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Five of the worst Iron debuts ever

From five minute wonder Nicky Banger going down injured after taking his first touch, to a substitute being subbed, we look back at five of the worst Iron debuts ever!

Alex Calvo García – vs Hull City – 1996/97

Having done just enough to convince a desperate Mick Buxton to offer him a one year deal in a reserve game against Scarborough, Garcia was thrown in at the deep end on a heated afternoon at Boothferry Park.

The Spaniard, believed at the time to be a centre forward, replaced injured striker Mark Gavin ten minutes into a local derby with Hull City. Unable to communicate with his team mates and unprepared for the blood and thunder nature of the English Third Division, García was substituted later that afternoon.

On the back of his forgettable debut performance, García was left out of the squad for the best part of a month and found chances hard to come by until Brian Laws was installed as manager.

To his credit, Laws discovered the lovable Spaniard wasn’t a striker after all and García eventually blossomed under his management.

Tony Witter – vs Cambridge United – 1998/99

Free agent Tony Witter barely put a foot wrong on debut in a feisty away encounter with promotion chasing rivals Cambridge United. Witter was an instrumental part of a fantastic rearguard action that kept the clinical duo of Trevor Benjamin and John Taylor at bay and denied the hosts a record 10th consecutive victory at the Abbey Stadium.

However his afternoon turned sour with just thirty seconds remaining when he was shown a second yellow card for a nothing challenge on Taylor, whose theatrics left Iron boss Brian Laws raging. Laws marched onto the field to offer referee Bill Jordan his glasses and had to be separated from the man in the middle at the final whistle by Cambridge boss Roy McFarland.

Laws called the decision ‘ridiculous’, whilst Witter was less than impressed with Taylor’s post match apology. Witter played a further 13 times for the Iron and despite impressing during his short spell, was never offered a deal and drifted into non league.

Nicky Banger – vs Hartlepool – 2000/01

Former Southampton striker Nicky Banger arrived at Glanford Park with a decent pedigree, but had struggled with injuries at Dundee and was transfer listed at Dens Park by Laws’ mate Ivano ‘chicken wings’ Bonetti.

Laws offered Banger a route out of Scotland with a November loan spell, in the hope the pint sized striker would give Guy Ipoua and Steve Torpey some much needed competition for places.

Banger’s first appearance came as he replaced Ipoua with 15 minutes to go in a 3-0 win over Hartlepool United on Bonfire Weekend, but his debut fizzled out like a wet rocket.

The unfortunate Banger went down injured after his first touch and limped off with a groin injury just five minutes into his debut.

He was sent to Lilleshall (is that still a thing?), but his loan wasn’t renewed and he was never seen again. Ipoua went on to score seven in his next two appearances to ensure Banger wasn’t missed.

Jim Goodwin – vs Brentford – 2005/06

Iron fans had to wait until the end of November for Jim Goodwin’s eagerly anticipated debut, as he became the latest in a string of players to get crocked in pre-season friendlies at Winterton.

Goodwin arrived with a hard man reputation following a spell at Stockport and it didn’t take long for Scunthorpe fans to see why. His debut actually got off to a dream start as he scored the opening goal in a home clash against Brenford, but things turned really ugly in the second half.

A number of lunging tackles on Scunthorpe players went unpunished by referee Phil Joslin during one of the most brutal exchanges of football League One has ever seen. Enraged, Jim took matters into his own hands and dished out the retribution, picking up his second booking in 60 seconds for his troubles. Brentford ran out 3-1 winners.

David Mirfin vs Walsall – 2008/09

Following relegation from the Championship, Nigel Adkins splashed £150,000 to prise dependable  defender David Mirfin from divisional rivals Huddersfield Town in the hope of bolstering the back line that had conceded 69 goals the season before.

A trip to Walsall was the first chance for Iron fans to see their new man in action following a midweek move, but his debut turned into a nightmare shortly after Garry Thompson had given Scunthorpe the lead.

Just eight minutes later, Mirfin was caught in possession and scythed down troublesome striker Jabo Ibhere from behind on the edge of the area. He was sent off for a professional foul and Walsall scored the resulting free kick. Ibhere scored a last minute winner to secure all three points and ensure an unhappy debut for big Dave.


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