Scunthorpe 1-1 Town
Tuesday, 23rd Feb 2010 21:40
David Healy’s first goal for Town took the Blues to their 16th league draw of the season at Scunthorpe. In windy and snowy conditions, the visitors went ahead through Cliff Byrne in the 69th minute but Healy poached the leveller from close range four minutes later.
Boss Roy Keane named an unchanged side for only the second time this season, Owen Garvan coming on for Alan Quinn on the bench the only change in the 18. David Wright continued at right-back for the ill Liam Rosenior, while Shane O’Connor continued on the left.
Jon Walters looped the game’s first shot on to the top of the Scunthorpe bar in the fourth minute with Iron keeper Joe Murphy beaten.
At the other end, former Norwich trainee Paul Hayes scraped a shot wide when he might have done better when found in space on the edge of the area.
Daryl Murphy forced Joe Murphy into a low save down to his right after good work from Walters a minute later as the game started with both sides having a few chances. From the resultant corner, Grant Leadbitter’s header looped over as the snow started to fall heavily.
David Norris shot weakly through to Joe Murphy, then five minutes later Walters latched on to a loose ball after a mix-up between defender and keeper, but watched his shot crash against the bar with the goal gaping. Referee Andy Haines called play back for a freekick to Town for a foul on Norris earlier in the move. Leadbitter’s freekick was too weak to test the keeper.
Joe Murphy did well to tip Damien Delaney’s cross-shot over in the 28th minute with the Blues having the better of a very scrappy game played on a bumpy and increasingly muddy surface. A minute later, Sam Togwell picked up the game’s first booking for a foul on Grant Leadbitter.
The chances dried up for a few minutes with the game developing into a bit of a midfield slog, but on 38 Edwards crossed from the left, the ball was flicked on and Jack Colback’s header at the far post was saved.
David Wright was harshly booked for a foul on Marcus Williams with five minutes of the half remaining when he had clearly won the ball.
Paul Hayes struck the final shot of the half in the 42nd minute when a deep corner found him but the striker sent the ball over Brian Murphy’s bar.
Town had had the better of a scruffy half played in freezing cold, horrible conditions and on a pitch possibly even worse than Saturday’s at Sheffield Wednesday. Passing football was difficult but the Blues had managed to create one or two chances.
Brian Murphy pulled off his first serious save of the game in the 52nd minute, the keeper blocking from Hayes at his post after a Garry Thompson cross was knocked back into the area.
Scunthorpe had started the half the brighter of the two sides, despite the Blues repeating the half-time warm-up session first introduced at Hillsborough on Saturday.
But as the second period wore on, the Blues gradually got more into in again, Norris shooting across the face of goal in the 58th minute but from an offside position. The midfielder saw a subsequent effort blocked, then Colback’s rebound flew well wide.
Norris and the quiet Daryl Murphy made way for Connor Wickham and David Healy in the 67th minute, the subs going up front with Jon Walters moving to left midfield and Jack Colback into the centre.
Two minutes after Town made their substitution, the home side went in front. The Blues failed to clear a corner, Martyn Woolford sent the ball back across goal, Brian Murphy appeared to be blocked by his own player as Scunthorpe skipper Cliff Byrne headed home from close range.
The Iron almost added a second in the 70th minute, Gary Hooper volleying powerfully wide from a good position on the right.
Town started to make more of an impression as the two subs settled into the conditions. On 71 Leadbitter found Healy on the left of the area but the Northern Irishman shot across the face of goal.
Two minutes later, the Blues got back on terms. Jon Walters forced Byrne into an error inside the area and found Healy, who netted his first Town goal from close range.
Town looked the more likely to get the winner as the game entered the final 10 minutes of normal time. On 80 the match threatened to boil over when Wickham blocked Murphy as he kicked the ball out of his hands. The Irish keeper was incensed and grabbed the 16-year-old around the neck, several other players joining in the melee.
Eventually referee Andy Haines restored order, booking Wickham and Murphy, the latter perhaps a bit lucky not to receive a greater sanction. Two minutes later, Leadbitter joined them in the book for the latest in a series of fouls.
With five minutes remaining, Healy flicked a header wide, but that was the nearest that either side would come to a goal. As time ran down, Jaime Peters replaced Carlos Edwards.
By no means a classic in very poor conditions both for players and fans but the Blues did enough to deserve the point. Town had been the better side in the first period and might have gone in ahead but the home team started the second half the stronger.
As at QPR a couple of weeks ago, the Blues conceded shortly after making a double substitution but on this occasion were able to fight back and David Healy, who in general looked a bit fitter than in previous games, will benefit from netting his first Town goal.
Overall, two wins, a draw and a defeat from the four away games on the trot isn’t a bad haul with several winnable home games to come in the next few weeks.
Town: B Murphy, D Wright, O’Connor, Delaney, McAuley, Leadbitter, Norris (Healy 67), Colback, Edwards (Peters 90), Walters, Murphy (Wickham 67). Unused: Lee-Barrett, Couñago, Balkestein, Garvan. Att: 5,828.
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