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Match Reports

Report: Iron 5-1 Blyth Spartans

13 April 2024

Match Reports

Report: Iron 5-1 Blyth Spartans

13 April 2024

Scunthorpe triumphed in emphatic fashion at the Attis Arena thanks to goals from Maxim Kouogun, Danny Whitehall (two), Kai Corbett and a late stunner from Alfie Beestin.

The Iron were out in full force for their final home league game of the 2023-24 season, as they prepared to take on relegation candidates Blyth Spartans. The previous encounter between the Spartans and Scunthorpe was at the Croft Park Stadium in early February when United hearts were broken at the death courtesy of a late equaliser, however this time around the Iron would’ve been hoping to not repeat that result.

For the encounter, first team manager Jimmy Dean prepared his side for the upcoming National League North play-offs by making three alterations to his side that comfortably saw off Hereford last weekend with a sublime second half display. The first of the three changes was to be skipper Michael Clunan returning to the starting XI in place of workhorse midfielder Tom Pugh. Elsewhere, another change was made to the United midfield with Alfie Beestin being selected instead of frequent performer Kian Scales who dropped to the bench. Finally, Peterborough loanee Kai Corbett managed to force his way into the side for his first home league start after a number of recent impressive performances from the bench.

As proceedings were kickstarted by the hosts, the tone of the fixture was set immediately by the visiting Spartans who showed no mercy in the opening minutes by diving into a number of reckless challenges.  One of these strong-willed tackles in particular was lucky not to see a red produced as a result as Blyth midfielder Jordan Hickey dived in and saw himself shown a yellow card after a long debate from the referee Jake Allsopp and his assistant.

Within minutes of the tackle that saw Tyler Denton forced off with an injury, the Iron grabbed an all-important early goal from a well worked set-piece. The delicate cross from Jacob Butterfield perfectly found the salmon-like leap of centre-back Maxim Kouogun, who connected powerfully with ball to send his header flying into the goal to make it 1-0.

As the action resumed, Scunthorpe were now firmly cemented in the lead as they pushed forward in an attempt to find their second of the afternoon, and sooner rather than later it arrived. Once again from a cross as this time it was winger Liam McAlinden to swing a low cross across the six-yard box that found the marauding run of Corbett at the back post to bundle the ball into the bottom corner making it 2-0 with plenty of time to play.

With half-time approaching fast it was quickly discovered that United were feeling relentless, and as a result ruthlessly added a third in clinical fashion. Claiming his 20th goal of the season, top scorer Danny Whitehall rose highest in a heavily contested penalty area to meet another Butterfield corner, and hence nodded the ball past the helpless Michael Hogan between the Spartans sticks.

This was to be the last of the first half action for both sides as they made their way into the tunnel for a well-earned half-time break.

As the game was set underway again courtesy of Allsopp’s whistle, it was fair to say that the visitors were starting the brighter, as their half-time substitution seemed to be making an impact, as they began to swiftly create attacks.

However, Blyth’s hopes of obtaining a goal to spark hopes of a comeback were soon abolished by Scunthorpe’s incredible ability in the final third. After some mesmerising footwork from Kouogun in the penalty he managed to win another corner. From the resulting set piece Whitehall brought down the ball exquisitely and was subsequently fouled in the area to win a penalty. In his last action before being replaced, Whitehall stepped up to the plate and comfortably tucked the ball into the bottom right-corner to add a further cushion to the lead.

With the score now at 4-0, Blyth were presented a chance to find a consolation goal in the 80 minute of play when they were presented with a spot kick of their own after Liam McAlinden brought down Oli Thompson in the area. From the spot, veteran Nicky Deverics stepped up and beautifully dispatched the ball into the top corner and earned due credit.

As time fizzled out in the game, United were able to rubber stamp an emphatic victory by sublime means, as Beestin carried on his goalscoring efforts from the week prior with a stunning solo strike from 25-yards that swept beneath the goalkeeper and struck the back of the net to make it 5-1 with the last kick of the 90.

With the game’s end signified by the referee’s whistle it was to be the end of the home league season for United, completed with a lap of appreciation by all players and staff that was well received from the thousands of fans who stayed. 

IRON: Fitzsimons, Ogle, Kouogun, Boyce, Clunan, Beestin, Roberts, Butterfield, Corbett (Sembie-Ferris 71), Denton (McAlinden, 6), Whitehall (Elliott, 63).

IRON SUBS: Evans, Scales.

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