Report: Scunthorpe 0 Exeter City 4
Exeter City got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 win away at Scunthorpe.
Liam Sercombe’s goals either side of the interval were bookended by something of a wonderstrike by Arron Davies, as the game ran away from the Iron.
Sam Parkin netted as the game tipped into stoppage time to round off a third win away from home from the Grecians, sending the side joint-top of Sky Bet League 2.
City’s clean-sheet owed a bit to Scunthorpe’s profligacy in front of goal, but was chiefly down to some superb rearguard displays as goalkeeper Artur Krysiak and his defence swatted aside every challenge they were faced.
Matt Gill, returning on loan from Bristol Rovers on Friday, began on the subs bench ready for an introduction for the final quarter of the game.
Parkin also began the fixture on the bench after his return from injury, while John O’Flynn led the line with Jimmy Keohane and Alan Gow supporting the attack.
In a flexible defence, the partnership of Danny Coles and Pat Baldwin was retained, with Scot Bennett starting on the right-hand side.
The Grecians began with all the energy and conviction that had been lacking the previous weekend, with Gow and O’Flynn in particular linking up nicely to build upfield.
While City were building and restricting the space to play for the hosts, the Iron could only shoot from range, to the agitation of the home crowd. Former Sheffield Wednesday winger Etienne Esajas twice hooked efforts over the bar, without any real purpose.
But as Scunthorpe began to settle, they also began to carve openings. Matt Sparrow, coming inside from his right flank, was released through the centre and drew a save from Artur Krysiak as he shot from outside the area.
And the home fans were cheering – momentarily – as the ball hit the net. David Syers hammered in a loose ball, but the assistant had already flagged for a foul as Krysiak had been knocked off the ball at the peak of his jump.
Sam Slocombe wasn’t being worked particularly hard in the first period, as City’s progressive play was tending to break down with the final pass.
But the goalkeeper was picking the ball out of the net when Sercombe took the bull by the horns and smashed City into the lead.
It was a ball into O’Flynn that caused the home defence trouble – the Irishman took a deft touch to lay in Sercombe, who got the ball out his feet with his first touch and unleashed a 20-yard drilled effort into the bottom corner.
The home fans were becoming agitated by everything as the Grecians were quick to the ball and making the home team work for everything.
Two chances went begging in quick succession – the first as Arron Davies’ cross from the left – having been repositioned since an early spell in the right-back berth – crossed towards Keohane, but was dealt with. Bennett stormed forward to cross for the second, and no head was there to meet it.
Half-time: Scunthorpe United 0 Exeter City 1
The hosts came out with what appeared to be a renewed sense of purpose, and Jimmy Spencer was unlucky to not quite trap a ball over the top as Krysiak collected.
But the Grecians suddenly turned the screw and quickly opened up a three-goal cushion.
Davies netted barely five minutes into the second half – and it was something of a wonder-strike as he spotted Slocombe off his line, and from the left-hand touchline, popped a shot that found its way in off the far post.
And two became three within a minute. Gow steamed forward down the right flank and popped one into the path of Sercombe, who rounded off with a placed finish that he tucked inside the far post.
But with 40 minutes of the game remaining, Scunthorpe had a lot of time to get back into the game and were intent on making a fist of it.
David Syers could have reduced the deficit when he shrugged off the attention of the City defence and escaped one-on-one. Krysiak made himself big though and foiled the effort.
Opportunities were coming thick and fast all of a sudden for the hosts, but manful defending was keeping the opposition out from City. Davies was on hand to deny substitute Sam Winnall from a tight angle as he hacked off the post, before fellow sub Hawkridge drew an acrobatic stop from Krysiak.
O’Flynn might have netted himself when Slocombe spilled a Sercombe cross, but the stopper recovered before the Irishman could make it four.
When veteran striker Deon Burton missed a chance with a free header from six yards out, it sparked departures from a few of the home fans, even with 15 minutes left to play.
Even when Winnall nearly got clear as a through-ball foiled Coles, Krysiak was off his line to collect in a dash to maintain his clean sheet.
And the afternoon was completed emphatically as Matt Grimes, on from the bench, cut inside to shoot – his effort was too hot to handle for Slocombe, allowing Parkin to prod into the net as the game ticked into added time.
Full-time: Scunthorpe United 0 Exeter City 4
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe; Byrne, Mirfin, Canavan, Dawson; Sparrow (Hawkridge 53), Syers, McAllister (Adelakun 73), Esajas (Winnall 53); Burton, Spencer.
Subs (not used): Severn, Ribiero, Waterfall, Wootton.
Exeter City: Krysiak; Baldwin, Coles, Bennett, Woodman; Sercombe, Keohane (Grimes 69), Doherty (Gill 69), Davies; Gow (Parkin 73); O'Flynn.
Subs (not used): Pym, Moore-Taylor, Tillson, Wheeler.
Goals: Sercombe (34, 50), Davies (49), Parkin (90).
Attendance: 3,250 (118 away).
Referee: C. Breakspear