The Greens travelled into Shropshire to take on third placed Newport and attempt to continue their winning sequence of 6 straight wins. The squad had only the one change from the previous week with veteran Phil Jepson covering the absence of Nick Syddall.
Playing their first game in their new away strip, which was a vivid and bright electric yellow, certainly made a statement. It only remain for the performance to match the kit. The game kicked off in cold cloudy conditions with the home boys making the first impact as they ran through a number of phases only to come against some resolute Green defence. Both sides probed and in fact had periods of serious pressure denied by a mistake, usually induced by aggressive defence. Some clean line breaks were made but good scrambled defences by both sides, snuffed these out.
Even though the first half finished scoreless, it was a very absorbing contest for the spectators. The Salopians were first to strike early in the second period when Roach powered over from close range to the right of the posts. Holder’s conversion attempt struck the upright but his team were now ahead by 5 points to nil after only 3 minutes of the second half. Scunthorpe needed to strike back and indeed they did with some outstanding work from the pack which opened up an overlap on the blindside just inside the home half and Josh Bird sprinted into the left hand corner. Paul Cook was unable to convert so the teams were level after 12 minutes of the second half.
Both side had periods of pressure and Tim Robinson made clever use of his front row resource by interchanging his props for maximum impact. The presence of Ollie Cole in the second half once more gave ascendency to The Greens scrummage and indeed they gained some penalties and slowed down the Newport possession. It was the home team that gained the next score when following some serious mid-field powerful ball carrying, they came close to the Scunthorpe try line, when only a couple of great tackles by Cook prevented a score. Newport though were awarded a penalty after 32 minutes when Cook was adjudged to have infringed at a ruck close to the Scunthorpe line and was duly yellow carded. The subsequent penalty was converted by Holder to give the home boys an 8 points to 5 lead after 32 minutes of the second half.
Scunthorpe once more battled into the home ‘22’ much helped by a powerful run from Cole. The recycled ball went to Tom Foster who spotted the gap and needed no further invitation to touch down half-way out to the left of the posts. With regular kicker Cook in the bin and his deputy Ben Hyde off with injury, up stepped Will Robinson with a sweet strike to add the conversion. With only 4 minutes of normal time remaining, The Greens pack went through their phases and made sure that even though the home boys had a late period of possession, they never got close to another score.
This was an outstanding victory for the Scunthorpe team who managed to take the lead when down to 14 men and then hold out for the remainder of the game. Great character was shown with some outstanding mid-field defence by Oli Wood and Will Robinson complemented by very good covering by the effervescent back row.
Next Saturday Scunthorpe welcome another Shropshire side in Bridgenorth to Heslam Park, for a first ever visit and hope to continue the good work.