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Scunthorpe United 2 Gillingham 1 match report

Doug Loft dribbles the ball through a puddle Picture: Barry Goodwin
Doug Loft dribbles the ball through a puddle Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham's four-match unbeaten run was ended on a bizarre afternoon in Scunthorpe.

Play was suspended for 30 minutes in the first half following an incredible downpour which left the Glanford Park pitch waterlogged and threatened to force an abandonment.

Gills trailed 2-1 at that stage, Luke Norris' first goal since February having been cancelled out by strikes from Hakeeb Adelakun and Gary McSheffrey.

And that's how it finished when the clock eventually showed 90 minutes at around 5.20pm.

Justin Edinburgh made three changes to his Gills starting XI. In came Jake Hessenthaler, Ollie Muldoon and Norris, with Bradley Dack, Aaron Morris and John Marquis the players to make way.

For Scunthorpe, Everton loanee John Lundstram replaced the injured Isaiah Osbourne in the only change from Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Bradford.

Gillingham made the perfect start, scoring inside two minutes.

Brennan Dickenson crossed from the left and when Cody McDonald chested the ball into his path, Norris smashed a powerful shot beyond Iron goalkeeper Luke Daniels.

Norris then sent McDonald running in behind Andrew Boyce and the Gills' leading scorer cut inside for a crack at goal although Boyce recovered well to block his goalbound shot.

Scunthorpe were rocking but the game was about to turn.

The ball was switched from left to right and Adelakun turned Max Ehmer inside-out before smashing a shot past Glenn Morris to make it 1-1.

Suddenly the home players were playing with a strut and when Muldoon slipped in midfield, they almost capitalised. The initial move broke down but the ball ran kindly for Lundstram, who shot wide from the edge of the box.

But as the rain began to fall, so the Gills fell behind.

One pass through the middle cut them asunder and McSheffrey ran on, rounded Morris and rolled the ball into the unguarded goal.

That was when the weather really deteriorated. At one point the rain was so heavy it was hard to see across the ground, with water beginning to stand in all areas.

Simple passes became impossible and with the game turning into a farce, referee Andy Haines sensibly took the players off.

Referee Andy Haines takes the players off Picture: Barry Goodwin
Referee Andy Haines takes the players off Picture: Barry Goodwin

Ground staff, Gills substitutes and even kitchen workers armed themselves with brooms in a desperate attempt to sweep the water away and make the pitch playable. At the time play was suspended, it looked impossible to get the game back on but half an hour later, to huge cheers from the crowd, the players re-emerged and Mr Haines signalled the restart.

Gillingham might have hoped to benefit from the delay but it was Scunthorpe who looked brighter.

The lively Adelakun tested Morris with a low shot from the right and Paddy Madden almost converted a dangerous Adelakun cross moments later.

Gills did register an effort before the half-time whistle belatedly blew, captain Doug Loft shooting well over after Norris and McDonald had combined to afford him a shooting opportunity from 25 yards.

Adelakun was straight back into the action at the start of the second half but he shot wastefully wide from a good position on the right-hand side.

At the other end, Dickenson's tame effort rolled into Daniels' arms.

Gills simply were not getting to grips with Adelakun, who seemed to find space down the right wing every time Scunthorpe attacked. The home crowd thought the teenager's next effort had gone in but the ball, to Gillingham's relief, rolled just wide of the right-hand post.

Adelakun's deep left-wing cross was nodded just wide by Niall Canavan before Dack, on from the bench for Gills, tried his luck from long-range only to miss the target by some distance.

But as time ticked away, the chances - like the pitch - dried up.

There were half-hearted appeals for a penalty when McDonald tumbled under Neal Bishop's challenge inside the Iron box and Norris then forced Daniels to tip his free-kick from 35 yards over the crossbar.

Madden should have made it 3-1 at the death but he failed to ht the target from a couple of yards out.

Scunthorpe: Daniels, Clarke, Boyce, Canavan, Williams, Bishop, Lundstram, Adelakun, McSheffrey (Syers 69mins), Madden, Robinson (van Veen 66mins). Subs not used: Anyon, Townsend, Llera, McAllister, Evans.

Gillingham: G Morris, Egan, Legge (Hoyte 69mins), Ehmer, McGlashan (Marquis 69mins), Hessenthaler, Muldoon, Loft, Dickenson, Norris, McDonald. Subs not used: Nelson, A Morris, Pritchard, Bell.

Attendance: 3,763 (348 Gills)

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