STOPPER STU FOILS SCUNNY
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.”
STAR MAN STUAR
am CHALLENGE: Brennan Dickenson and Neil Bishop vie for the ball. Inset: Scunthorpe’s Paddy Madden shoots wide of the post