Episode three of the Robins Nest podcast available
Posted: Wednesday, April 1st 2020
Saturday, September 6th 2014
Second-half goals from Aden Flint and Greg Cunningham lifted City into the top two of the embryonic Sky Bet League One table to extend their unbeaten start.
Newly-promoted visitors Scunthorpe United were no pushovers, with Gary McSheffrey shooting against the post in the first half.
But Flint headed home Luke Freeman’s corner seven minutes after the interval, before substitute Cunningham fired in at the end of a neat move to ensure back-to-back victories.
Steve Cotterill named an unchanged side following the last-gasp victory at Notts County last time out, meaning match-winner Jay Emmanuel-Thomas remained among the substitutes.
City were the dominant force from the start, with plenty of energy to their play and no shortage of options for the red-shirted player in possession.
Scunthorpe’s deep defensive line was making it difficult to find a breakthrough, and the visitors threatened to capitalise at the other end when McSheffrey broke quickly before his shot was dragged wide from 20 yards.
But City’s response was razor sharp, as Joe Bryan got the byeline and produced an excellent cross which almost bounced kindly for Aaron Wilbraham, before Mark Little tumbled hopefully in the box but was denied a spot-kick.
The same combination nearly provided the opener again five minutes later, as another teasing Bryan centre was glanced towards the far corner by Wilbraham but pounced upon by Scunthorpe keeper Bobby Olejnik.
City were making most of the running in what was an entertaining watch, with both teams leaving gaps defensively.
Cotterill’s men were nearly exposed again when McSheffrey crashed a shot against the post on 19 minutes.
Having not quite connected properly on his previous attempt, the ex-Coventry City man could not have wished for a sweeter strike from Paddy Madden’s lay-off, only to see his effort bounce back out via the inside of the far upright.
From then on things began to tighten up. City remained the greater threat, often from set-pieces, while Derrick Williams and Freeman both tried their luck from distance to no avail.
Cotterill would have demanded more urgency from his side and got it after the break. Straightaway Korey Smith’s burst from midfield resulted in a low shot seemingly comfortable for Olejnik, only for the on-loan Peterborough United stopper to let it slip from his grasp and uncomfortably hack the ball clear from his own goal line.
It was an early warning soon followed by the deadlock breaker seven minutes into the second half, as Flint rose highest to meet Freeman’s deep corner with a downward header not kept out by man on the line Miguel Llera.
It had been another impressive performance in patches without wowing the first home crowd of the season in excess of 12,000, but home debutant Kieran Agard nearly offered something to lift them from their seat with his second of two shots in quick succession.
First his low drive was blocked by the legs of a defender, before a more subtle curling attempt on his weaker left foot looked like nestling in the top corner only for some Olejnik acrobatics to keep the new man at bay.
But 1-0 is always a precarious advantage and Scunthorpe were very much still in the contest. Frank Fielding, otherwise untested throughout, had to be alert to make an unusual save in clearing away Niall Canavan’s header with his foot.
It would take Cotterill’s first glance towards his bench to find the crucial second goal and finish off the visitors’ challenge seven minutes from time.
Cunningham, only just called upon to replace Bryan, finished off some slick interplay on the edge of the box with a fierce drive across Olejnik which flew into the corner of the net. It was only the Irishman’s second touch; his first was to control Smith’s pass.
Fellow replacement Scott Wagstaff looked favourite to put the shine on the win when put through by a delicious Freeman pass, but the retreating defender did enough to hurry his eventual shot which was too close to Olejnik.
Ultimately it mattered not. Another job well done.
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