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Jimmy Dean: Delighted with the win on a tough afternoon

5 August 2023


Jimmy Dean: Delighted with the win on a tough afternoon

5 August 2023

First team manager Jimmy Dean reacted to taking all three points on the opening day of the 2023-24 season away at Tamworth.

United were forced to come from behind, with substitute Danny Whitehall scoring the winner with just under 20 minutes of normal time remaining.

Speaking following the game, he said: “I am delighted. It was a really tough afternoon in a really hostile environment, but we’ve come through it and got three points.

“We are off the mark, which is exactly where we need to be. I think a lot of teams will struggle to come to Tamworth and pick up points. They’re a side that are used to winning. I’ve been reiterating that message to the players all week and I think they struggled with it for 40 minutes. 

“We’re everyone’s cup final, and you can hear that from what the fans are saying, but we’ve come away with three points and an away win. It’s my first as Scunthorpe manager and our second in 18 months, so that shows how huge it is. We’ve done it at the first attempt on the first day of the season.”

Whitehall’s introduction, along with Jacob Butterfield, just over 10 minutes into the second half proved to be the game-changer, with the former Eastleigh striker grabbing a debut goal in front of the 750-strong travelling contingent.

The turning point, however, was the own goal five minutes into first-half stoppage time, which sent United in level at the interval, and game the away side something to build on.

“Goals change games. We didn’t deserve it at the time. After that we did settle down,” he continued.

“I didn’t change my team talk. I wasn’t happy with a lot of things, and then obviously I got to bring on the quality of Danny Whitehall and Jacob Butterfield. We settled a bit more on the ballers more progressive and dangerous playing through the pitch. Only the red card at the end stops us from getting a third goal.

“They tested us. They put balls in the box with lots of final third entries, penalty box entries. That’s definitely not a game that we’d have come away winning last season.”

Learning curve was the phrase used by the Iron boss following the result. And while the Iron might not have been at their best, to come away with the result in process can only be a positive thing.

“It’s exactly what I’ve said (reiterating that the game is what this league will be about),” he stated. 

“I’m glad we got the points off the back of the learning curve. I’ve told them 100 times this week. I’ve said it privately, I’ve said it publicly, but nothing gets you ready from that. We’ve worked on the set pieces, the throw-ins, but nothing gets you ready for the pressure cauldron.

“Our fans, when we needed a big of support and when we needed to dig deep, were there for us. I certainly think that we couldn’t have done that without them today.”

Scunthorpe return to Glanford Park for back-to-back games next Saturday and Tuesday. First of all, it’s a visit from Dean’s former side Peterborough Sports before Darlington make the trip to North Lincolnshire.

The United manager is eyeing back-to-back victories to back up the opening day success: “We’ve got to back it up. We need to get points on the board. Sports won today. They’ve got new ownership, new management and new players, and they’re up against they’re old manager, so they’re going to have a lot to prove. 

“We’re a different animal at home - the challenge is there, but we’ve got a group now that can cope with this. We’ve got a group that can get points on the board and win games. It’s up to us to go and prove it.”

With a final thought on victory at Tamworth, Dean is looking for his side to grow and develop on three points.

“We’ll take it. Last year we had nothing go for us, nothing bounced for us,” he added. 

“We’ve had a little bit of luck and we’ve taken it and won a football match. I thought we managed it superbly and when we go to our bench, we are bringing on players that can really affect the match and score the winner.

“It’s been a fantastic day at the office, result-wise. The performance wasn’t great first-half, but we managed it well in the second and I’m delighted we’ve come away with three points.”

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