I wasn’t too bothered about our early exit from the Carabao Cup as we really have to ‘concentrate on the league’ this season as the cliché goes. I hope Ozturk doesn’t play a first team game for us again as the writing was on the wall in the first-half of the Charlton game that he was very much in the Djilobodji mould. Despite Thursday’s defeat we still showed some positive signs, though we were clearly lacking upfront. At this early hour I don’t know what our line-up will be this afternoon but sooner or later all our summer signings, most importantly Wyke, will be fit and then we should be able to mount a serious promotion push. There’s still time of course for us to get a few loanees in too. I won’t be at the match but will hopefully watch it online. I see fans have been advised to get to the stadium early to avoid the trouble we had at the Charlton match – does that mean there may be problems with the turnstiles again? I hope the big screens and the p.a. have been fixed because last time out they were next to useless. I know nothing at all about Scunthorpe except that we’re exactly equal in the league and I don’t recall seeing us play them since I first went to Roker Park in late 1962. We’ll surely be fielding a stronger side than we did against Sheffield and I fancy us to win 2-1.
When I got the team-news there were no big surprises except that Catts was starting instead of Mumba. Ozturk was on the bench while Baldwin and Loovens were at the centre of defence, which was reassuring. I couldn’t get the TV stream online so it had to be SAFSEE. The first words I heard were, “The atmosphere’s good” and the place was buzzing. We won a free-kick and then a corner early on after a Maguire shot was turned out. We dominated the first ten minutes but how many times have we started well and had nothing to show for it? Scunthorpe came into it more and we started to lose some of our earlier fluency but in the twenty-second minute we took the lead when Power headed it home from sixteen yards from a cross by Oviedo. I was impressed by Power last week and can see him becoming a big fan favourite. Three minutes later it was 2-0 when Maja turned and slotted another shot into the corner. Three goals in three league games isn’t bad going. Again Oviedo was involved in the build-up and he was someone I didn’t expect to be playing for us this season so I hope we can hang in to him a while longer. Lund clearly saw Oviedo as a threat as Lund was soon yellow-carded for pulling him over. Our fans were in full voice and everything was looking good. Scunthorpe won their first corner but it was headed away by Maja. We were passing well, as we’ve done so far this season by and large, so Scunthorpe weren’t getting much of the ball. We won two corners in a row and Baldwin was denied a goal by good defending on the line. As half-time approached things were looking rosy but Loovens made a second sloppy mistake and he’d need to tighten up. With a few minutes to go it was 3-0 when Maguire scored from close range following great build-up play from Gooch and Honeyman. As the whistle went there was loud applause and it was looking in the bag. I can’t remember the last time I was able to say that.
So often when sides have built up a three or four goal lead in the first-half, the game ends 3-1 or 4-1 but I hoped we’d keep going in the second-half and get a few more goals. A 5-0 or 6-0 win is wonderful for everyone’s morale. There were no changes for either side as we kicked off again. We continued where we’d left off and both Power and Oviedo soon had good scoring efforts. Ten minutes in, Scunthorpe had their first serious chance when McLaughlin had to parry and collect a long-distance shot by Perch. Matthews went off injured and he was replaced by James two minutes before the hour-mark. Scunthorpe made a switch of strikers at the same time.
Baldwin moved to right back and James replaced him in the centre. N.B. Ross didn’t bring on Ozturk. The tempo of the game had dropped but we were still winning 3-0 with less than half an hour to go. With about twenty minutes left Mumba came on for Maguire who deservedly received tumultuous applause. He’s been a really good acquisition. Oviedo went down injured and the shadow of Ozturk loomed but thankfully he recovered. The second-half had definitely been flat compared to the first but I still hoped for another late goal. The attendance was announced – 29,876. Maja should have made it four after more great work by Oviedo but he somehow drove it wide of the right post from three yards out. O’Nien replaced Honeyman late on and nothing much happened after that but there was again loud applause as it ended 3-0.
Three goals, three points, a clean sheet and we’re in a play-off position so a very pleasing afternoon all in all. I fully agreed with commentator Gary Bennett when he said, “We are sending out a message, innit?” See you at Gillingham. (Anyone got a spare Wimbledon ticket?)