Grimsby Town got back to winning ways at the first time of asking as they beat Newport County in an entertaining contest at Blundell Park.
After defeat at league-leaders Swindon on Saturday, the Mariners were on the front foot straight away and took the lead in the first minute through Bradley Garmston’s first goal for the club.
Newport struck back through striker Jordan Green but Town had their lead back before half-time as Josh Benson scored from a superb free kick.
James Hanson’s volley made it 3-1 but the visitors got themselves back into the game when former Grimsby favourite Padraig Amond, on as a substitute, scored to halve the deficit.
But any home nerves were settled when Max Wright scored a fourth to put the result beyond doubt.
Town boss Ian Holloway made four changes to the side that started the game at Swindon, with Garmston, Elliott Hewitt, Harry Clifton and James Tilley all coming in as Luke Hendrie, Anthony Glennon, Elliot Grandin and Billy Clarke made way.
James McKeown began in goal, with Hewitt, Mattie Pollock, Luke Waterfall and Garmston in defence.
Elliott Whitehouse, Clifton and Benson were the midfielders, with Tilley, Hanson and Charles Vernam in attack.
The Grimsby substitutes were Glennon, Clarke, Grandin, Ludvig Ohman, Matt Green, Max Wright and Sam Russell.
Newport started the game one place ahead of their hosts in the League Two table and were aiming to build on Saturday’s home victory over Bradford.
Their side included former Mariners loanee Jamille Matt, although Amond had to be content with a place on the bench.
Town made the perfct start to the game as they were ahead within a minute of kick-off. A good pass by Whitehouse sent Vernam away ddown the left and he cut inside and let fly with a low shot. Newport keeper Tom King couldn’t hold it and GARMSTON was first to the loose ball to finish frrom close range.
The visitors reacted well to falling behind, with an attack down the right looking dangerous as Robbie Willmott crossed but Matt could not get on the end of it.
Grimsby’s next opportunity came on seven minutes and saw Hewitt cross from the right for Hanson but the striker’s header went wide.
But the next time Newport went forward, they got themselves back on level terms. After a counter-attack, a ball across the penalty area from Matt found GREEN at the far post and he had the simple task of putting it into the net.
The hosts were inches away from getting their advantage back on 14 minutes when good play down the left by Tilley and Vernam led to the ball being played back to Benson but his 20-yard drive crashed back off the bar.
A run down the left by Vernam on 20 minutes led to him sending a low cross over but the ball was cleared before it could reach anybody in black and white.
Newport captain Josh Sheehan was the next to have a shooting chance after another attack down the right, although McKeown got down to comfortably stop his low shot from the edge of the box.
Hanson was booked for a foul just before the half-hour, joining Whitehouse in the referee’s notebook after he was shown the yellow card earlier in the game after being spoken to by the referee at length.
Another run by Vernam down the left led to Town’s next chance as he beat Willlmott and drove towards the penalty area before pulling the ball back across the six-yard line. Tilley connected with it at the near post but could only turn it wide for a goal kick.
At the other end, there was a chance for the visitors to take the lead when a free kick was not dealt with and the ball fell for Matt. He could not capitalise though, turning and firing over the bar.
Defender Scot Bennett was shown the yellow card for bringing Vernam down 25 yards from goal as the striker looked to run onto a through-ball on 40 minutes. And from the resulting free kick, the Mariners reclaimed the lead as BENSON stepped up to curl the ball over the wall and into the corner of the net.
Whitehouse and Vernam combined well down the left two minutes later but the midfielder’s cross was caught by King, who had at first appeared to slip.
Four added minutes were played at the end of the first half and a shot by Sheehan for Newport in the second of them flashed wide of the far post.
George Nurse then fired well over the bar as the visitors kept looking for an equaliser before half-time but it was not to come and the Mariners held a narrow lead at the interval.
Amond replaced Matt and Joss Labadie was sent on in place of Ryan Inniss as the visitors made a double substitution before the restart.
The first chance of the second half came nine minutes in as Green tried his luck from 20 yards but although the shot beat the dive of McKeown, it also flew wide of the target.
A foul on Labadie gave the away side a free kick midway inside the Town half on 58 minutes but Mansfield loanee Otis Khan’s long-range shot was comfortably stopped by the keeper.
Green replaced Whitehouse in Town’s first change a minute later, before Labadie side-footed wide after good work by Newport’s Green down the left.
Soon afterwards though, the Mariners extended their lead. Clifton set off on a run through midfield before finding Tilley. He saw an effort blocked but the ball went into the path of HANSON, who struck a volley into the bottom corner of the net.
Hanson was replaced by Wright on 66 minutes but two minutes later, the away side were back in the contest as a long-range shot from Dale Gorman was saved by McKeown but AMOND was in the right place to slot the rebound home.
Tristan Abrahams came on for Green in Newport’s final substitution as they looked for an equaliser.
Labadie was booked after kicking out in frustration when he was caught in a challenge, before the final Grimsby change saw Clarke come on in place of Vernam.
Tilley sent a shot just over the bar from distance on 78 minutes, then a chance came for the visitors after a neat build-up in and around the penalty area. Khan could not apply a finish though as McKeown came out to block him before gathering the loose ball.
Newport had been pushing for an equaliser but their hopes were dashed once and for all when Town scored a fourth goal with six minutes to go. Good work by Clarke saw him get to the edge of the box and after the ball was played back to WRIGHT, his shot took a deflection and looped into the top corner.
Three added minutes were played at the end of the game before the Mariners were able to celebrate what had been an excellent victory.
Town are at home again on Saturday, when Northampton Town are the visitors to Blundell Park.
- James McKeown (C)
- Elliott Hewitt
- Bradley Garmston
- Luke Waterfall
- Matthew Pollock
- Josh Benson
- Harry Clifton
- Elliott Whitehouse
- James Hanson
- James Tilley
- Charles Vernam
- Sam Russell
- Anthony Driscoll-Glennon
- Ludvig Öhman
- Elliot Grandin
- Max Wright
- Billy Clarke
- Matt Green
- Tom King
- Mickey Demetriou
- Scot Bennett
- Ryan Inniss
- Robbie Willmott
- George Nurse
- Dale Gorman
- Otis Khan
- Josh Sheehan (C)
- Jamille Matt
- Jordan Green
- Ryan Haynes
- Kyle Howkins
- Lewis Collins
- Matthew Dolan
- Joss Labadie
- Tristan Abrahams
- Padraig Amond
Referee: Seb Stockbridge
Attendance: 3578 (33)
Possession: Town 51%-49% County
Next Up: Northampton Town (H)