More of Grimsby Town’s squad were given valuable minutes of playing time in the build-up to the new season as the Mariners travelled to Boston United for their latest friendly.
The game against the National League North Pilgrims came 24 hours after the home victory over Lincoln City in which all but one of the starting XI played the full 90 minutes.
That meant the match at the Jakemans Community Stadium represented an opportunity for those who did not feature against the Imps to play a full game, with some of the club’s youth team players also given their chance to impress.
Town took the lead against the run of play when Cameron Gardner opened the scoring, before a Michael Bostwick own-goal doubled the visitors’ advantage.
But Boston hit back after the break as half-time substitute Oliver Wilson halved the deficit within 30 seconds of the restart, then fellow home sub Kelsey Mooney grabbed the equaliser on the hour.
The hosts went on to complete the turnaround when Mooney scored his second goal of the game to give them a 3-2 victory.
Harvey Cartwright started in goal for Town, with Aaron Braithwaite, Luke Waterfall, Jamie Bramwell and Danny Amos forming the defence. Harvey Tomlinson, Gavan Holohan, Kieran Green and Evan Khouri were the midfielders, with Edwin Essel and Gardner leading the attack. Will Mitchell, Cameron Walsh, Shakeel Brown and Billy Bradley were all named as substitutes.
Boston named former Mariners defender Zak Mills among a strong starting XI captained by ex-Lincoln City and Stevenage centre-back Bostwick.
Cartwright came off his line to make a block from Jimmy Knowles as the home side created the first opening two minutes in, then Mills beat Amos down the right but his low cross was cleared.
Knowles headed wide as Boston’s promising start to the game continued but when the first goal arrived on 10 minutes, it was the Mariners who took the lead from their first attempt of the evening as GARDNER beat home keeper Cameron Gregory with a low strike from the edge of the penalty area.
Gardner fired wide from 25 yards after linking up well with Essel on 19 minutes, then Knowles won a corner for the hosts when his low pull-back was turned behind, although the ball from the flag caused no problems.
Town had another chance on 24 minutes when Essel did well to chase down a short back-pass and take the ball around the keeper but when it eventually fell for Khouri, he could only lift it over the bar.
The Mariners did not have to wait much longer to double their lead though, as a mix-up in the home defence from a cross towards Tomlinson led to Bostwick heading past Gregory for an own-goal.
Keziah Martin tried his luck with a shot from distance as Boston looked for a way back into the game before half-time but his strike flew over the bar.
Town ended the half strongly and Holohan saw a shot blocked after a low ball from Khouri on the left.
No further chances came before the half-time whistle, so the Mariners went in 2-0 up at the break.
Boston made two changes before the restart, with Mooney and Wilson replacing Knowles and Michael Gyasi.
And within 25 seconds of the restart, they were back in the contest as WILSON made an instant impact, running onto a through-ball and confidently slotting past Cartwright to make it 2-1.
Wilson almost grabbed an equaliser on 49 minutes when he went clear through the middle. Again, he beat Cartwright but this time, his shot went just over the bar.
Green was unable to hit the target with a header from an Amos free kick as Town aimed to restore their two-goal cushion, then Boston made a further two substitutions just before the hour as Keaton Ward and Martin Woods replaced Tom Edge and Sam McLintock.
Soon afterwards, the hosts were level when MOONEY beat Cartwright to a cross from the left to head home.
Essel went close to snatching the lead back for the Mariners as he got to a cross first but a deflection on his header took it just wide for a corner.
Cartwright had to be alert at the other end soon afterwards when Martin slid a ball through for Mooney but the Hull City loanee did well to race off his line and get to it first.
Town were given an opportunity to create danger on 67 minutes with a free kick after Green went down 25 yards out. Holohan shot from it but Gregory pushed the ball away from goal, then Amos fired wide from distance seconds later.
Cartwright made an excellent save to deny Mooney after a quick break as the game moved from end to end, with both teams looking for a winner.
But Boston had looked the more dangerous of the two sides since the interval and with 75 minutes on the clock, they completed the turnaround when MOONEY found the net with a low shot.
Brown replaced Tomlinson in Town’s first change and Gardner had the away side’s next chance but his curling strike was off-target.
Wilson had an opportunity to extend Boston’s lead when he met a long throw but his flicked header bounced just wide.
That proved to be the last chance of the game as the Mariners fell to defeat and attention will now turn to Saturday’s final pre-season friendly, away to Fleetwood Town, before the start of the Sky Bet League Two campaign on August 5.