JOSH SPOT ON IN A THRILLER
S CUNTHORPE boss Graham Alexander insists his side simply are not getting the rub of the green at the moment, after they slipped to their fourth straight defeat in League One.
The promotion-chasing Iron looked set for a comfortable win after efforts from Paddy Madden and Harry Toffolo either side of half-time had put them two goals to the good.
But remarkably referee Robert Lewis awarded three penalties to hosts Gillingham inside the final 12 minutes.
And up stepped Josh Wright to slam home all three, taking his recent goal tally to six in his last five games and notching the first Gills treble since 2011.
Scunthorpe remain without a win since January and dropped down to fifth in the table, but Alexander admitted this unlikely turnaround was the worst of the lot.
He said: “Out of the last three games, where we’ve certainly deserved more than we got, that was the toughest one to take.
“We cut them open lots of times, worked extremely hard off the ball to make it difficult for them and made angles for each other.
“Up to their first goal, it was the perfect away performance and we couldn’t have been any more comfortable.
“We’re going through a patch where everything that could fall the wrong side of the line is falling the wrong side of the line.
“They’ve gone out and competed and played exceptionally well but unfortunately the result has gone against us.”
Madden turned home Kevin van Veen’s cross from ten yards out after just four minutes to put the Iron ahead.
Max Ehmer had a header cleared off the line by Stephen Dawson, but the visitors enjoyed the best of the play with Stuart Nelson denying Madden and van Veen time and time again either side of half-time.
Toffolo’s 25-yard hit looked to have put the game to bed with 15 minutes remaining, but when Matt Crooks fouled Bradley Dack and Wright got his first, the hosts could smell blood.
And remarkably referee Lewis awarded two more penalties to Gillingham in the final ten minutes, the first for a handball in the area before van Veen brought down Wright.
The 27-year-old midfielder made no mistake with either and manager Ady Pennock admitted he had no doubts.
“You’ve got to give Josh Wright a lot of credit; to take the penalties the way he did showed a lot of character,” he said. “I didn’t have any worries and I knew he would score all three.
“It was very, very harsh for Josh to receive a yellow card for the celebration, when it was the other lads jumping on him and giving him momentum. “Now he’s got a two-game ban and it will be a big loss for us. But the character from the team was fantastic.”
PAYING PENALTY: Gillingham’s Josh Wright scores his second and, inset, Paddy Madden celebrates his goal
HAT-TRICK HERO: Josh Wright celebrates his third penalty