A youthful looking Iron side were valiantly beaten on the road at the County Ground yesterday evening after a goal in either half from the league’s leading goal scorer Eoin Doyle.
But it wasn’t all negatives in the South West last night and there were in my opinion, many positives to take from the performance. Most notably was the average age of the Iron side that ended the contest with the Robins. Standing with just 22.5 years between them, we need to commend those wearing a claret and blue shirt against a very tricky and well drilled Swindon Town outfit.
So how did those lining-up for Scunthorpe perform under Wilcox’s guidance?
Jai Rowe 6/10
What better place to start than with the 18-year-old Rowe who in my opinion could turn out to be a brilliant investment in years to come for the Iron. He must be given more chance to develop both offensively and defensively after an impressive debut for large parts. Even with an early booking to his name, a lot of credit has to be given to the ex-Barwell man. Most notably so, was Rowe’s superb trickery going forward in the first-half, as he cleverly scooped the ball over his man before being fouled moments later to win Scunthorpe a free kick just outside of the hosts penalty area.
Lewis Butroid 6/10
Now here’s a player I really enjoy watching for Scunthorpe, and someone who I believe is criminally under-valued, based on his past performances for the side. Butroid is a player who most Iron fans will be fairly familiar with by now, as the Youth graduate has racked up just short of 25 senior appearances in his 3 years as a pro. Most commonly utilised at full-back, it was again going to be a testing evening, especially having to deal with ex-Southampton winger Lloyd Isgrove. Butroid dealt with the majority of what was thrown his way well throughout the 90 minutes, although his distribution and link up with Alex Gillead across the evening was a little poor in my opinion. Another good performance nonetheless, and a player I would personally like to see line-up on Saturday against the Mariners.
Jacob Bedeau 5/10
The ex-Aston Villa man was preferred over Andy Butler by Wilcox last night and again showed good signs of progress in an Iron shirt, especially having to deal with in form pairing Eoin Doyle and Jerry Yates. A huge ask for any central defender in the division. He possibly should have done better in clearing Doyle’s effort in the first half as the centre back could only steer his clearance past Watson and was also slow to react when Doyle was put through for Town’s second. It must be said however, at only 20, Bedeau has little to no league experience under his belt after playing a huge chunk of academy football at Aston Villa last season. The step up is a huge gap, but one I feel will give the ex-Bury man a good base to go off heading into the next campaign.
Ben Liddle 5/10
Making only his second start since joining from Middlesborough in January, loanee Liddle will have hoped to have bounced back from a poor 45 showing at Crawley Town on his debut. The Iron were dismantled three times before the break before stand in boss Wilcox reshaped the side and Liddle was removed from play. A difficult evening like most for Liddle, but a solid performance alongside Levi Sutton and James Perch, as the hosts dominated the ball for large parts of the game. Again, his distribution moving through the play left a little to be desired and was often caught in possession by Swindon’s experienced captain Doughty who had a terrific game for me in the centre of the park. Another good test for Liddle against strong opposition, but one he can reflect on with his head held high.
George Miller 4/10
After the heroics of the weekend and the non-inclusion of leading scorer KVV, the stage was set for the Barnsley loanee to score a wonderful winner deep into injury time… Right? Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, it was always going to be a big ask for Miller who was constantly asked to chase, hold and slow down the play when the ball eventually reached him yesterday evening, a role I thought he did well in for the first 45 minutes at least. The second half, not so much, he had little to go off throughout and was often seen chasing lost causes as Swindon tirelessly recycled play looking to hurt the Iron within their final third. Whether van Veen’s injury rules him out of Saturday remains to be seen, but Miller must improve with and without the ball in order to at least ask the question to interim boss Wilcox.
How the rest rated – ratings courtesy of @MarcoPuliga1
Rory Watson 6 – Surprisingly very rarely called upon. Got beaten easily by Doyle’s second half chip but overall a decent performance and he’s probably done enough to keep his spot for the weekend.
Rory Mcardle 6 – Steady performance. Had two very inexperienced defenders either side and his experience can only benefit our youthful side. Occasionally got caught out with Yates’ pace but looked fairly solid.
Jordan Gabriel 6 – The Nottingham Forest loanee looked to push forward often and like Butroid suits being in a back 5. Got forward all night and arguably could have had a penalty if he had chosen to go down early in the second half.
James Perch 6 – A Typical James Perch performance. He played a little higher up the pitch in the first half. He fired a few shots wayward early on when better passes were available, but grew into the game.
Levi Sutton 7 – Sutton looked composed, got stuck in and always looked to play a positive forward pass.
Alex Gillead 7 – Work rate, confidence and of course talent. Forced a good save from Swindon’s goalkeeper in the first half and was a constant threat.
Overall the youngsters had a pretty good go at the league leaders for most parts, but just lacked a calmness and a bit of know-how in order to come away with something from the game. Time and time again they would intercept the ball and then immediately throw possession away allowing Swindon to come forward once again and look for a killer pass to open up the Iron’s youthful looking defence.
Russ will no doubt have been full of praise for his side’s efforts in his post match analysis and will have reiterated the basis of remembering the occasion, but also use it as a springboard going forward to improve. A lot of these players have played very little, if not any previous league football and a cold night in the South will be one hopefully they can kick on from in the months to follow.