Leon Clarke scored against his former club to hand Steven Pressley victory in his first game as Coventry City manager.
Clarke scored twice for Scunthorpe against the Sky Blues when these sides met at the Ricoh Arena earlier in the season and struck the decisive blow again, this time in a City shirt.
He headed home in the 76th minute to secure a club record 11th away league win for the Sky Blues after Carl Baker had cancelled out Akpo Sodje’s eighth minute opener.
City made one change to the side that lost to Swindon last Saturday with William Edjenguele replacing Nathan Cameron in front of Joe Murphy.
Murphy received a fantastic ovation before kick-off as the home fans recognised his contribution to the two promotions he won with Scunthorpe and his qualities were required twice in the opening four minutes.
The Irishman had to be alert to beat away efforts from Kyle Hawley and Jimmy Ryan at his front post either side of an Andy Barcham shot dragged wide from 12 yards.
The keeper could do nothing with Scunthorpe’s opener however. Full back Eddie Nolan was given time to deliver a diagonal cross from the right and he picked out the unmarked Sodje, who headed in from six yards.
Hawley should have doubled the lead two minutes later but he struck the post from a tight angle after rounding Murphy.
City improved after this and managed to get Clarke into the game more, albeit as a provider rather than finisher.
James Bailey sent a left-footed half volley just over the bar after 25 minutes following a good lay-off by Clarke on the edge of the box before Nolan needed to produce a well-timed sliding challenge to prevent Gary McSheffrey latching onto the striker’s excellent through ball.
Franck Moussa provided City with a spark five minutes before the break when he drove through the midfield, and away from three challenges, but his low shot from 25 yards went inches wide.
City’s good response to going behind was rewarded moments before the break however. Baker shaped one way then another on the corner of the 18-yard box before firing a shot into the crowded penalty area that was deflected past the keeper.
The visitors carried this momentum into the second half as Carl Dickinson and McSheffrey both hit the target after good build-up play in the opening ten minutes – but on both occasions they were straight at the keeper.
Clarke had the ball in the net on the hour when he met Dickinson’s deep cross. But there was no flag to deny him 16 minutes later.
McSheffrey did well to chase and collect a second ball and delivered a fine cross from the left that the former Scunthrope striker attacked with purpose and powered home with his head.
Ryan thought he had leveled five minutes from time but his well-struck shot brought a fantastic reflex save from Murphy. The keeper was required again in the last minute as Scunthrope piled men forward and he held Nolan’s shot at the second attempt – as City held on.
Scunthorpe United (4-4-2): Johansen; Nolan, Mirfin, Reid, Newey; Duffy, Ryan, Collins, Barcham (Jennings 86); Sodje (Alabi 73), Hawley.
Subs not used: Severen, Ribeiro, Walker, Grella, Canavan.
Sky Blues (4-4-1-1): Murphy; Christie, Martin, Edjenguele, Dickinson; Baker (Willis 90), Bailey, Jennings, McSheffrey (Fleck 76); Moussa; L Clarke.
Subs not used: Dunn, Thomas, Bell, McDonald, Stewart.
Referee: Tony Bates (Staffordshire)