A good first half performance but Town didn't carry then into the second and were made to pay
Scunthorpe: Jak Alnwick, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Funso Ojo (c), Matthew Land, Ike Ugbo (Stephen Humphrys 86), Josh Morris, James Perch, Lee Novak (Rory McArdle 81), Charlie Goode, Cameron Burgess, Ryan Colclough (Andy Dales 72)
Subs: Jonathan Flatt, James Horsfield, George Thomas, Lewis Butroid
Town: 1 Joel Coleman, 2 Josh Emmanuel, 5 Mat Sadler (c), 6 Omar Beckles, 7 Shaun Whalley, 8 Greg Docherty, 9 Lee Angol, 18 Alex Gilliead (11 Arthur Gnahoua 89), 22 Luke Waterfall, 29 Ollie Norburn, 42 Anthony Grant (20 Aaron Amadi-Holloway 65)
Subs: 15 Steve Arnold, 4 Kieran Kennedy, 13 James Bolton, 28 Josh Laurent, 38 Ryan Barnett
Ref: Andy Haines
Assistants: Wayne Grunnill and David Plowright
Fourth Official: Alan Clayton
John Askey names the same starting XI as the Southend United game where Town ran out 2-0 winners. There is one change on the bench, Lenell John-Lewis has picked up a sickness bug so Kieran Kennedy comes into the squad.
The home side just about edged it in the opening 5 minutes in terms of possession but Town were set-up solid and were doing the hard work to snuff out the danger.
A Scunthorpe attack was repelled by Town and Grant came away with the ball, he played a cross field ball to get Town on the attack but was caught late by Perch, ref Haines played advantage and took possession deep into the Irons half. When play broke down with Angol winning a throw ref Haines called over Perch and made it clear he had seen the late challenge and wouldn’t tolerate anymore.
With less than 10 minutes on the clock Perch picked up a booking, Grant nicked the ball and played it to Docherty, he threaded a good looking ball for Gilliead to chase, Perch came across and blocked the break of Gilliead and ref Haines was reaching for the book.
With 15 minutes on the clock Town were stating to get into their groove and put the pressure onto the Scunthorpe final third. Gilliead was getting down the left and causing lots of problems, the best opening coming after he spotted the overlap of Becks, he played him in and he cut back to Whalley, he took a touch in the box and then fired in a shot but it was blocked.
Town were continuing to put the pressure on, a cross field ball was fired towards Gilliead on the left, Beckles was coming back from an offside position but held his hands and let the ball run, but the assistant was quickly waving as the ball came to Gilliead, the ball dropped to Whalley curled it into the net but the whistle had long gone and ref Haines was once again reaching for his cards and booked Whalley.
A foul on Angol saw the striker take it quickly to Whalley, he played it to Docherty who played to Angol who flicked a lovely ball back to Docherty, he came in field and cut back to Whalley, he set-up Norburn who fired low towards goal but again a Scunthorpe body got their to block, it then dropped top Grant on the edge of the box but his shot was fired over.
Scunthorpe had shown little as an attacking force but as half time approached they were starting to look a little more dangerous. The ball was moved through the midfield and a ball looked to put Ugbo away down the middle, he tried to get away from Waterfall who pulled him back on his shoulder and it was a booking for the Town man and a free-kick for Scunthorpe.
The ball was back with Perch at left0back and he looked to have things under control, but he slipped and Gilliead was awake and nicked the ball away and drove for goal, he skipped past a challenge and drove a low shot in but Alnwick was down to collect.
Scunthorpe had a good opening late on after the ref gave a soft free kick against Beckles, he held off Burgess but the ref saw a free kick. The free kick was delivered into the danger area but Town defended well, the ball came to Whalley near the halfway line and looked to be impeded but the ref saw nothing in it.
Town had a chance late on after Gilliead did well to win a corner, Whalley took it quickly back to Gilliead who played it across the edge of the box to Docherty, he fired in a low shot but it was saved.
Docherty had the ball and Town were looking to build, he looked to have been fouled but ref Haines waved play on and Scunthorpe countered quickly, the drove into the Town box and the shot came in, Coleman saved well but the ball rebounded out, another shot came in but again Coleman was equal to it with a good stop.
Coleman cleared long and Norburn challenge for the ball, ref Haines blew for something and was again reaching for his pocket to produce a yellow card for Norburn.
Half time: 0-0
Scunthorpe looked a different team after the restart and were straight at Town looking to get the advantage. The were putting the pressure on and Ugbo was causing a lot of problems, but when he did get the sight of goal Coleman was equal to it with a number of good saves.
Scunthorpe’s pressure paid off when they got a free-kick midway through the Town half, the first ball in was defended but it came back out to Lund, the ball was then whipped back in and there was Novak to get a touch on it to take it past the dive of Coleman.
Minutes later the home side had another good chance after Morris found space in the Town box, he looked to get his shot in but Coleman was quickly to get another important block in.
There was another good chance for the home side after the put pressure on the Town backline, the ball was with Emmanuel and he looked to get the ball back to Coleman to clear but he under hit it, Ugbo pounced and was in one on one on Coleman’s goal, but the Town keeper stood up strong and get another important block in, much to Emmanuel’s relief.
Town responded well and started to out the pressure on to the Scunthorpe goal, they won a string of corners and were causing problems. Another good delivery caused problems in the danger area, there was chance in the middle of a clutch of players but it was blocked, the ball then dropped to Docherty but he put his effort wide of the target from close range.
John Askey made his first change of the afternoon on 70 minutes bring on Aaron Amadi-Holloway to replace Anthony Grant, and it looked like a slight tweak to the formation.
Town broke quickly and the ball was wide to Gilliead, he drove for the box, he rode one challenge and then turner before playing it inside for Norburn, he couldn’t find the angle to shoot so played in Whalley, he drove for goal and got his shot in but it was blocked for a corner.
Town were pushing and putting the pressure on, Whalley had it and looked to drive for goal, he looked to have been fouled but the ref was close by and saw it differently, Scunthorpe then broke quickly and went for a second but again Coleman was there to keep the home side at bay.
Town were down to 10 men in the final 10 minutes, the corner was delivered into the back post and there was Sadler with the header, but he caught the back of Lund’s head, Sadler came off the worse and needed treatment for a cut but was ok to carry on.
With the game just about to enter the 5 minutes of added time John Askey made his final change brining on Arthur Gnahoua to replace Alex Gilliead.
But in the end it wasn’t to be and Town will look at the drop in performance in the second half. The first half was a decent performance hindered by some decisions going their way but the second didn’t keep that momentum going.