environment at the moment," he began. "It's the most connected the academy and first team have been in years, with Tony's influence down there, the lads get to train with the first team more often, so the shop window is open. They have an opportunity now and that is fuel for the fire for them."

Scunthorpe’s academy outfit return to action next Saturday against Grimsby Town in the Youth Alliance League.

IRON: Oxborough; Devine, Abraham, Pyke, Cunningham (Dickinson, 61), Wallace; Robertson, Cribb, Dawson (Hill, 85); Burden-Whittleton (Giles, 66), Strouther (Larkin, 75).

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