09 April 2022

Keith Hill sympathises with Scunthorpe’s fans with relegation close

09 April 2022

Keith Hill admitted he shares Scunthorpe fans’ frustrations after a brief second-half protest added to the woe of his side’s 4-0 defeat to Mansfield, a result which left them teetering on the brink of relegation from the English Football League.

The Stags were already well on the way to three points thanks to Anthony Grant’s own goal and strikes from Stephen McLaughlin, Ryan Stirk and Stephen Quinn, when home supporters threw a number of tennis balls from the stands and around 30 spilled on to the pitch to express their anger at owner Peter Swann midway through the second half.

“I understand the disappointment, with the position we’re in in the league and the position the club is in after the last three or four seasons,” Hill said.

“We’re getting to the end of the line, and that was a statement that they’ve not been happy with for quite a long time.

“I sympathise with them, and 100 per cent I’ll try to give them what they want through rebuilding this football club.

“But I expect the supporters to deal with the mess that we’re in the same way as me, by being positive.

“The situation we are in is killing me inside, and tearing me to shreds.

“I’m a natural born winner and I want to be surrounded by winners, but I can see the future path instead of the sideshows that are going on at this point in time.”

Mansfield dominated and never looked back after Grant’s own goal set them on the way to their biggest win of the season in the 16th minute.

McLaughlin finished from close range after Iron keeper Rory Watson had failed to hold on to a shot from Jordan Bowery, and Stirk waltzed past several challenges before firing in seven minutes before half-time.

Quinn wrapped up the victory within 10 seconds of the restart – and kept the Stags’ push for automatic promotion firmly on course.

“It feels like another significant victory,” Mansfield boss Nigel Clough said.

“We don’t know how many games we’re going to have to win to get in the play-offs, let alone challenge for the top three, so we’ll just take them one at a time and keep ticking them off.

“To finish a run of seven away games in eight with a great victory and a clean sheet sets us up nicely for the last six games.

“The pitch invasion knocked us out of the groove a little bit – it’s not easy when it’s stop-start like that – but I thought the referee handled it brilliantly.

“I understand the protests, but its not against the team or the manager, which is good to see from a manager’s point of view.

“I thought we were a bit fortunate to be 3-0 up after the first half, where we looked a little bit lethargic, but we got the goals at good times.”

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