In­tel­li­gent Iron earn Gra­ham’s ap­plause

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Harry Wilmin

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.”


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