A first-half goal from David Mirfin proved to be enough for Scunthorpe United to inflict a rare defeat on Bolton Wanderers at Glanford Park.
Despite winning their last five games on the road, Wanderers couldn’t respond to the early goal despite creating a raft of chances late in the second-half.
A point would have been a fair reflection of their toils but with Fleetwood Town also losing on the road to Oldham, it means Phil Parkinson’s men are still seven points clear of third spot with four games to go until the end of the campaign.
Phil Parkinson made just one enforced change from the midweek victory against Southend United with Conor Wilkinson coming in for the injured Gary Madine as Wanderers went in pursuit of a sixth successive win on their travels.
Wanderers survived an early handball shout after seven minutes when Iron captain Stephen Dawson protested that he shot came off the hands of Dean Moxey. Referee David Webb wasn’t interested though.
The hosts started off the brighter of the two, enjoying plenty of possession but without causing many concerns.
A foul from captain Darren Pratley gifted the hosts a free kick from 25-yards out which Josh Morris found the head of David Mirfin who nodded past Mark Howard on 12 minutes.
The visitors had Dorian Dervite to thank after his clearing header prevented Paddy Madden from heading past Howard from close range as Scunthorpe pressed for a second.
Wanderers just couldn’t settle and were struggling to keep hold of the ball.
However, with their first serious attack in the Scunthorpe box they earned a corner as a probing Morais cross resulted in a corner, which came to nothing.
Wanderers slowly got their way back into the game and won two successive corners, the latter of which fell to Moxey who pinged the ball from distance which wasn’t too far off target.
Wilkinson spurned a glorious opportunity to equalise five minutes before the interval when he blasted wide from eight yards after some enterprising work by Le Fondre on the wing.
No changes were made by Wanderers during the half-time break, though Neal Bishop came on for Matt Crooks for the hosts.
The substitute should have done better with his first touch of the game when he latched on to Toney’s flick on but his shot lacked the power to trouble Howard who comfortably saved.
The hosts had started the half the same as they had the first and should have been two up with Bishop’s deflected effort coming off the foot of Howard’s right hand post before being cleared for a corner. It was another let off for Wanderers who were struggling to stymie the Scunthorpe resurgence.
Wilkinson’s low drive from distance skewed wide after some neat build up play in the middle of the park as the visitors searched for a way back into the contest.
Parkinson made a double attacking substitution just after the hour mark with Clayton and Henry coming on for Wilkinson and Pratley.
And Henry almost got the equaliser within seconds of coming on. Anyon made a spectacular save to push the sub’s left footed drive over the bar.
Wanderers thought they had got that elusive equaliser when Morais’ free-kick was met by a firm header from Le Fondre, but somehow Anyon kept it out at the expense of a corner.
At the other end, Howard made a diving save to his right hand side to keep out Morris as Scunthorpe broke away at pace.
The visitors were camped in the Scunthorpe half and were launch wave after wave of attacks but were constantly being rebuffed.
But it wasn’t to be and Wanderers succumbed to a rare defeat, but didn’t lose any ground in their promotion quest courtesy of Fleetwood losing to Oldham.