Full-time: Scunthorpe United 2 Oldham Athletic 2
SCUNTHORPE United let slip a two-goal lead as their struggles at Glanford Park continued into 2013.
Two strikes in four minutes from Niall Canavan and Mark Duffy had the Iron well in command against fellow strugglers Oldham Athletic.
But former United captain Cliff Byrne fired the Latics a lifeline 10 minutes before the break courtesy of a close-range finish and Jose Baxter converted a second-half penalty to recover a point before Oldham's James Wesolowski was later sent off for an alleged stamp on Damien Mozika.
Scunthorpe made four changes to the side beaten at Tranmere Rovers three days earlier, with Jimmy Ryan and Christian Ribeiro recovering from illness and Mark Duffy back after a knee problem.
FREE MEAL OFFER at our award winning restaurantView details
Whatever your occasion, book a table for 6 or more and we will give you a free meal up to the value of £15 with this voucher.
Terms: Cannot be used with any other offers or vouchers. Your email address.......................... (if you want to receive vouchers in the future). Print voucher or show us the voucher on your phone.
Contact: 01724 281289
Valid until: Friday, July 19 2013
The other switch came in goal, where Sam Slocombe started his first match in two months following Millwall's decision to recall Steve Mildenhall from his loan spell at Glanford Park a week early.
Two of those changes were central to what proved to be an excellent first half for the Iron.
Shooting towards the Doncaster Road End, after the Latics had won the toss, the fleet footwork and quick-thinking of Ryan and Duffy – operating in a free role behind lone striker Karl Hawley – tied the visiting defence in knots.
Scunthorpe should have gone ahead in the eighth minute, when Hawley held off the challenge of Byrne before dinking over a cross to the back post, where it was met by the head of Ryan.
His effort goalwards was flicked onto the underside of the bar by Oldham stopper Dean Bouzanis and though it appeared to bounce down over the line, before being hacked clear, the linesman failed to signal for a goal.
Fortunately, there was no doubting Canavan's finish six minutes later, which did make it 1-0.
A quickly-taken free-kick put Duffy clear on the right. He pulled the ball back to Ryan, whose first-time shot was only parried by Bouzanis and the Iron defender stuck out a leg to prod the rebound into the back of the net.
In the 19th minute, the home side doubled their lead, courtesy of Duffy, who earned himself an opening just inside the 18-yard box, worked the ball onto his left foot from where he drilled an angled shot into the far corner of the net.
Oldham had lost their previous four games going into this clash, but refused to lie down despite the scoreline.
And after beginning to get themselves a foothold in the game, Byrne handed the Latics a lifeline with a close range finish after Matt Smith had won a header at the back post.
Suddenly the game became stretched, with both sides squandering good openings to add to the scoring before the break.
Ryan could only shoot wide after turning in the penalty area, when Bouzanis had fumbled a Tom Newey cross.
And at the other end, the lanky Smith, sporting a bandage around his forehead, headed straight at Slocombe following a teasing ball in from the left flank.
The second half was no less short on incident.
Oldham were the better side, by far, for the early part of it, pressing the home side back and forcing them into a string of mistakes both with and without the ball.
But it took them until the 65th minute to make their superior possession count – and it came via a helping hand from referee Richard Clark.
There was no appeal from any Latics player when a cross from the left ran through to Slocombe, yet Clark adjudged Smith had been shoved as the Iron keeper claimed the ball and Jose Baxter cheekily chipped the resulting penalty home.
There was further controversy with 20 minutes to go, when Wesolowski fouled Mozika and then looked to catch the Frenchman with his boot – though not necessarily intentionally – and Clark sent off the visiting midfielder.
The red card seemed to swing the match back in Scunthorpe's favour.
Within minutes of coming on for Ryan, Nathan Ellington had lashed a first-time shot, from Duffy's raking cross-field pass, wide.
And Canavan was unlucky not to get his second of the afternoon as he steered a header on target despite back-pedalling, but Bouzanis was equal to it.
Despite a period of late pressure the Iron had to settle for a point, which does little to aid their attempts to climb out of the bottom four and means they have now failed to win at Glanford Park in their last eight attempts.
SCUNTHORPE: Slocombe; Ribeiro, Reid, Canavan, Newey; Ryan (Ellington 70), Collins, Mozika, Barcham; Duffy; Hawley. Subs not used: Severn, Kennedy, Grella, Gibbons, Godden, Djeziri.
OLDHAM: Bouzanis; Wabara, Byrne, Mvoto, Grounds; Croft (Winchester 74), Wesolowski, Furman, Montano (M'Changama 25); Baxter, Smith. Subs not used: Cisak, Brown, Tarkowski, Taylor, Millar.
ATTENDANCE: 3,116 (256 away).