|Iron celebrate Hawley's goal|
With this loss and Oldham's win against high flying Yeovil (blooming typical!) we are all but mathematically relegated. I have kept believing until last night that we could escape but it is now over. It's such a shame the fashion that we went down to a 8th loss in 9 last night though...
Relegation is always hard to take but if you fight right until the end and it's still not enough then you accept the fact that you was not good enough for that league and acknowledge where due the effort given by the players. However it is 10x harder to accept relegation when you go down without a whimper, without 80% of the players looking like they give a toss. The latter is the conclusion I have come to after last nights second half performance, which I might add was the worst I have EVER seen Scunthorpe play. Ever.
We all know Bury's off field battles with financial difficulties have seen a negative effect on the pitch and they have suffered a horrific end to the season, even losing to rivals Oldham at the weekend. We played a team who could only field 2 substitutes and had multiple players outfield who were inexperienced and probably reserve standard when they actually have a fully fit team. Bury had one vital attribute within their squad which this Scunthorpe side has been so dearly lacking throughout this disastrous season - Passion.
We started okay and got on top of Bury throughout the first half and deservedly led at half time through a Karl Hawley flick of the head. It was not a pretty game and certainly not exciting but I sat in my seat at half time and did not give two hoots about all of that, I just wanted a win. Apart from the Hawley goal our only other notable chance was when a Forde through ball was chested down by Matty Godden but he disappointingly fired over from just outside the box. News had been fed around the Iron faithful that Oldham were leading at half time but Colchester were losing. "Maybe we could drag Colchester into this relegation dogfight" I thought to myself. Bring on the second half...
For the first 15 minutes of the second half although Bury had edged a little more into the tie I was still comfortable and could not for the life of me see where a Bury goal would come from. Then for me the turning point in the game happened. A great Iron break led to Nolan passing the ball across the box to an oncoming Duffy who SHOULD have put it away in my opinion. That should have been 2-0, game over.
After this Bury grew more and more into the game and then there was a 5 minute spell where we conceded free-kick after free-kick until the all important one (from a Bury perspective anyway) which was fired in wonderfully by Jonson Clarke-Harris. Back to square one as a draw was not enough but surely we wouldn't go behind and conceding would be the wake-up call the Iron's players needed? No. NO NO NO NO NO. As little as 2 minutes later rent boy Nicky Ajose had slotted away Bury's second and more importantly the final goal of this fixture. I knew our abuse of him at Chesterfield last season would come back and haunt us (he is still absolutely useless though).
So that was it for me and I finally accepted what has maybe been inevitable for quite a while - Relegated. I stood and clapped the players after the full time whistle and did think to myself do they really deserve this applause? I continued to applaud as despite the wastes of space we have in our squad there are still players there who care about Scunthorpe United and they deserved a clap. Not naming those who deserved a clap... *cough cough* Michael Collins, Tom Newey, Jimmy Ryan & Eddie Nolan.
As I walked back to Bury tram station I had a chance to reflect on things and also saw people posting on Twitter that they were to stop supporting the Iron now they have gone down. You're having a laugh right? If you cannot support a club when they are at their worst then you sure as hell don't deserve to support them at their best. I reacted to this with a few tweets that received a decent reaction...
Yes we are down and yes we will be watching a much lower level of football next year but with the right amount of support and belief we can bounce back. This isn't the end of the glory years altogether. We will be back.
Scunthorpe Till I Die.