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League Two

Russ Wilcox wills Scunthorpe United to remain strong

26 February 2014

Manager Russ Wilcox issued a rallying call to some disgruntled Scunthorpe United fans after a late equaliser cost his side two precious points.

Leading scorer Sam Winnall fired the home side in front after 22 minutes with his 18th goal of the season and also hit the crossbar with a second-half header.

But substitute Steven Gillespie rescued a point for hard-working Bristol Rovers in the 89th minute.

The 1-1 draw extended the Iron's unbeaten run to 17 matches but they fell two points behind League Two leaders Chesterfield, who won 4-1 at Cheltenham.

"It is always very disappointing to concede a late goal," said Wilcox, whose team was booed by some supporters at the final whistle.

"We were nowhere near our best, I am not going to hide from that, but we have still managed to take a point and stretch our unbeaten run to 17 games.

"We have got to try and manage expectations here. Scunthorpe as a club have just had three terrible seasons, two of which have ended in relegation. But now here we are second in the table and unbeaten in 17 games.

"We need to embrace that and enjoy it. We are now coming towards the part of the season when it can get a bit nervy.

"It's the time when we need everyone pulling together."

Even though not at their best, Wilcox insisted Scunthorpe should still have managed to win the game.

"We have hit the bar, had two or three penalty appeals turned down and have created most of the chances," he said.

"But there were two teams out there and Bristol are a good team. I saw them beat Burton last week and knew what they were capable of."

Rovers boss John Ward was delighted with his team, who suffered two injury blows just before half-time when Alan Gow was carried off on a stretcher with suspected knee ligament damage and Tom Lockyer suffered a broken nose.

"They are two key players for us in how we are trying to play, but the strength of the squad we now have is showing through," said Ward.

"We could have come here and tried to be cagey, but I challenged my players to come and be positive.

"We have come here and attacked Scunthorpe and taken a very good point against a top team.

"We have stood strong against them and the result is a good one for us both mentally and physically.

"I was a bit disappointed with some of our quality in the first half, we gave the ball away a bit too cheaply at times. We also did that a bit in the second half when we were in some good positions.

"I am not complaining, but we do have to get better on that. However, I cannot be unhappy with the performance of my team.

"I thought Scunthorpe's goal was against the run of play and we then survived a spell in the second half before getting the equaliser with a really well worked goal.

"The way we played and the result here means hopefully we can look ahead now and be a bit more positive."


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