There were plenty of new faces on show for Stamford AFC on Friday night as they went down 3-0 at home to League One Scunthorpe United in their first pre-season game of the 2016-17 season.
It was a solid display from the Daniels, particularly in defence, against a fully professional side.
As expected Stamford were staved of possession for much of the match but they did have their chances to get a goal, however they failed to take them.
Stamford’s new defensive midfielder Niall Mather made an impression early on with a great block to shut out the danger. However there was a near miss moments later when Kevin van Veen headed over from close range.
However two of Stamford’s new-boys combined for Stamford’s first chance of the match, number 10 Jev Brown showed nice feet to drive at The Iron defence and get them on the back-foot before crossing to attacking midfielder Brad Wells who saw his header saved.
Up front a slim line Greg Smith was showing plenty of commitment, sliding in legally to win the ball and the plaudits from his team. Stamford were having a good spell and Paul Malone, who was skipper for the day, also headed over from a deep free kick.
But it was the visitors who went ahead in rather soft fashion. The diminutive Duane Holmes was the pick of the bunch for Scunthorpe and he scored the first of a brace of goals in the 12th minute, striking from the edge of the box and sneaking the ball past Daniels keeper Taylor McMillan, who really should have done better.
Holmes was a constant threat, he shot from distance again, but this time he pulled his effort wide.
After a period without much treat at even end Wells had a glorious chance to level for the Daniels, drifting across the 18 yard box he tried to curl the ball into the top corner but his radar was off on this occasion.
Sam Mulready was the next red shirt to waste a good chance, an error from the right back covering him putting him into aches of space. But after some elaborate step overs he fired the ball high and wide of the mark.
McMillan looked uncertain between the sticks for Stamford and another distance shot beat him, but this time it rebound off the post.
Greg Smith had a snap shot saved after Wells won the ball back for the hosts with a sliding tackle. Brown then had a tame shot saved by the United stopper.
McMillan made amends for his earlier error when he tipped the ball onto the post from a firm strike.
Holmes had a touch of class about him and a nice turn earned some space for him to shot low at the near post, forcing McMillan to save with his body.
But Holmes was not to be denied - drifting into space and hitting the pulled back ball nicely to see the net bulge for 2-0 on the stroke half time.
Both teams made a raft of changes at half time. Elliot Sandy was one of the players to come on at half time for Stamford and made a good impression. He looked composed on the ball, with some nice passing on display and good break up play in defence.
Scunthorpe effectively put the game to bed in the 56th minute with a scruffy goal, Madden put the finished from a low cross, with the ball taking a heavy deflection on its way in.
Stamford were not done and Jake Duffy curled a free kick into the top left corner from outside the box but it was well saved by keeper Joe Anyon.
Sam Hill had a goal ruled out for offside for Stamford, which would have been well deserved for his side’s efforts. It was well put away by the midfielder and a tight call from the assistant referee.
Stamford’s pace looked dangerous in the second half, with Ryan Robbins, Jordan Smith and Hill showing willingness to run onto long balls.
Andy Hall had some nice touches and worked well with Robbins down the right flank. It was a quiet night for Robbins on his return to the Daniels. If anything he was looking too hard to score a wonder goal - trying to beat five defenders by himself. He might do it in the Evo-Stik NPL Division One South but at this level that’s not going to happen.
Stamford’s last chance came from a great searching ball by Hill which released Jordan Smith at full speed but the cover got back to barge him off the ball.
Stamford AFC squad: Taylor McMillan, Jordan Lemon, Tommy Cooney, Niall Mather, Paul Malone (c), Tom Batchelor, Brad Wells, Jope Elliott, Greg Smith, Jev Brown, Sam Mulready, Ollie Luto, Kern Miller, Delroy Gordon, Sam Hill, Jake Duffy, Elliott Sandy, Andy Hall, Ryan Robbins, Jon Challinor, Paul Bastock.
Scunthorpe United first half team: Daniels, Laird, Mirfin, Williams, Dawson, van Veen, Bishop, Hopper, Holmes, Goode, Clarke.
Scunthorpe United seconf half team: Anyon, Wiseman, King, Wallace, Madden, Morris, Adelakun, Townsend, Ness, Wootton, Sutton.