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Jimmy Dean on winning the battle of both boxes

19 August 2023


Jimmy Dean on winning the battle of both boxes

19 August 2023

First team manager Jimmy Dean was delighted with his team as the Iron dug in to record back-to-back wins, and two away wins on the spin for the first time in nearly three years.

With United just 1-0 up inside the last 10 minutes through Alfie Beestin’s early goal, late goals from Danny Whitehall and Tyler Denton gave Scunthorpe some breathing space after soaking up a lot of pressure throughout the encounter.

Three points at Rushall, coupled with a maximum return at Tamworth on the opening day, meant the Iron had taken six from six away from home in their opening two games for the first time in the league for 30 years.

Speaking after the game, he said: “I thought Rushall gave a really good account of themselves. It was a tight game. We’ve just been better in both boxes. That’s a fair summary. 

“We need really settled on the ball or played football like we can, but it’s two clean sheets on the trot, two wins on the trot and it leaves us top of the league.”

In learning the statistic that it had been almost three years since United had won twice in a row on the road, Dean simply uttered “wow” before continuing with his answer.

“I just said to the boys that they deserve an awful lot of credit because they are playing with a lot of pressure that wasn’t theirs with the position that the club is in,” he stated. 

“There’s pressure on the boys for every performance from the very start of the season.

“We understand we’re Scunthorpe United and we wouldn’t have it any other way, because that’s why we are all here - because of how fantastic and big this football club is. They’re dealing with it really well.

“They’ve dug in, in the second half. I got into them a little bit at half-time because I thought the performance was very minimal and we were just doing enough. Credit to Rushall for that.

“We’ve got through it, we’ve soaked up the pressure and we’ve dealt with the ugly stuff today.”

United had Ross Fitzsimons to thank for a fine save to keep the side ahead at 1-0 before the second and third goals hit the net. And having soaked up a lot of pressure and defended a lot aerially, the Iron gaffer was happy to see the net ripple and give the side a worry-free last 10 minutes of the game.

“I was relieved,” he continued. 

“It was an end-to-end game without much quality - a battle of both boxes. We’ve had chances. Alfie is in on goal and I do think that’s a red card.

“For the second goal, Will (Evans) has defended it superbly. He’s dropped a lovely ball into Danny Whitehall and he’s a man in form at the moment. He’s shown his value at scoring goals, and he’s been very prolific and it was a great bit of composure.

“The third, I thought Kels (Michael Kelly) has dropped superbly when everyone else is walking away from the ball. He drops 20 yards, plays around the corner. Ty (Denton) has shown us how quick he is - I knew he was quick, but genuinely not that quick - and why and how he’s hit it from there like that, I’ll never know. It was superb a superb piece of football and we send the fans home happy.

“Hopefully we’re in a position to kick on.”

The Iron lost skipper Michael Clunan in the first half as he looked to have taken a knock. After initially looking to carry on, he was forced off. Dean gave an update on his departure: “I don’t know yet, and that’s the honest answer. 

“I think we missed Mikey when he went off. We stiffened up a little bit and lost our fluidity, and then it became a battle of both boxes, which we came out on top of, so I’m happy.”

With Scunthorpe into double figures after four games, and maintaining their place at the summit, Dean urged everyone to embrace the dizzy heights of the division.

“It’s nice, let’s not get away from that,” he added. 

“For this club to do a 180 and start going the other way, we need positivity and being top of the league is something we’ve got to embrace. There are two really tough games next week and we want to pick up some points. Long may it continue.”

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