Stevenage 1-2 Scunthorpe United

REPORT from Broadhall Way

United made it back-to-back league wins as they won 2-1 at Stevenage.

After they had edged the first half, Eddie Nolan fired them ahead on the stroke of half-time.

They then held on in the second half against a dominant home side before Michael O’Connor notched their second in stoppage time.

Josh Walker pulled one back for the hosts just moments later to set up a tense finish but the Iron held on for the victory.

Alan Knill’s side entered the game making one change from the side which beat Yeovil Town 2-1 at Glanford Park a week earlier.

Michael Nelson returned to the starting eleven in place of Paul Reid, who broke his nose against the Glovers last week.

Sam Johnstone started in goal, with Sam Togwell, Shane Duffy, Nelson and Nolan forming the defence.

The midfield consisted of Oliver Norwood, Damien Mozika, O’Connor and Garry Thompson, with Bobby Grant and Chris Dagnall leading the frontline.

The substitutes were Sam Slocombe, Andrew Wright, Andy Barcham, Ashley Palmer and Nicky Ajose.

Former Iron striker Ben May lined up for the hosts as they prepared to face United for the first time in their history.

The away side had their first half chance on two minutes when Norwood took a free-kick from the left flank. His whipped cross couldn’t be met by Grant or Dagnall though and Chris Day swept up the loose ball.

Playing in the baking sun, both sides were trying to get a grip of the game in the opening stages but things seemed even in midfield

In the eighth minute, Shane Duffy dribbled the ball forward from defence and, with a number of players standing off him, played a one-two with Grant before firing a shot towards goal which Day dived down to his right to save.

Three minutes later, Nelson headed wide of Day’s right-hand post from a Norwood right-wing corner.

In the 20th minute, Dagnall stung the fingers of Day with a powerfully struck effort from the edge of the 18-yard box but the Stevenage ‘stopper managed to sweep up the loose ball.

On 26 minutes, Grant tried a speculative long range effort but the ball went out for a throw-in as he failed to strike it cleanly.

In the 37th minute, ex-Iron frontman May came close as he hooked the ball away from a United defender and fired in a tame shot which was easily saved.

Then, two minutes later, Johnstone was called into action to tip away a stinging drive from Scott Laird on the left side of the area.

With four minutes of the opening half left, Grant showed a lovely touch controlling the ball in mid-air to run and play in Thompson, who drilled his low strike wide of Day’s bottom left-hand post. It was the best chance of the match so far.

Then, in the second minute of first half stoppage time, Nolan struck his side ahead - receiving the ball out wide on the left and cutting inside before drilling a right-footed shot towards Chris Day’s bottom right-hand corner which the ‘stopper couldn’t keep out. It was his first goal for the club.

As the second half started, it was the hosts who were in the ascendency as they seeked an equalising goal.

The visitors made their first change of the match on 57 minutes as Norwood was replaced by Barcham, back from a three-match suspension.

With his first touches of the match he managed to win a corner, from which O’Connor’s delivery was headed wide of goal by Nelson.

A second change was made in the 63rd minute when Ajose came on in place of Grant.

Within moments of coming on he was played through after a poor defensive back-header but the ball got caught under his feet and the danger cleared away.

The hosts were the dominant force as the half wore on, and could have levelled in the 78th minute when Chris Beardsley turned and dragged an effort wide.

With the minutes ticking down, Stevenage continued to dominate the second period but a combination of poor finishing and stoic defending shut out the hosts.

Wright replaced Dagnall with two minutes left as United tried to strengthen at the back and run the clock down.

There were five minutes of added time and, in the second of those, Scunthorpe got their second as O’Connor won the ball down the left flank and cut inside before striking his effort across and beyond Day for his first goal of the season.

Stevenage kept going though and pulled one back just a minute later when substitute Walker slotted home after the Iron had failed to clear their lines and a goalmouth scramble ensued.

It was a nervy finish, with some last ditch clearances needed, but the visitors held on for the win.

United are next in action on Tuesday night when they host Oldham Athletic in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Attendance: 2,957 (536 away).