The Iron bounced back to winning ways yesterday evening as goals from Miles Hippolyte and Alex Gillead ensured Scunthorpe ended 2020 in the best way possible.
After two disappointing defeats to Grimsby and Mansfield, a reaction was needed and Scunthorpe produced just that at Banks’ Stadium on Tuesday night.
Neil Cox’s side looked confident and somewhat revitalised in the opening exchanges as they went in search of their first win since the last gasp Barrow victory on December 15th.
Trevor Kettle was up to his old tricks and brandished an early caution to Iron forward Ryan Loft early on for throwing himself into a 50/50 challenge, with the ball there to be won.
Loft’s commitment must be praised however, as the ex-Carlisle man limped on until half time, before being replaced by Aaron Jarvis at the interval.
It was another superb performance for the ever improving anchor man in midfield, Alfie Beestin.
Beestin has had a superb end to 2020, with stellar performances across the campaign earning him a new Scunthorpe deal that will see him remain at the club until at least June 2022.
The former Doncaster man is terrific in a tackle and gives the Iron superb opportunity to transition whilst in possession and relieve the backline of their defensive duties.
Time and time again, the 23-year-old was strong in the first and second ball and it is no wonder he is becoming a main stay in Neil Cox’s plans this season.
Miles Hippolyte was 12/1 to open the scoring at the Bescot and you can take advantage of a brilliant new customer offer if you think he can replicate his goalscoring heroics ahead of the next game with Stevenage. On another night, Hippolyte, who has failed to impress this season may well have been celebrating a hat trick and deserved his goal as Bournemouth loanee Tyler Cordner helped him on his way to his first goal for the club.
It was also a terrific first half for Devarn Green as he used his blistering pace on multiple opportunities to ask questions of the Walsall backline.
Heading into the break a goal to the good, a reaction was also inevitable from 9th place Walsall and when Cameron Norman skipped inside of Hippolyte on 55 minutes to pick out an unmarked McDonald, the game sprung into life once again.
More drama unfolded just minutes later as Clarke was adjudged to have fouled Adebayo and Kettle pointed to the spot.
Howard superbly denied Gordon from 12 yards and soon after, the Iron went ahead. Jake Taylor surged down the left flank and laid the ball wonderfully to Gillead who slotted home his first of the season just 10 minutes later.
John McAtee replaced Taylor late on and laboured around the pitch for the last twenty minutes, a disappointing sight for Scunthorpe fans who know there is quality deep inside the 21 year old.
Jacob Bedeau and Tyler Cordner were okay throughout and held firm as Walsall’s front two of Adebayo and Scrimshaw caused constant problems deep into the latter stages of the game.
And on-loan midfield Jake Taylor had his best game in a Scunthorpe shirt too. When given more attacking freedom, Taylor looks a handful with his nimble footwork and smart trickery.
We all know Scunthorpe miss experience and players of this ilk must be sought in the New Year to ensure the Iron claw away from relegation worries.
Jem Karacan is continuing to train with the side and if finances allow it seems a no brainer to snap him up until the end of the season sooner rather than later.
Offloading is again an issue Scunthorpe need to deal with and hopefully January allows us to do so to give Cox an opportunity to further stamp his mark on the side.