The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Mark Wil­liams

ARELIEVED Justin Ed­in­burgh be­lieves this for­tu­nate draw will stop the rot for his de­pleted Gilling­ham side.

Quite how in-form Scun­thorpe United didn’t win the match will re­main a mys­tery as a com­bi­na­tion of weak fin­ish­ing and fine goal­keep­ing by vis­it­ing stop­per Stu­art Nelson kept the Iron at bay.

Ed­in­burgh said: “That was the hard­est we have had to work for a point this sea­son.

“We had to ride our luck at times and our goal­keeper was also in fan­tas­tic form.

“But the im­por­tant thing is we have kept a clean sheet and we are back on track – af­ter some­what of a blip.

“I am more than happy with this be­cause my play­ers’ char­ac­ter was tested and they put their bod­ies on the line.

“This could prove to be a very im­por­tant point for us.

“I won’t pre­tend it hasn’t been a dif­fi­cult few weeks – but I re­ally think we are on the up now.”

Scun­thorpe be­gan brightly and Paddy Madden forced a de­cent save from Nelson fol­low­ing a tidy through-ball by Stephen Daw­son in the 21st minute.

And two min­utes later the striker saw his close-range header clip the top of the cross­bar af­ter a pin­point cross from Jor­dan Clarke.

At the other end, Josh Wright sent a long-range block­buster whistling inches past the post.

But it was the hosts who were su­pe­rior – and af­ter the ball can­noned off the post dur­ing a goal­mouth scram­ble Madden, again, was un­lucky to see his low drive cleared off the line.

That man again spurned a glo­ri­ous chance when pre­sented with time and space in front of goal and, on the stroke of half-time, Neal Bishop saw his glanc­ing header drop just wide.

And with sec­onds re­main­ing, Nelson pro­duced a su­perb low save to deny over­lap­ping Conor Townsend’s fierce, first-time strike.

United con­tin­ued where they left off af­ter the break and Nelson had to be alert to again deny Madden who raced through on goal af­ter 62 min­utes.

It was all hands to the pump for the Gills as the home side won cor­ner af­ter cor­ner.

Madden con­tin­ued to prove a thorn in the vis­i­tors’ de­fence and his pace again saw him sprint through on 81 min­utes. But yet again he was de­nied by the out­stretched leg of his neme­sis.

The in­ef­fi­ciency in front of goal was even be­com­ing a laugh­ing mat­ter for some Scun­thorpe sup­port­ers.

Man­ager Nick Daws said: “We were ab­so­lutely dom­i­nant from start to fin­ish and that is prob­a­bly as good as we have been for 90 min­utes this sea­son.

“We played well but we have to be frus­trated be­cause we haven’t put our chances away.

“I shook their goal­keeper’s hand at the end of the game and thanked him in a very sar­cas­tic tone – he was ab­so­lutely bril­liant.

“We are play­ing some ex­cel­lent foot­ball and look­ing solid at the back – but we must be more clin­i­cal if we are to win more matches. We get our heads down now and go again at home to Don­caster.”

PIC­TURES: Luke Broughton



N Gillingh

am CHAL­LENGE: Bren­nan Dick­en­son and Neil Bishop vie for the ball. In­set: Scun­thorpe’s Paddy Madden shoots wide of the post

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