Preview: Scunthorpe United vs Exeter City

After two successive matches without a goal, the division’s top scorers returned emphatically to winning ways with a 4-0 thrashing of Leyton Orient on Saturday – the return of Ryan Bowman to the starting line-up after suspension not exactly coincidental, especially his role in setting up Joel Randall’s opener. It was Matt Jay who stole the headlines, however, with his first hat-trick, which meant that for the first time since 1933 three hat-tricks have been scored by City in a single season. Matt Taylor has tended to rotate his side somewhat given City’s hectic schedule, but he may look to keep to the same side for the long trip on Tuesday night – especially given City’s defensive issues with Tom Parkes sitting out the last of his three matches following his red card at Crawley.

If City are one of the draw specialists in League Two, the opposite could be said of Scunthorpe, who have recorded just three draws in 31 fixtures to date. That inconsistency has meant the Iron go into Tuesday night’s fixture in 17th place in the table, albeit with a cushion to the bottom that should mean they’re not overly concerned. Results have picked up of late, a run of four straight wins taking Neil Cox’s side clear of relegation danger while the last week has seen further impressive results – a 1-0 at then leaders Cambridge last Tuesday followed by a 1-1 draw at Salford, unbeaten at home, on Saturday. One time City loanee Ryan Loft is the top scorer with eight in all competitions, just ahead of Abo Eisa (seven), while the likes of Alex Gilliead have pedigree at this level. Mark Howard has established himself as the club’s number one, despite a shaky d├ębut in the reverse of this fixture in October.

Howard joined Scunthorpe ahead of that match initially to cover a Covid outbreak that meant the Iron travelled to City shorn of several players and coaching staff, and indeed led to the postponement of subsequent fixtures. Given that outlook it wasn’t surprising that City ran out 3-1 winners – Randall, Jay and Taylor for City and Rowe for Scunthorpe. Last season City’s visit to Scunthorpe, on the back of a 4-0 thrashing at Cambridge, resulted also in a 3-1 home win. Perch gave the hosts the lead which was quickly wiped out by Jay before Ward and Gilliead sealed the points. Scunthorpe have the edge in the league head to heads with 23 wins to City’s 18, 14 matches finishing level.

The match officials for the game will be:-

Referee: Seb Stockbridge
Assistant Referees: Peter Gooch and Christopher Ward
Fourth Official : Ross Joyce

Sebastian Stockbridge has refereed seven Exeter games, including the last time we met Scunthorpe at Glanford Park. Details of those encounters can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=stockbridge



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