Match report: Alfreton Town 0 Grimsby Town 2
LOAN rangers Scott Neilson and Ross Hannah were the Grimsby Town heroes at Alfreton as the Mariners bounced back in style.
Having lost at home to Dartford on Saturday, Town needed to get back to winning ways fast. And they did just that with a battling, professional performance in Derbyshire.
Joint bosses Paul Hurst and Rob Scott opted to mix things up following Saturday's first defeat in 11 – but not too much.
In fact, Anthony Elding's recall at the expense of fellow striker Andy Cook was the only change, with the matchday 16 remaining unaltered.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Former Mariners skipper Darran Kempson wore the captain's armband for the hosts, while one-time Town trialist Nathan Arnold was also in the Alfreton starting line-up at the Impact Arena.
Opposition boss Nicky Law was another familiar face for the travelling fans, having managed the Mariners in the Football League.
Anthony Wilson gave visiting keeper James McKeown an early scare, challenging for a bouncing ball before being called for a foul.
And the stopper had to be off his line quickly seconds later to beat Ben Tomlinson to a back-pass from Bradley Wood.
McKeown was called upon to dash out and clear again after Nathan Pond let a long ball drop and Arnold almost get there first.
However, the game's first shot on goal didn't arrive until the 15th minute when Arnold tested the Mariners keeper with a low drive from 25 yards.
Aswad Thomas was on hand to block an Alfreton shot in the box following a free-kick as the hosts continued to control the early stages.
Town were struggling to gain a foothold, but Hannah eased the pressure by winning a free-kick 25 yards from goal, which Thomas blasted into the wall.
And moments later the visitors might even have been ahead – Neilson latching onto a cross from the right wing, cutting back inside and testing Jon Stewart with a stinging effort.
As the game approached the half hour mark, it was clear it wasn't going to be a match to please the purists.
But Shaun Pearson's near post header – which flew narrowly wide from Town's first corner – kept the 572 Mariners fans behind the opposite goal entertained.
And they were cheering again when Ross Killock was the first man into the referee's notebook after a robust challenge on Joe Colbeck.
A heavy Alfreton back-pass forced keeper Stewart to slice a hasty clearance out for a Town corner.
And from the set-piece, Arnold broke at pace before playing a reverse pass for Dan Bradley. He was through on goal, but McKeown was out rapidly again to make a superb stop.
Tomlinson's effort was cleared off the line by Craig Disley as the hosts upped the pace in the run-up to half-time.
It was threatening to turn into a decent match – and it soon got even better for the Mariners.
Derek Niven sliced a shot from distance, which somehow turned into a perfect deep cross for Colbeck on the opposite side. The winger laid the ball back for Neilson and from just inside the Alfreton box, the other wideman planted a magnificent finish past a helpless Stewart and into the top left corner.
It was a rare moment of quality, but worth the 90-minute drive to Derbyshire – and took Town into the break a goal up.
The second half took ten minutes to produce an opportunity, before Colbeck forced Stewart into a smart save at his near post.
Thomas smashed a volley over the home crossbar five minutes later, before Kempson angered his former supporters by clattering into Hannah and earning a yellow card.
Hannah bounced back up and hammered a left-footed drive over the bar as the Mariners sensed a chance to double their lead.
But the hosts were still posing a danger, and Anthony Wilson was a whisker away from poking home Arnold's superb low cross, and Josh Law forced McKeown into a regulation stop from a free-kick.
Pearson then had to hack the ball clear off the line after a good, old-fashioned goal-mouth scramble.
The Mariners broke away moments later, but following Hannah's through ball, Elding over-hit his cross-shot to the frustration of his team-mates in the box.
Neilson kept Stewart honest with another long range effort, and Town should have had at least a free-kick on 77 minutes when Stewart appeared to handle outside his box following a clear back-pass from Kempson.
Neilson's excellent ball into Hannah presented the striker with a shooting chance, but his effort was deflected just wide of Stewart's near post.
But again the visitors were to be indebted to McKeown as the young keeper saved superbly as unmarked substitute Clayton bore down on his goal ten yards out.
Content to hold on to what they had, the Mariners were defending deeper and deeper as the match went into the final ten minutes.
But the pressure was relieved completely in the final minute as Disley held up the ball on the edge of the box and fed Hannah, whose finish from 15 yards was first-class.
McKeown had to parry another drive from distance before Neilson bent a left-footer over the bar at the opposite end.
But the second goal had killed off the hosts' chances and ensured an excellent three points for the Mariners.
Replay our live coverage below: