Two spectacular goals from John McAtee and Jordan Maguire-Drew got Grimsby Town back to winning ways as they beat Altrincham at Blundell Park.
The Mariners dominated the contest and after missing chances in the first half, they broke the deadlock just after half-time when McAtee struck a stunning 20-yard volley past keeper Tony Thompson.
And the hosts made sure of the points 12 minutes from time when Jordan Maguire-Drew curled the ball into the top corner of the net from 25 yards to end a run of games without a win dating back to November and move back to within three points of the play-off places.
New signings Andy Smith and Danny Amos came straight into the Town starting XI after joining the club since the defeat at Halifax in midweek, while fellow new boy Scott Burgess was named on the bench.
Smith and Amos formed two of the three changes to the line-up, with Giles Coke replacing the suspended Harry Clifton.
Max Crocombe continued in goal, with Smith, Shaun Pearson, Luke Waterfall and Danny Amos forming the defence. Maguire-Drew, Ben Fox, Coke and Erico Sousa were the midfielders, with McAtee supporting Ryan Taylor in attack.
Burgess was joined among the substitutes by Max Wright, David Longe-King, Evan Khouri and Joel Grant.
Altrincham arrived in Cleethorpes with a similar recent record to the Mariners, with Phil Parkinson’s men looking for a first win in 10 games. They were also aiming to move up the National League table from the 16th position they occupied at kick-off.
The visitors won the first corner on two minutes after Crocombe came off his line to block former Scunthorpe winger Ryan Colclough, although the ball from the flag was comfortably cleared.
Smith did well to get back and put in a challenge to deny Jordan Hulme after the striker appeared to have an opening in front of goal, before a long-range effort by Fox was blocked at the other end.
Dan Mooney dragged a low shot wide of the far post from the Altrincham right, then a good build-up down the Grimsby left saw McAtee cross for Taylor, whose flick was deflected wide for a corner.
Maguire-Drew won another corner on the right on 20 minutes but visiting goalkeeper Tony Thompson got to the ball from it ahead of Waterfall.
Another chance came a minute later when Sousa’s cross from the left was met by Fox but he could only head over the bar.
A foul on Sousa gave the Mariners a free kick near the left corner flag on 24 minutes but Maguire-Drew’s ball was headed clear. Town retained possession and they eventually won another corner, this time on the left. Maguire-Drew’s ball was headed clear as far as Fox but his return cross was too strong and led to a goal kick.
Taylor was then denied by the advancing Thompson after a nice through-ball from Fox, with the hosts now dominating as the half-hour mark approached.
Sousa fired high and wide from 25 yards after good play by McAtee on the left, before a foul on McAtee by Altrincham captain Jake Moult brought another home free-kick. Waterfall was unable to connect with Maguire-Drew’s delivery into the penalty area.
McAtee was caught offside twice as Town continued to take the game to their visitors, before an Amos cross went straight into Thompson’s arms at the near post.
Altrincham had posed little threat so far but they had an opportunity in the last minute of the half when Colclough cut in from the left. He could not make it count though, instead shooting at Crocombe.
One added minute was played and a Town corner saw Thompson push Waterfall’s header over the bar for another one. This time, Maguire-Drew’s delivery was met by Pearson but his downward header was eventually scrambled clear.
That meant it remained goalless at half-time, with the Mariners on top but so far, unable to make a breakthrough.
No changes were made before the restart and Sousa won an early corner on the left. From it, Town took the lead as Maguire-Drew’s ball was headed out as far as McATEE, who struck it sweetly to send a stunning volley past Thompson and into the net at the Pontoon end.
Maguire-Drew was unable to get a good enough connection on a low Amos cross to seriously trouble the keeper as the hosts immediately looked to add to their lead, before Mooney curled an effort well wide at the other end.
Coke set off on a promising run through the middle on 52 minutes but was muscled off the ball before he could reach the box.
A foul on Fox by Moult gave Town a free-kick midway inside the Altrincham half but Taylor could not seriously trouble Thompson after Maguire-Drew’s ball broke for him.
A foul by Waterfall on the halfway line gave the visitors an opportunity to attack and they managed to create some danger from it but the ball was eventually cleared by Coke.
McAtee fired wide from distance just before the hour after doing well to win and retain the ball, then he went closer after meeting a Maguire-Drew cross with a shot which was pushed away for a corner by Thompson.
A-Jay Leitch-Smith replaced Hulme in the Altrincham attack on 64 minutes, before another Town corner led to the ball being headed off the line.
Wright was sent on in place of Sousa in Town’s first change two minutes later and the substitute’s first involvement was to send over a cross from the left which eventually led to McAtee shooting wide.
A low cross from Wright proved just too far ahead of Maguire-Drew at the far post, then former Mariners loanee Ben Pringle was introduced in place of Mooney.
Pearson was in the right place to intercept and clear after a ball into the box from Leitch-Smith as Altrincham launched a rare attack, with Crocombe remaining untroubled in the Town goal.
A Maguire-Drew corner was headed over the bar by Pearson, before Kevin Bercoe replaced left-back Andy White in Altrincham’s final substitution.
Town had dominated the contest and with eight minutes to go, they made sure of the points. MAGUIRE-DREW was the man to make it 2-0 as he got the ball 25 yards out, looked up and sent a brilliant curling shot beyond Thompson and into the top corner of the net.
Burgess was sent on for his Town debut in place of McAtee after the goal, before Khouri replaced Maguire-Drew with two minutes to go.
Four added minutes were played at the end of the game and the Mariners closed out the remainder of the game to cap an excellent performance with a clean sheet and all three points.
Town are next in action on Saturday, when Bromley are the visitors to Blundell Park.