Grimsby Town came from behind to earn an impressive win on the road against promotion-chasing Northampton Town.
The Mariners found themselves a goal down at the break after the Cobblers’ leading scorer Sam Hoskins put them ahead.
But the visitors grew in confidence after the break and got themselves level 16 minutes from time when Luke Waterfall headed Josh Emmanuel’s cross past keeper Tom King.
And Emmanuel was the provider again as he crossed for substitute Anthony Glennon to head the winner in added time, in front of the 895 jubilant travelling fans.
Four changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI after the midweek defeat at Gillingham, with Owen Gallacher making his first start for the club and Emmanuel, Danny Amos and Danilo Orsi all coming back into the team in place of Michee Efete, Andy Smith, Glennon and George Lloyd.
Max Crocombe started in goal, with Emmanuel, Waterfall, Niall Maher and Amos forming a back four. Harry Clifton, Gavan Holohan, Bryn Morris and Gallacher were the midfielders, with John McAtee supporting Orsi in attack.
There was a welcome return to the matchday squad for Ryan Taylor as he was named on the bench after recovering from injury. He was joined among the substitutes by Efete, Smith, Glennon, Lloyd, Alex Hunt and Mikey O’Neill.
Northampton were looking to climb into Sky Bet League Two’s automatic promotion places by avoiding defeat in this early kick-off, although manager Jon Brady was without former Mariners midfielder Ben Fox after he picked up an injury in their midweek goalless draw with AFC Wimbledon.
The home side went into the game as one of the division’s top scorers with 43 league goals, with Hoskins responsible for 16 of them and aiming to add to his tally.
An early shot by midfielder Marc Leonard from distance was parried by Crocombe, before Orsi lifted an effort over the bar from Town’s first chance after Clifton had charged down a clearance.
Gallacher then forced keeper King into a save with a drive from inside the box after McAtee had done well to win the ball. That led to the game’s first corner on the Grimsby left and it eventually brought another one on the opposite side of the pitch. This time, it was played short to Clifton but his cross was headed clear.
Clifton was caught offside as Town looked to launch an attack through the middle, then Amos was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon on 15 minutes for pulling back Mitch Pinnock on the Northampton right. Hoskins took the resulting free kick but his delivery into the box was too strong for Ali Koiki, who could only head the ball out for a throw-in.
Gallacher showed persistence to chase the ball down and slide to prod it past the onrushing King on the edge of the box at the other end, although it was then cleared from danger.
And seconds later, the hosts were ahead when Louis Appere chased the ball down on the left and looked up before pulling it back for HOSKINS to finish from close range.
Hoskins was involved again on 20 minutes when he got to a cross from Koiki but his header lacked power and Crocombe claimed a catch.
A stoppage came for midfielder Jack Sowerby to receive treatment after staying down, although he was passed fit to continue.
Town won a corner on the left when a cross from Gallacher was headed up in the air and then behind. Amos’ ball from the flag was met by Waterfall at the far post but his header missed the target.
A foul on Gallacher gave the Mariners another opportunity to attack with a free kick 10 yards inside the Northampton half, although it did not lead to a chance in front of goal.
A long throw from Pinnock was headed away by Morris, before Maher was adjudged to have fouled Hoskins near the halfway line on 34 minutes. The free kick found its way to Appere on the right but he was unable to win a corner.
Emmanuel was booked when he pulled Koiki down after being beaten for pace by the home winger. Pinnock’s ball into the box from the free kick found Jon Guthrie but he could only send it through to Crocombe.
A Town penalty appeal came at the other end soon afterwards when a shot by Orsi appeared to be blocked by an arm on its way out of play. The referee was not interested in the protests and instead pointed for a corner, which led to a free kick for a foul on King.
The away side were given a handball decision on 40 minutes, although this time, it was a free kick inside the centre circle. Clifton played it short to McAtee, whose chip to the edge of the box was headed away.
Another free kick came when McAtee was brought down on the right just before the half moved into three added minutes. Amos took it but Maher was unable to turn the ball back towards goal at the far post.
No further opportunities came for either side before the half-time whistle, with Town going in a goal down at the break. Overall, it had been an even first 45 minutes of few genuine chances but the hosts had taken theirs when it came.
Efete and Lloyd replaced Amos and Orsi as the Mariners made a double-substitution before the restart and they went close to an equaliser almost immediately when McAtee got the ball inside the Northampton half. He made progress through the middle before letting fly from distance with King off his line but the shot flew just over the bar.
The away side’s positive opening to the second half continued with a free kick from Morris on the right and from it, they kept possession until a low strike by McAtee from the left rolled inches wide of the far post.
Crocombe got down to stop a shot by Harvey Lintott in the hosts’ first attack of note since the interval, then a push by Holohan gave them a free kick on the left but it was cleared. Town broke through Clifton and then McAtee but the attack was stopped by the offside flag.
Gallacher needed treatment after going down just before the hour and although he initially played on, he was soon replaced by Glennon.
Crocombe got down to hold a 20-yard free kick from Hoskins, then a strike by Koiki was deflected wide for a corner on the home left but the ball from the flag was dealt with.
Waterfall slid in to make a great block from Hoskins as the hosts continued to up the tempo in search of a second goal, before a foul on Lloyd gave Town an opportunity to put some pressure on at the other end. Glennon played the free kick into the box but nobody could send it towards goal and a Northampton counter-attack down the right led to a corner, which was headed clear by Waterfall.
A cross from Emmanuel was headed away, then a foul on Glennon brought a free kick on the Town left, midway inside the Northampton half, and from it, the Mariners were back on level terms. The initial delivery from Glennon was headed away but Emmanuel showed great skill to turn his man on the right and work the space for a cross. His chip towards the far post picked out WATERFALL, who powered a header into the net.
The home side immediately attacked in a bid to snatch their lead back but two great blocks in quick succession kept them out.
A Northampton triple-substitution then came on 78 minutes, with Will Hondermarck, Shaun McWilliams and Josh Eppiah all sent on as Sowerby, Pinnock and Appere made way.
Town had grown further in confidence since the goal and now looked the more likely of the two sides to take all three points, as Glennon almost connected with another good cross from Emmanuel, before O’Neill replaced Morris in the visitors’ latest change.
A cross from Hoskins on the home left was swept away for a corner but Waterfall jumped to deal with the ball from the flag.
Another corner followed soon afterwards, this time on the right, and a shot from Leonard was blocked by Maher.
The fourth official signalled six added minutes to be played at the end of the game and in the second of them, the Mariners completed the turnaround. Again, Emmanuel was the architect as he beat Koiki down the right and this time, his cross was met by GLENNON to head home in front of the away supporters.
Taylor came on for McAtee after the goal, with Town still forced to see at least another four minutes out.
Northampton went in search of an equaliser and there was a nervous moment when the ball was poked past Crocombe and towards goal but the assistant referee’s flag came to the rescue.
A final chance for the hosts came with a corner on the right and it was headed out for another one as the clock ticked into the eighth added minute. This time, Holohan headed clear and the final whistle then blew, meaning the celebrations could finally begin in the away end.
After two consecutive defeats, it was a very welcome return to winning ways for the Mariners, who are next in action when they host Harrogate Town at Blundell Park on Tuesday.