Grimsby Town’s run of games without a win reached 10 as they were beaten by Colchester United.
The home side dominated for long periods of the first half and got themselves ahead through Frank Nouble.
But they were unable to add to their advantage and Town improved after the break, albeit without seriously threatening the Colchester goal.
And as the hosts closed out the game to claim all three points, the Mariners were reduced to 10 men as Danny Collins picked up two quickfire yellow cards in stoppage time.
One change was made to the Town side after the draw at Morecambe last week, with Reece Hall-Johnson coming into the team in place of Sebastian Ring.
James McKeown started in goal, with Luke Hendrie, Harry Davis, Collins and Hall-Johnson forming a back four.
Charles Vernam, Martyn Woolford, Jake Hessenthaler and Joe Grayson were the midfielders, with Harry Cardwell and Kristian Dennis in attack.
There was a first call-up to the first team squad for youth team midfielder Jock Curran as he began on the bench alongside Harry Clifton, Ahkeem Rose, Alex Whitmore, Rumarn Burrell, Matty Pollock and Sam Russell.
Colchester had seen their promotion hopes fade in recent weeks as they dropped out of the play-off places but would be looking for a win which could keep their hopes of getting back into the end-of-season top seven alive.
Grayson fired the first shot of the game over the bar on two minutes, before McKeown collected an overhit pass by Nouble at the other end after he had attempted to slide the ball to Sammie Szmodics.
Courtney Senior’s shot was saved by McKeown on five minutes and the home side also had the next opportunity seven minutes later when a foul by Woolford gave them a free kick in a dangerous position. Brennan Dickenson’s shot was pushed clear by the Town keeper for a corner, which was cleared off the line by Grayson after Tom Eastman’s goalbound header.
The hosts were on top and they went close again on 14 minutes when Senior’s shot came back off the inside of the post, before an attempt by Sam Saunders was blocked for a corner.
Senior smashed a shot over the bar after beating Woolford and getting the ball back from Nouble.
But soon afterwards, the home side did take the lead when Woolford lost possession and the ball was squared by Szmodics for NOUBLE to roll into the net with 25 minutes on the clock.
Colchester’s dominance continued as they won a corner two minutes later but after the ball from the flag was half-cleared, Frankie Kent hit a shot which was deflected through to McKeown.
Szmodics was blocked by McKeown on 34 minutes and the ball was scrambled away before it could reach Nouble.
Hall-Johnson became the first to be booked after a foul on Senior on the edge of the penalty area soon afterwards and after the initial delivery failed to cause a problem, Kane Vincent-Young eventually shot at the keeper.
Vernam did well to make ground and keep possession before being fouled midway inside the Colchester half on 40 minutes. Grayson’s resulting free kick was headed on by Collins before being cleared.
Dennis was shown a yellow card for an attempted trip on Szmodics as he brought the home side clear of danger before finding Ryan Jackson, who fired over the bar.
One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, the Mariners went in at the interval a goal down.
Clifton and Rose were sent on in place of Woolford and Grayson as Town boss Michael Jolley made a double substitution before the restart.
Hessenthaler had to head off the line after Kent’s overhead strike from a corner as the home side were the first to attack.
Vernam won a corner on 56 minutes but it failed to cause any problems as the ball eventually went out for a throw-in.
Another corner came three minutes later but again, there was no threat to the Colchester goal from it.
But the Town pressure continued with a good ball from Rose to Hall-Johnson on the left. His cross was punched away by home keeper Dillon Barnes, before Vernam looked to find Clifton instead of going for goal.
A cross from Clifton was caught by Barnes after the keeper got to it ahead of Cardwell, before Clifton was booked for a late challenge on Tom Lapslie.
Dickenson was replaced by Mikael Mandron for Colchester on 70 minutes as the home side made their first change.
Rose created an opportunity five minutes later when he was fouled on the edge of the box but Hessenthaler’s delivery from it did not find a team-mate. Lapslie was booked for the challenge on Rose.
Abo Eisa came on in place of Senior for the last 11 minutes, before Ryan Jackson became the latest to go into the referee’s notebook as he was yellow-carded for a foul on Rose.
McKeown made a good save to deny Szmodics from close range after he had got the ball from Sam Saunders.
Eisa then hit the side-netting as Colchester looked for a second goal which would put the result beyond doubt.
A free kick from Saunders went off-target as he looked to catch McKeown off his line from distance, before Burrell came on for Hall-Johnson and Szmodics made way for Ben Stevenson as both sides made a further change with the game moving into three added minutes.
Collins was booked in the second of the additional minutes and it was to get worse for the defender as he was shown another one a minute later after a foul following a mistake by McKeown, meaning Town had to play the final few seconds wih 10 men.
In fact, the red card proved to be the last meaningful action of the game as the Mariners slipped to defeat and reached double figures for games without a win.
They are next in action on Easter Monday, when Carlisle United are the visitors to Blundell Park.
1 Dillon Barnes
2 Ryan Jackson
22 Kane Vincent-Young
18 Tom Eastman
6 Frankie Kent (C)
36 Sam Saunders
7 Courtney Senior
4 Tom Lapslie
10 Sammie Szmodics
11 Brennan Dickenson
45 Frank Nouble
29 Ethan Ross
35 Ollie Kensdale
27 Noah Chilvers
39 Abobaker Eisa
24 Ben Stevenson
19 Mikael Mandron
9 Luke Norris
1 James McKeown
27 Luke Hendrie
2 Reece Hall-Johnson
24 Harry Davis
6 Danny Collins (C)
7 Jake Hessenthaler
18 Charles Vernam
16 Martyn Woolford
14 Joe Grayson
8 Kristian Dennis
17 Harry Cardwell
23 Sam Russell
31 Matthew Pollock
25 Alex Whitmore
15 Harry Clifton
30 Jock Curran
29 Rumarn Burrell
21 Ahkeem Rose
Attendance: 3,677 (323)
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
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