28 August 2021

Neil Cox hails Scunthorpe ‘grit’ but wants to avoid late drama

28 August 2021

Scunthorpe boss Neil Cox saluted his side’s work ethic and dogged defending as their wait for a first Sky Bet League Two victory of the season ended against Tranmere.

Myles Hippolyte’s early penalty proved decisive for the Iron, who are now unbeaten since the opening day of the campaign, though they might have won by a bigger margin with some better finishing.

“It’s a great first win against a team that got in the play-offs last year,” Cox said.

“There was a lot of hard work and grit, but we also created four or five good chances to see the game out.

“We’ve been working hard on the training pitch to get people into good areas, which I thought we did today – now we’ve just got to be a lot more clinical in front of goal so we don’t have to go through that last five minutes of panic.

“I’m so proud of the boys. We’ve got a lot of injuries but everyone is working hard for each other.

“That’s four games unbeaten for us now, but we’ve got to be careful what we say so that people don’t get carried away.”

Hippolyte struck in the third minute, when referee Trevor Kettle penalised the visitors for a handball in the box.

Though it proved to be the only goal, the Iron had chances to add to their lead, with Alfie Beestin and Devarn Green both denied by Tranmere keeper Joe Murphy, while visiting substitute Mani Dieseruvwe squandered a good opportunity to level in the 81st minute when his touch let him down and Rory Watson gathered.

As well as being angered by what proved to be the match-winning decision, Rovers boss Micky Mellon was also upset with his side’s overall performance – accusing them of being “weak” and “milky”.

He said: “We didn’t show enough fire, and that’s something we speak about all the time, because it should be the bare minimum that a Tranmere player has.

“It was a thoroughly disappointing performance, and I take full responsibility. That’s my overall and honest assessment.

“I think the penalty was a shocking decision, but you’ve then got to move from that and show more.

“We didn’t show enough in Scunthorpe’s 18-yard box, we didn’t show enough aggression to get on the end of anything, and when we got into good areas, we didn’t show enough quality.

“We weren’t taken apart or passed to death – without showing any disrespect – by a really spirited Scunthorpe team.

“We just needed to show a bit of cleverness and find some magic against a team that parked 10 men once they got a very fortunate penalty kick.

“It’s no good me just standing here and saying ‘it wasn’t our day’, we have to deliver and show that we are a team that’s going to move in the right direction.”

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