Scunthorpe handed Gainsborough Trinity a thumping 7-2 loss on a cold Tuesday night under the lights to see them advance to the final four of the Lincolnshire Senior Cup.

The Iron travelled to the Kal Group stadium for their first encounter in the competition of the campaign following their bye in the previous round. Their opponents for the night were Northern Premier League neighbours Gainsborough Trinity, who are led by former Scunthorpe manager Russ Wilcox. The sides had already faced once already this term back in late July when United emphatically triumphed over the Holy Blues with a 6-0 victory in pre-season.

The Iron were heavily rotated for the tie, with first team manager Jimmy Dean making a full team of alterations to the side that defeated Chorley three days prior. Notable inclusions included creative playmaker Alfie Beestin, who returned to action for the first time since sustaining a lengthy hamstring injury against Scarborough in August. Elsewhere, first team coach Andy Butler came into the side to partner Max Kouogun in the centre of defence, in what would Butler’s first game since returning for his third spell in claret and blue.

The returning Beestin got the ball rolling for the Iron against a youthful Trinity side. During Dean’s post-match Chorley interview, the gaffer was clear in stating that he wanted his side to treat the cup tie like any other game. This message seemed to have been reiterated to his players as within the opening minute Scunthorpe stormed into the lead.

A spiralling loose ball found Beestin on the edge of the area, with acres of space and plenty of time he sent a low driven shot was towards young shot stopper Ethan Cowan. Cowan dove well to palm the ball away, but he could push it into the path of front-man Danny Elliott, who tapped the ball home to give the Iron an early advantage.

Now with the lead, Scunthorpe showed no intent on taking the foot off the gas. The Holy Blues found themselves under a constant wave of pressure and their failure to clear the ball went marginally close to resulting in Elliott’s second of the night. The former Boston striker drove into the penalty area before delivering a ferocious effort that was expertly kept out by Cowan before being scampered away by a bundle of orange shirts.

The second goal seemed to be arriving in only a matter of time based off the game’s current trajectory, however it was almost found through a looping free-kick effort from explosive winger Jason Law. The effort cleared the wall from 25 yards, and in the process cleared Cowan’s crossbar in the process hence keeping the score to one.

With 25 minutes played the Iron would live to rue their missed opportunities as against the run of play the Holy Blues forged themselves an equaliser. Former United midfielder Jack Moore-Billam robbed the ball of captain Michael Kelly in a promising position, before slotting a neat pass into the feet of Matthew Fraser. Fraser set himself with a touch out of his feet and curled a superb effort over York loanee Maison Campbell to equalise.

Following Gainsborough finding an avenue back into the fixture, the half’s reoccurring theme continued with Scunthorpe creating a flurry of promising chances, but finding themselves unable to convert. This was until Elliott claimed his second of the evening after he latched onto a pinpoint through ball from Law. Elliott bared down upon Cowan, and was never in doubt to stroke the ball beyond the keeper to restore United’s lead.

With the advantage regained the Iron began to push forward in search for a third. A much-needed half-time break for the hosts beckoned, but before this would be awarded to the Holy Blues they found themselves two down in spectacular fashion. On his return to the playing squad Butler rose highest to flick a stunning trademark header into the far corner past the onlooking Cowan to make it 3-1 going into the break.

The sides re-entered the fray with Scunthorpe holding a comfortable lead that within minutes could’ve and arguably should’ve been extended through Elliott. In search of his hat-trick the number nine was fed the ball within the area after another threatening run from Cameron Wilson allowed him to check past his man and deliver a low cross. Elliott was rushed, however, and scuffed his shot and sent it rebounding off the woodwork.

Wilson was acting like a man possessed in the second period, and did increasingly well to conjure United’s next opportunity. The technically gifted winger danced throughout a crowd of flailing Gainsborough legs and continued his run into the area as he rounded Cowan, in an act of desperation the keeper brought down Wilson too deny him a truly magnificent goal. After a short debate on who was to take the spot-kick, the man who won the penalty stepped up confidently and dispatched the ball into the bottom corner.

With the score now at 4-1, Scunthorpe continued to create as the tiring legs of the Holy Blues could only watch on as Elliott grabbed his well-deserved hat-trick. After latching onto a stray back pass, the former Aston Villa youth player rode over a number of lacklustre challenges before sending Cowan the wrong way and firing the ball into the net from point blank range.

Trinity had fought valiantly throughout the night and soon reaped the rewards of their efforts with 15 minutes remaining. Pacey forward Kyle Simpson had been constantly applying pressure on the experienced Butler all game long and, when he found himself through one on one against Campbell, he fancied his chances and seamlessly slotted the ball beneath his challenger to make the score 5-2.

The Holy Blues' recently discovered lifeline was almost instantly cancelled out, however, as Elliott grabbed himself his fourth of the evening. From the restart some intricate interplay between Scunthorpe’s midfield meant that the striker could run clear again and tuck the ball calmly into the bottom corner.

With time ebbing away, and the score line at an astounding 6-2, there was still time for substitute Harrison Poulter to add insult to trinity’s injury’s as the first year professional drove in from the right flank and stung a powerful effort that snuck into the left hand corner in what would be the nights last major action.

The final whistle saw the Iron advance to the semi-finals on a night where the core could’ve easily been double figures if not for the brave efforts of Cowan between the Holy Blues Posts.

IRON: Campbell, Kelly, Kouogun, Beestin (Poulter, 63), Elliott, Wilson, Robertson, Shrimpton, Jenkins, Law, Butler.

IRON SUBS: Evans, Scales.

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