Two first-half goals sent Grimsby Town to defeat as League Two leaders Newport County won at Blundell Park.
Scott Twine opened the scoring with a free kick, before former Mariners striker Padraig Amond doubled the visitors’ advantage from the penalty spot.
Town played some good football and were almost back in the contest when substitute Owen Windsor rattled the bar from a free kick but they otherwise rarely threatened the Newport goal and were left with a fourth home loss of the season in the league.
Four changes were made to the Grimsby starting line-up following the 2-1 defeat at Colchester on Saturday, with captain James McKeown among those to come out of the XI as Sam Russell was selected in goal.
Harry Clifton, Terry Taylor and Montel Gibson were the others to come into the team as Danny Preston, Sean Scannell and Windsor missed out.
Russell was protected by a defence of Luke Hendrie, Mattie Pollock, Luke Waterfall and Clifton, while Hewitt and Taylor joined Danny Rose in midfield as Kyle Bennett, Gibson and Owura Edwards formed the attack.
McKeown and Windsor were both named on the bench, along with Joe Starbuck, Evan Khouri, Duncan Idehen, James Morton and George Williams.
Newport were looking to extend their lead at the top of the table to four points with a win and they named an experienced starting line-up which included former Blundell Park favourite Amond and veteran striker Kevin Ellison.
A chance for the visitors came in the first minute of the game when a free kick from Robbie Willmott on the right was met by captain Joss Labadie. Town survived though, as his header came back off the far post.
The home side’s first attack of note came on seven minutes and saw Edwards set off on a run through the middle from near halfway, although after reaching the edge of the box, he was unable to find Bennett and the ball was cleared.
Gibson had an opportunity soon afterwards after a ball from Hewitt but he could not hit the target as his shot went wide of the near post.
Town’s first corner came as the game hit the 10-minute mark and after Bennett’s initial near-post delivery was half-cleared, the ball was worked back to him and a better cross to the far post was headed behind for another corner.
Newport created a good opportunity on 20 minutes after Willmott released Liam Shepgard down the right. His low ball found Twine on the edge of the penalty area but he could only shoot just wide.
Hendrie became the first of the evening to be shown the yellow card following a foul on Ryan Haines, who had cut inside from the Newport left. And from the resulting free kick, the visitors took the lead as TWINE’S shot from 30 yards deflected off the Town wall and beat Russell.
The Mariners response saw them win a corner through Clifton on the left but Bennett’s delivery was headed clear.
Twine was given the opportunity to try his luck from another long-range free kick on the half-hour but this time, his shot was more central and Russell got down to stop it.
A Hendrie cross on 36 minutes was flicked away from danger as Gibson looked to pounce and the ball went out for a throw-in.
Another 25-yard free kick from Twine was gathered by Russell as half-time started to loom.
But the visitors were given a golden chance to double their lead as the game moved into two minutes of added time when Twine was brought down inside the box by Rose. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and AMOND made no mistake from 12 yards.
That put the league-leaders in control at the break, leaving the Mariners with much to do if they were to get anything from the game.
Windsor replaced Rose before the restart and Town began brightly, with Edwards winning a free kick after he was fouled in a central position four minutes in. From it, Windsor was inches away from halving the deficit but his superb strike cannoned off the crossbar.
Taylor was booked for a foul on the Newport right and the free kick led to a corner after a dangerous ball into the box had been flicked on. The flag-kick was played to Twine but he could only send it out for a goal kick.
A Hendrie cross was headed clear after a spell of Town possession as the hosts looked for a way back into the game.
Bennett then saw his free kick headed clear, before a ball from Windsor out to the right proved too far ahead of Edwards.
Waterfall had to clear off the line after Brandon Cooper met a cross from the right at the far post to head it back across goal on 63 minutes, then Twine fired just wide with a first-time effort after a free kick from the left was headed down.
A foul on Labadie inside the centre circle earned Waterfall a booking and before the free kick was taken, Tristan Abrahams replaced Ellison and Scott Bennett came on for Labadie.
Abrahams narrowly failed to get on the end of a great cross from the left, before a first-time volley from Amond landed on the roof of the net as Newport pressed for a third goal.
Williams replaced Edwards for Town on 71 minutes, then Starbuck came on for Gibson three minutes later.
An intelligent throw-in from Willmott gave Josh Sheehan a shooting chance but the midfielder’s low effort from 20 yards went just wide of the target.
Town were playing some good football but struggling to find a breakthrough and a nice attacking move on 78 minutes ended when a cross from Starbuck went over the bar.
A curling shot from Clifton was caught by Newport keeper Nick Townsend, before Taylor limped off with an injury and was replaced by Morton. Former Town loanee Jamie Devitt came on for Amond for the visitors at the same time.
Four added minutes were played at the end of the game and Newport saw the remainder of the contest out to extend their advantage at the top of the league.
The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when Mansfield Town are the visitors to Blundell Park.
- Sam Russell
- Luke Hendrie
- Harry Clifton
- Luke Waterfall (C)
- Matthew Pollock
- Danny Rose
- Terry Taylor
- Elliott Hewitt
- Montel Gibson
- Owura Edwards
- Kyle Bennett
- James McKeown
- Duncan Idehen
- Evan Khouri
- James Morton
- Joseph Starbuck
- George Williams
- Owen Windsor
- Nick Townsend
- Liam Shephard
- Ryan Haynes
- Brandon Cooper
- Mickey Demetriou
- Josh Sheehan
- Robbie Willmott
- Joss Labadie (C)
- Scott Twine
- Kevin Ellison
- Padraig Amond
- Tom King
- Scot Bennett
- David Longe-King
- Jamie Devitt
- Matthew Dolan
- Tristan Abrahams
- Jamie Proctor
Referee: Anthony Backhouse
Next Up: Mansfield Town (H)