United were defeated by a well-drilled Moors outfit under the lights of Glanford Park in the Isuzu FA Trophy.
The Iron were back in action on a bitterly cold Friday night to face Solihull Moors in the third round of the Isuzu FA Trophy, a competition in which United prevailed against Darlington in the second round during late November. The tie was the first encounter back under the lights of Glanford Park since owner Michelle Harness and her Board of Directors won their long-lasting fight to make home Ours Once More.
Manager Jimmy Dean made one change to the side that comfortably defeated Hereford the previous Saturday with explosive centre-back Max Kouogun dropping to the bench for vice-captain Andrew Boyce. In other team news, the competitions regulation allows each side to have a seven-player strong bench, as a result of this new addition Maison Campbell (who joins the Iron on a one-month loan from National League outfit York City) to find a spot amongst the substitutes.
Following a spirited Hi Ho from the Scunthorpe faithful, midfield playmaker Jacob Butterfield got the game underway for the Iron. The visitors came into the tie thriving in the National League and were showing their immediate quality with a constant wave of early pressure, refusing to give United a moment to breathe within their own half.
A flurry of early corners seemed to be setting the tone for the fixture as neither side were creating a great deal of opportunities. This was until Solihull constructed themselves a well-worked opener to give themselves the lead. An expert flick-on from 6’5 target man forward Mark Beck allowed Jack Stevens to break away. The former Banbury man strode into the area and effortlessly dispatched the ball past goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons to make it 1-0.
Throughout a lacklustre first half, the sides were locked in a scrappy affair. Both sides weren’t playing entertaining football, and play was trapped in a stop-start style with a number of yellow cards being produced.
As the half continued in a poor fashion, an uncalled-for mistake led to the Moors doubling their advantage. A lofted ball from deep was attempted to be headed back to Fitzsimons by left-back Tyler Denton, however Denton misplaced his header permitting forward Josh Kelly to latch onto the loose ball and lethally power the ball beyond Fitzsimons.
With the half drawing to a close, Scunthorpe appeared to have been given a lifeline by referee Dean Watson. United top scorer Danny Whitehall gave chase to a bouncing ball but was met with an outstretched arm to the face from centre-half Kyle Morrison. Morrison was brandished his second yellow card of the night for the incident and inevitably was sent marching towards an early bath.
The Iron were left with a monumental mountain to climb for the second period; however, they had the man advantage as well as visible momentum that was shown from the off. United came the closest to scoring yet through Butterfield. Denton won the ball back in a dangerous area before fizzing a low cross to the edge of the area, which found Butterfield but his effort from the edge of the area rebounded back off his own man and away from goal.
With 20 minutes to go the Iron had failed to test Moors keeper Sam Hornby to a high degree. This was until Whitehall came marginally close to halving the deficit when he rose highest to meet a deep cross sending the ball spinning towards the sanction only for Hornby to deny the striker with a dramatic dive.
The game’s next major action came in the form of unusual substitution as referee Watson picked up an injury and was forced to be replaced by fourth official Ian Johnston, further adding to the already heavily amassing additional time.
In extra time, the Iron’s performance was perfectly summed up as substitute Danny Elliott failed to turn home two golden chances from point blank range, however not for the lack of trying as the forward had been a bright spark since his introduction.
Scunthorpe’s misfortune was brought a close and hence signifying a 2-0 defeat as well as United’s exit from the competition as they fell short at the third round for the second successive season.
IRON: Fitzsimons, Kelly (Law, 59), Evans, Boyce, Clunan, Roberts, Butterfield, Scales, Smith (Elliott, 59), Denton, Whitehall.
IRON SUBS: Campbell, Kouogun, Wilson, Shrimpton, Jenkins.