Neil Cox was relieved as his “nervous” Scunthorpe side held on to beat Crawley for only their second League Two win of the season.
The Iron remain bottom of the table but a first win in 10, added to a draw at Barrow last time out, has given Cox’s side some momentum.
The hosts went in front after 33 minutes when Hayden Hackney found Ross Millen on the right and his low cross was diverted into his own net by George Francomb, under pressure from Ryan Loft.
Scunthorpe doubled their lead in the 55th minute. Miles Hippolyte’s clever pass found Jake Scrimshaw and he went round keeper Glenn Morris to score his second goal since joining from Bournemouth on loan.
Kwesi Appiah headed home Francomb’s cross to make it 2-1 but Scunthorpe clung on.
Cox said: “It’s a relief because it’s been a difficult few weeks. But we’ve got four points on the board in the last two games and there’s much more positivity.
“In the first half I thought we passed the ball like we want to and created some chances as well as the goal. We had other opportunities to get a third and although they put a lot of balls into our box late on they didn’t really have too many shots other than the goal.
“We looked a little bit tired and nervous at the end which is perhaps understandable as we’re bottom of the league and we had a bit of luck which we haven’t had much of this season.
“I wanted us to be a bit braver on the ball, but the most important thing is the three points.”
Crawley boss John Yems pulled no punches, describing their performance as ‘woeful’ after a third straight defeat.
He said: “It was disappointing. Let’s not dress it up, did we deserve something? No, we didn’t. I think they worked out that we were a soft bunch, we were woeful.
“We are becoming a weak side. We like to play football but you have to earn the right to do that in this division. We started well but then we let them grow into the game, especially in midfield.
“I thought we would have learned from last season when we didn’t take any points off the sides at the bottom but we clearly haven’t and it’s something we have to look at. We have to regroup and go again and if some of them don’t want to do that then we will look at other players.
“We had a couple of good chances to make it 3-2 but we didn’t so that’s it. It’s very disappointing and frustrating.”