Two first-half goals sent Grimsby Town to defeat against Northampton Town.
The Mariners started well and created some good chances but fell behind when Scott Wharton’s header opened the scoring for the hosts.
Town initially responded well but again, were unable to take their opportunities and the hosts doubled their lead through striker Vadaine Oliver.
In interim manager Anthony Limbrick’s first league game in charge, his team looked to keep the ball on the ground where possible and played plenty of good football.
But despite some positive signs, they could not make enough of an impression in front of goal as the home side closed out the game.
Two changes were made to the Town starting XI after the midweek FA Cup defeat at Newport, with James Hanson and Harry Clifton coming in for Ahkeem Rose and the suspended Mattie Pollock.
James McKeown started in goal, with Elliott Hewitt, Harry Davis, Luke Waterfall and Liam Gibson forming the defence.
Clifton, Jake Hessenthaler and Ethan Robson were the midfielders, with Matt Green, Hanson and Jordan Cook in attack.
The substitutes were Sam Russell, Elliott Whitehouse, Rose, Harry Cardwell, Sebastian Ring, Moses Ogbu and Joe Starbuck.
Northampton occupied League Two’s final play-off place at kick-off and would look to the likes of Oliver and Sam Hoskins to get the goals to keep them there.
The Mariners had the first chance of the game in the second minute, when a flick by Hanson sent Hessenthaler away down the right. The midfielder took the ball towards the penalty area but could only shoot against the side-netting.
Hanson then shot wide as Town’s positive start continued, before the visitors survived a penalty shout and quickly counter-attacked, with Green being denied by home keeper David Cornell from close range.
A Northampton corner on 15 minutes was headed behind for another one by Waterfall and this time, it was eventually scrambled away by Davis.
Hessenthaler tried his luck from 20 yards after good hold-up play but his effort took a deflection and looped over the bar for a corner, which came to nothing.
A foul by Davis on Andy Williams gave the home side a free kick level with the right edge of the penalty area on 25 minutes. And it led to the opening goal, as Nicky Adams’ delivery to the far post was met by WHARTON, who guided a header beyond McKeown and into the net.
The hosts were on top after taking the lead and they had an opportunity to make it 2-0 on 35 minutes when a mistake by Cook in midfield led to Adams taking the ball forward and sliding it through for Oliver. McKeown did well though, coming off his line to make a good block.
Two minutes later, the Mariners created a chance but they were unable to take it, as Cook headed wide from Hessenthaler’s right-wing cross.
Another cross from Hessenthaler on the right found Hanson at the far post but his header back across goal proved too far ahead of Cook for him to capitalise.
But after Town showed signs of getting back into the game, they fell further behind four minutes bfore the break when a cross from the Northampton left was not dealt with and after a tussle with Waterfall, OLIVER eventually bundled the ball into the net.
Two added minutes were played at the end of the half, with the hosts taking a commanding two-goal lead into the dressing rooms at the interval.
No changes were made before the resstart and Northampton won the first corner of the second half two minutes in, which led to Paul Anderson smashing a shot high and wide from 25 yards.
Green was booked for a handball, with the home side continuing to ask most of the questions in the early stages of the half and McKeown called into action to make a save from a Hoskins volley.
Whitehouse replaced Robson in the first substitution of the game on 55 minutes, before a foul by Gibson gave Northampton a free kick on the right but Adams’ delivery was glanced wide by defender Charlie Goode.
Oliver was booked after putting the ball into the net after the game had already been stopped when he was caught offside.
A good strike by Hanson from 25 yards stung the palms of keeper Cornell, before Oliver headed straight at McKeown after being picked out by a cross from Adams.
Harry Smith replaced Williams for the home side on 67 minutes, with the Mariners sending Ogbu and Rose on for Green and Cook at the same time.
Jordan Turnbull hit a low shot from distance that took a deflection off Waterfall on its way out for a corner but the hosts were unable to do any further damage frrom the flag.
A foul on Whitehouse gave the Mariners a free kick in a central position on 72 minutes. Hessenthaler touched it to Ogbu before chipping a cross to Waterfall at the far post but nobody in black and white could profit after he headed it back across goal.
Oliver was replaced by Scott Pollock, then Clifton became the next to be shown the yellow card for pulling Chris Lines back.
Five added minutes were played at the end of the game but despite some promising signs throughout the game, Town were left to reflect on another defeat.
The Mariners are next in action on Tuesday, when Cheltenham Town are the visitors to Blundell Park for a rearranged league game.
Northampton Town: Cornell, Turnbull,Wharton,Goode (C),Hoskins, Adams, McCormack, Lines, Anderson, Williams. Oliver.
Subs: Arnold, Hall-Johnson, Harriman, Pollock, Watson, Smith, Warburton.
Town: McKeown (c), Hewitt, Davis, Waterfall, Gibson, Hessenthaler, Robson, Clifton, Cook, Hanson, Green.
Subs: Russell, Whitehouse, Rose, Cardwell, Ring, Ogbu, Starbuck.
Attendance: 5,211 (597)
Next Up: Cheltenham Town (H)