REPORT: Scunthorpe 2-2 MK Dons: Ten-man Scunny hold on for a draw
Ten-man Scunthorpe survived a late barrage from MK Dons in an action packed 2-2 draw at Glanford Park.
Referee Graham Salisbury's performance will certainly be under the microscope after a horror show from the man in the middle. Dons felt there should have been a foul on Scott Golbourne in the build-up to Scunthorpe's second through Kevin van Veen, after Kieran Agard cancelled out Hakeeb Adelakun's opener.
After sending off Neal Bishop on the stroke of half time, he then awarded a free kick, then a penalty, then reversed it again when Gboly Ariyibi was fouled, but Chuks Aneke headed home the free kick to equalise again.
Despite throwing everything at them in the latter stages, they came up against an inspired Matt Gilks in the Iron net, denying Aneke, Ariyibi and Agard from netting the winner.
Having drawn with Shrewsbury last Saturday only thanks to a Shaun Whalley equaliser late in the day, Robbie Neilson named the same side again at Glanford Park, with Osman Sow and Chuks Aneke leading hte line. There was a familiar face among the Scunthorpe substitutes too, with Simon Church on the bench for the home side.
Dons, without a league win in over a month, were by far the dominant force in the opening 20 minutes. Buoyed by their strong showing against Shrewsbury seven days earlier, the front four of Osman Sow, Chuks Aneke, Peter Pawlett and Kieran Agard were enjoying time and space to play, and they weren't shy of getting their shots in.
Dons won corner after corner as Matt Gilks tipped away Agard's strike with a fine finger-tip save, before brilliantly denying Sow when the Swede went one-on-one after a well-worked Dons move.
So it was almost ironic when Scunthorpe, with their first real spell of the game, took the lead on 27 minutes. Kevin van Veen did well on the right flank to get the better of Scott Golbourne, and pulled back for Tom Hopper on the penalty spot. His initial effort was blocked but it fell kindly for Hakeeb Adelakun to coolly slot under Lee Nicholls, who had barely touched the ball until he was picking it out of his net.
The Dons keeper had to be at his best two minutes later though to deny Hopper again, this time diving to his right to tip the shot around the post as the home side sensed blood in the water.
But from one end to the other, Gilks made an-almost slow-motion save to keep out another fine Sow effort, flying to his right to claw away his strike. They would eventually get their reward though from an excellent move, culminating in Sow pulling across for Agard to draw level three minutes before half time.
Parity would last just a minute though as Scunthorpe retook the lead in controversial circumstances. A high ball into the air saw Golbourne battling with Hopper, and it looked as though the full back was shoved over as they went for the ball. But with Golbourne floored, it allowed van Veen to lash past Nicholls and put Scunthorpe back in front.
But on the stroke of half time, the home side were dealt a blow when Neal Bishop was shown a straight red card for clashing with Aneke in front of the dug outs.
If there was an air of controversy about referee Graham Salisbury's performance, it was highlighted in the build up to Dons' second equaliser on 66 minutes. Despite being clearly inside the box, substitute Gboly Ariyibi was adjudged to be outside when he was fouled. The referee initially awarded a free kick, and then changed his mind to award a penalty, before over-turning his over-turned decision once more. Upson's free kick though would find Aneke at the far post though and he headed powerfully past Gilks to equalise.
Having been booked early in the first half, Ethan Ebanks-Landell was certainly fortunate to stay on the pitch when he sent Josh Morris to the ground, leading to a brilliant chance for Cameron Burgess to restore Scunthorpe's lead, only for the defender to head over the empty net.
With a sense of their first win since early November, Dons piled forwards late in the day, but couldn't get through the sensational Gilks, who did brilliantly to deny Aneke twice and then Agard from close range to keep the scores level.
There was little he could do about two more Aneke efforts, a header and an acrobatic attempt over his head, but both fell just wide of the mark as Dons had to settle for a point, staying 17th in the table.
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Scunthorpe United: Gilks, Wallace, van Veen (Crofts 46(Butroid 85)), Morris, Bishop, Hopper, Adelakun, Holmes (Townsend 46), Goode, Burgess, Sutton
Subs not used: Watson, Lewis, Redmond, Church
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Walsh, Golbourne (Wootton 53), Upson, McGrandles, Pawlett, Agard, Aneke, Sow (Ariyibi 61)
Subs not used: Siestma, Seager, Nesbitt, Nombe, Thomas-Asante
Booked: Ebanks-Landell, Williams, Morris
Sent off: Bishop