JOSH SPOT ON IN A THRILLER

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ross Miller

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.”

PIC­TURES: Martin Cole/ProS­ports

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

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