Leon Clarke made it 10 goals in 12 games to give Scunthorpe a crucial win at fellow strugglers Coventry.
The Sky Blues took the lead through Carl Baker's well-struck free-kick.
Clarke levelled for the Iron from the spot after he had tangled with home defender Richard Wood in the area.
The visitors went in front when Clarke slotted in before Scunthorpe keeper Steve Mildenhall showed terrific reactions to keep out efforts from Baker and Roy O'Donovan.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Coventry boss Mark Robins told BBC Coventry and Warwickshire:
"I don't think we did enough to win but I don't think we deserved to lose it either.
"It's basic individual mistakes again that undo us and cost us; it's absolutely ridiculous.
"It was bitty and none of it was pretty. There was some decent play from us.
"Today I expected to have a really professional good performance but it didn't transpire. We didn't look like we meant business. We had enough chances to win the game, but we didn't get into it."
Scunthorpe United manager Brian Laws told BBC Radio Humberside:
"We've been working on the shape, and how the wide men were too wide, exposing the midfield so we've gone back to basics again.
"We're getting them to feel proud on the pitch and enjoy the game, it's not rocket science really.
"The players have got to buy into it as well, and sometimes the only way players buy into things is when they see the rewards."