Full-time: Notts County 1 Scunthorpe United 0
SCUNTHORPE United’s miserable record at Meadow Lane continued as they crashed to a fifth defeat in six League One games.
The Iron have now lost all of their 10 matches at the home of Notts County, but should have ended that rotten run on this latest visit.
They were made to pay for a lapse in concentration from a Magpies corner late in the second half, from which defender Dean Leacock side-footed in, and also for a period of poor finishing, in which Karl Hawley squandered the pick of several decent chances to score against his old club.
It is an all too familiar scenario where the Iron are concerned – and one which means they continue to remain deep in trouble at the bottom end of the table.
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Scunthorpe’s best two openings of a first-half of little incident came inside the first 10 minutes.
After little more than 60 seconds a free-kick from out on the left touchline found Paul Reid unmarked at the back post and the Iron skipper steadied himself to hit the ball on the half volley, only to see it deflected wide.
Quickly after, a jinking run from Mark Duffy opened up the home defence and Akpo Sodje’s angled drive was diverted wide by Bartosz Bialkowski.
Much of the rest of the play came in the middle of the park, with both sides switching the ball from left to right to try to find an opening, but struggling in the final third.
Scunthorpe, who handed a debut to Wolves loanee Anthony Forde on the left of midfield, had good outlets in Duffy and Eddie Nolan, but on a pitch largely devoid of grass, collectively they were too often careless in possession in a congested midfield.
The Magpies sprung into life shortly before half-time, with two good chances to break the deadlock.
Skipper Neale Bishop headed the first, in the 39th minute, on target, but Iron goalkeeper Eirik Holmen Johansen scrambled across his line to push it away.
In the aftermath of the resulting corner, a ball swung into the box found Yoann Arquin, but he nodded a free header woefully over the bar.
Fortunately, the second half was much livelier.
Scunthorpe began to see more of the ball as an attacking force, but while lively as individuals, their cohesion as a unit wasn’t there.
They could though – and on the second occasion, most definitely should - have gone ahead from Hawley’s hat-trick of openings.
As the clock reached the hour mark, the former Magpies man dinked a perfectly-weighted shot over Bialkowski, but the accuracy did not match its flight and it bounced wide of the target.
Within 60 seconds he had stabbed a gilt-edged opening past the same post, on the back of good enterprise and defending from the front via Sodje.
The third opening, in the 64th minute, was much more difficult, but Hawley – released by County at the end of last season – still managed to get on the end of a fast-paced pass from the left, but with Bialkowski again leaving his line, his sight at goal was restricted.
As Scunthorpe continued to press, they started to look more and more susceptible to being caught on the break.
When one attack broke down, County sub Francois Zoko hugged the left touchline as he waited for support and when he eventually cut inside, he won the hosts a corner, from which they won they game.
Judge’s flag kick to the far post was headed back into the middle and centre-back Dean Leacock was on hand to turn it home.
Add it to the list of soft goals United have conceded this season.
NOTTS COUNTY: Bialkowski; Liddle, Leacock, Hollis, Sheehan; Hughes, Bishop, Boucaud (Tempest 82), Judge; Showunmi (Waite 90), Arquin (Zoko 67). Subs not used: Spiess, Smith, Thompson, Bencherif.
SCUNTHORPE: Johansen; Nolan, Mirfin, Reid (Canavan 50), Newey; Duffy, Ryan, Collins, Forde (Barcham 75); Hawley, Sodje. Subs not used: Severn, Walker, Alabi, Grella, Jennings.
ATTENDANCE: 4,634 (402 away).