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SCUNTHORPE 0

ROVERS 1

(Antonsson, 58)

IN HIS pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Glanford Park, Rovers boss Tony Mowbray said: “I would like to think that we can go there and grind out a 1-0 win with a scruffy goal, put the points in the bag and keep rolling on.”

And while the goal they did score, just before the hour mark from Marcus Antonsson, was anything but scruffy, they certainly had to scrap their way to a fourth consecutive league win for the first time since October 2007.

It means Rovers have now won three consecutive games on their travels, keeping clean sheets in them all, against sides who had the fifth, third, and second, best home records in League One last season.

They were indebted to some fine goalkeeping from David Raya along the way, but held on to a vital three points.

Rovers were given a boost by the return of skipper Charlie Mulgrew, but that was tempered by Craig Conway missing out after taking a knock to the hip in the win at Rochdale.

Rekeem Harper was handed his Rovers debut in midfield, and would have the visitors’ best chance of a first-half in which they were second best.

Harper’s miss, in which he nodded an Elliott Bennett crosses wide when found unmarked in the six yard box, came six minutes before the break.

That was actually in Rovers’ best period of the first-half in which Dominic Samuel could only find the gloves of Matt Gilks after being played in by Corry Evans.

However, David Raya was the busier of the two goalkeepers, and kept Rovers in the game with some neat stops in the first-half.

The Spaniard would have been pleased to see efforts from Paddy Madden and Duane Holmes straight at him after the pair found space around the edge of the Rovers box inside the opening 20 minutes.

Former Rover Josh Morris, fresh from four goals in his last six games, was keen to impress, and had his first effort at goal on the half hour mark.  His 30-yard free-kick required Raya to tip it over the bar, as Scunthorpe enjoyed the better of proceedings.

They were getting men over in the wide areas, and when Paul Caddis could only head Duane Holmes’ cross in to the path of Morris, things opened up.  However, fortunately for Rovers his effort was straight at Raya who did well to gather.

Scunthorpe’s best opportunity came three minutes before the break when Lee Novak got across Mulgrew to meet another inviting delivery from the wide areas, but Raya was well placed to gather.

Rovers sent on Bradley Dack at the start of the second half, replacing Harper, as they looked for more fluidity as an attacking unit.  But in difficult conditions, it continued to be a scrappy affair.

Novak had a goal rightly chalked off for offside, while Morris saw another free-kick deflected over the bar.

With 58 minutes on the watch however, Rovers would grab a goal on the counter.  Elliott Bennett, who had been full of running all evening, though mostly in a defensive capacity, showed great energy to get down the right and pick out a cross to the far post where Marcus Antonsson met it on the volley to take advantage a defensive slip.

That gave Rovers something to hold on to in a game in which they had been fighting for a foothold in prior to that.

They felt they should have had a penalty with 20 minutes to go when substitute Danny Graham saw a header hit the arm of Murray Wallace, only for referee Sebastien Stocksbridge to wave those appeals away.

Scunthorpe, who made a double change just before that, tried to muster a response, and saw one of them, Hakeeb Adelakun fizz a 20-yarder just over the bar.

Their lead was slender, and almost not at all when Neal Bishop met an Adelakun corner, only for Derrick Williams to somehow hook the ball off the line.

They did have a great chance to seal with 10 minutes to go, but Matt Gilks came up with a big save for the hosts. Bradley Dack found space on the left and teed it up for Graham, but his side-foot effort was saved by the legs of the Iron keeper.

But it was Raya who would keep his best save for last, tipping over a piledriver from Funso Ojo moments before the fourth official signalled six added minutes which Rovers had to fight their way through to secure the points.