IRON DEDICATE WIN TO TAYLOR
GRAHAM ALEXANDER dedicated the win that took Scunthorpe United back to the top of the League One table to the memory of Graham Taylor.
Iron fans were still cheering their winning goal, scored by Tom Hopper in the 71st minute, when the celebrations seamlessly slipped into a minute’s applause in memory of their former vice-president Taylor, who passed away two weeks ago aged 72.
Taylor grew up in the town and classed the Iron as ‘his club’. His family, who watched from the directors’ box as guests of United, would no doubt have been impressed with the spirit Scunthorpe showed to twice come from behind and win.
“I met Graham’s family before the game and I said, ‘I hoped we give you something to smile about’,” said Alexander. “I’d like to dedicate that victory to the memory of Graham Taylor.
“When I spoke to his wife you could tell Scunthorpe was very much his club – you never lose that love for your first love. Hopefully this was a fitting tribute to the man.”
With closest promotion rivals Sheffield United not in action, Scunthorpe struggled to find their feet in a lethargic first-half display. And struggling Vale were good value for the lead given to them through Tyler Walker’s near-post strike in the 38th minute.
Four minutes after half-time the Iron drew level from the penalty spot after Craig Davies had been felled by Remi Streete after lobbing the ball over keeper Jak Alnwick. Josh Morris converted for his 19th goal of the campaign.
Having scored for the first time away from home in more than two months, Vale responded well to the setback and swept back in front when JJ Hooper finished clinically from Ben Purkiss’ inviting cross.
Crucially, though, they were in front for only a matter of minutes, with on-loan Newcastle striker Ivan Toney lifting a measured finish over Alnwick from the edge of the penalty area to restore parity again. Just as fans were getting ready to applaud Taylor’s memory, they were engulfed by euphoria as Harry Toffolo’s first-time cross was fired home by Hopper two minutes after he had come on as a substitute.
Vale caretaker-manager Michael Brown cursed the decision of referee Darren England to award the Iron their second-half penalty. “It was a much-improved away performance and to come away to the team that’s gone top of the table and play like that is great credit to the boys,” he said Brown.
“But I’ve seen the penalty back and what chance have you got? The lad hit the knee of Remi . It was never a penalty in a million years. The defending wasn’t the greatest but it wasn’t a penalty.”
SPOT ON: Josh Morris equalises for United with a penalty HOP TO IT: Tom Hopper is chased by his team-mates after scoring the Iron’s winner