Intelligent Iron earn Graham’s applause
SCUNTHORPE’S fourpoint cushion inside the play-off places is still intact heading into tomorrow’s match against all-but relegated Chesterfield, thanks to their vital win away at MK Dons on Good Friday.
Fifth-placed Iron’s victory over MK was crucial, as the two sides below them in sixth and seventh – Millwall and Southend – both won to keep on Scunthorpe’s heels heading into the final three games of the season.
Ivan Toney scored his 11th goal of the season at Stadium MK, in a team performance his boss Graham Alexander described as ‘intelligent’.
“At this stage of the season it’s about picking up points and getting the wins,” he said. “I thought the performance here showed the variety that we’ve got here and the different ways it takes to win a game.
“Last week we controlled the game and had lots of possession, whereas this week we had to give up a lot of that possession and be extremely disciplined defensively – that just shows the intelligence we’ve got in the group.
“It was a fantastic three points at a difficult place – they’ve got lots of good players and have a way of playing that causes problems, and they have exceptional attacking flair.”
Mid-table MK did start well against their play-off chasing opponents, and were the first to test either keeper as Ed Upson forced a save with a powerful volleyed effort.
But Alexander’s side responded in emphatic fashion and netted the winner after Toney rose above the MK defence following a Josh Morris corner to guide a powerful downward header towards goal and past home keeper Lee Nicholls for his third goal in four games.
And despite Robbie Neilson’s second-half substitutes for MK putting pressure on the Scunthorpe back four, the Iron held out for a valuable three points heading into tomorrow’s game at Glanford Park.
“I thought we passed the ball well, and in the first half I thought that we totally dominated the game but didn’t really create enough clear chances on goal,” said MK boss Neilson, who face a tough trip to Southend tomorrow.
“But we were playing against a team who came, scored a goal from a set-piece and then just shut up shop for the remainder.
“The pleasing thing was we were playing against a top six team and we were able to hold our own.
“I spoke after the game last week that I was pleased that we were creating chances again.”
STAR MAN MURRAY WALLACE Scunthorpe Utd