The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Chris Sumpter

MAN­AGER Gra­ham Alexan­der be­lieves Scunthorpe pro­duced their best dis­play of the sea­son at the cru­cial mo­ment as they beat Bolton to give their play-off push a much-needed shot in the arm.

The Iron have come in for crit­i­cism on the back of a run of six de­feats in eight games – form which has al­lowed the Trot­ters to surge ahead of them in the au­to­matic pro­mo­tion race.

But three points earned via David Mirfin’s early header com­ple­mented a dis­play rem­i­nis­cent of those dur­ing the first half of the cam­paign.

“With the pres­sure we’ve been put un­der and the crit­i­cism we’ve re­ceived, which we think has been un­just, that was the best per­for­mance of the sea­son for me,” said Alexan­der, whose side are four points clear of sev­enth.

“We con­trolled the game from minute one and the play­ers can take great heart. I thought they were fan­tas­tic

“It takes a lot of courage to go out there and play like that. No­body was ex­pect­ing us to win but we have.

“Whether it’s a re­minder to any­one else of our abil­ity is not my con­cern, but it’s a re­minder to my play­ers more than any­thing that they are good.

“When they stick to­gether and be­lieve in them­selves as a group, they are a good side to watch and a dif­fi­cult side to play against.”

Bolton had won six of their seven matches go­ing into the clash – a run which had seen Phil Parkin­son named League One’s man­ager of the month for March.

Rarely though did they look like get­ting back on level terms as the Iron turned the form book on its head in a game of few chances.

The de­ci­sive goal came in the 11th minute, from a free-kick just to the right of cen­tre.

Josh Mor­ris – a player un­der Parkin­son at Brad­ford last sea­son – lifted it to­wards the far post and Mirfin headed home.

Conor Wilkin­son hooked Wan­der­ers’ only first-half ef­fort of note wide of the tar­get and, af­ter the break, sub­sti­tute Neal Bishop hit the foot of a post from range as the home side came des­per­ately close to earn­ing some breath­ing space.

They were thank­ful though to keeper Joe Anyon for a first clean sheet in al­most two months as he dived low to his left to bril­liantly push away a 73rd-minute header from Bolton’s Max Clay­ton.

“I thought Scunthorpe started a bit quicker than us and we con­ceded a soft goal – which is un­char­ac­ter­is­tic for us,” said Parkin­son.

“We had the chances to get at least a point and con­trolled the game for long pe­ri­ods.

“All in all, I don’t think the lads could have given any more than they did.

“We’ve had Southend away and Scunthorpe away in a week and come away with three points, which isn’t a bad re­turn.

“We’ve still got the same lead we had over third place prior to the game, but now with a game less to go.”

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports/ Ian Lyall

STAR MAN STEPHEN DAW­SON Scunthorpe DAVE’S THE HERO: Scunthorpe cel­e­brate af­ter, inset, David Mirfin scores the win­ning goal

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