Scunthorpe 3 Rochdale 1

Scunthorpe stretched their unbeaten run to seven games with a 3-1 victory over Rochdale in a game which should have delighted the neutrals.

Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws said: "This was a pleasure to watch for the neutral, they saw two teams willing to go forward especially in the first half and our goals came at crucial times.

"This was an important win for us, we were solid at the back and adventurous going forward.

"Paul Hayes is on fire at home, he has done very well and Norwich's loss looks to be our gain." His opposite number Paul Simpson, who worked tirelessly, said afterwards: "I am very disappointed. We knew it would be tough because they have pace in forward areas.

"We matched them for 70 minutes and the first half we made opportunities to get back into the game, but I was disappointed with our finishing.

"Overall I was satisfied with the way we played." Scunthorpe took the initiative with a tenth minute strike. Defender Andrew Dawson fired in a cross from the left for Robert Taylor to knock back and young striker Hayes headed home.

Dale struck back three minutes later Patrick McCourt found a gap in the Iron defence to fire home a right-foot shot to Tom Evans right hand.

In an open attacking game Peter Beagrie was causing trouble down the left flank and Taylor header straight into Matthew Gilks' hands.

Player-boss Simpson was driving his team forward and he got into the action to fire over from 30 yards.

Scunthorpe consolidated their lead in the 31st minute, Ian Kilford smashed in a great shot beyond Gilks' left hand.

The visitors were still very much involved and before the break McCourt blasted over the top and Simpson saw a shot blocked by Mark Jackson.

Rochdale found themselves under pressure as the second half got underway with substitute Martin Carruthers heading straight into Gilks' hands.

Dawson fired wide and then the keeper saved at the foot of the post from Carruthers and then Kilford.

The pressure eventually told and in the 66th minute Hayes broke free to hammer home number three.

A minute late Dale should have reduced the arrears, Paul Connor broke free but he fired wildly against the bar.

The game ended with young Hayes on the attack again, but a hat-trick evaded him as the ball ran wide.