The latest home game saw the Iron pit their skills and abilities against another team new to the division in Portsmouth. Following on from the victory in the local derby at Doncaster, the opponents promised another stiff challenge following their long journey from the south coast.
The Iron lined up with just one change from the previous game with Townsend being replaced by Lewis Butroid due to injury. Butroid, having played a handful of times in cup competitions was making his league debut. Celebrating his 19th birthday the week before, it proved to be a memorable day for the young left back. The management showed their confidence in his ability by selecting him in place of other options in terms of personnel or formation.
Showing no sign of nerves, he began the game confidently and it would have been hard to identify anything to show he was making his first league appearance. He made a number of strong, clean tackles and made blocks and interceptions with all the surety of a player with a lot more experience. These early successes cleared any internal butterflies and you could see him grow in stature as he began to link well with his team mates and get involved in the attack. Keeping his passing short and simple (something that impressed the fans) ensuring possession was kept, he began to overlap and become involved in some intricate passing movements.
As the game progressed, it became apparent that a promising future lies ahead for this young professional as he continued to more than hold his own against a team that were physical and able to play some attractive football. He tracked runners and covered well and indeed was deservedly named as the Iron’s Man of the Match.
The remainder of the defence continued their recent impressive form. Jordan Clarke at right back maintained his standard of performance snuffing out the ongoing threat from the left, whose direct opponent was one of their strongest players. In addition, Clarke played an integral role in the first goal, controlling a pinpoint ball from the impressive Bishop before feeding the ball across to Novak to slide into the corner.
In the centre, the partnership between Wallace and McArdle goes from strength to strength. Up against a serious threat and height disadvantage from the physical centre forward Hawkins, the pair had to soak up a lot of pressure at times. Though the stats show a large number of shots and corners conceded, the number on target were minimal and they were dealt with comfortably by goalkeeper Gilks.
Once again the introduction of Burgess in the dying minutes demonstrated the youngsters aerial strength.
Over the course of the last few games, with the number of enforced changes due to injury, it is positive to note the strength in depth and quality of the defenders at the manager’s disposal as we have cover we can be confident in.