Grimsby Town fell to defeat against promotion-chasing Carlisle United at Brunton Park.
A much-changed Mariners side made a confident start and bossed the opening half-hour in Cumbria, with Otis Khan and George Lloyd both going close to opening the scoring.
But when the deadlock was broken on 36 minutes, it was at the other end as Alfie McCalmont put the hosts ahead.
The goal changed the game and Carlisle pushed forward in search of another one, which came just before half-time as Jordan Gibson made it 2-0 to cap a damaging 10-minute spell.
Lloyd hit the post with a second-half header but further opportunities were few and far between for Town as the home side saw the game out to claim all three points.
Grimsby boss Paul Hurst made seven alterations to his starting line-up after the Emirates FA Cup heroics at Southampton on Wednesday, with only Max Crocombe, Michee Efete, Niall Maher and Alex Hunt remaining from the XI that began the match at St Mary’s Stadium.
Crocombe lined up behind a back four of Efete, Andy Smith, Maher and Danny Amos, with Mikey O’Neill, Hunt, Bryn Morris and Khan in front of them in midfield as Lloyd was paired with Tom Dickson-Peters in attack.
Josh Emmanuel and Harry Clifton were both named on the bench after starting the game on the south coast three days ago, with Shaun Pearson, Stephen Wearne, Ryan Taylor, Evan Khouri and Shaun Scannell completing the list of substitutes.
Carlisle began the day third in the Sky Bet League Two table and after winning the reverse fixture 2-1 at Blundell Park in September, Paul Simpson’s men were looking to continue their push for automatic promotion by gaining another positive result.
Strikers Joe Garner and Omari Patrick were the man looking to get the goals, with former Mariners loanee Kristian Dennis kept in reserve on the bench.
A low ball into the box from Hunt was cleared as Town made a positive start to the game, before Dickson-Peters won the first corner on six minutes. Hunt played it short from the flag to Morris, whose cross was claimed by home keeper Tomas Holy.
Carlisle had started slowly but their first attack of note on 10 minutes led to a corner. They were unable to profit from it though, as the delivery from the right beat everybody and went out for a goal kick.
A cross from Amos was cleared at the other end and another one went through to Holy, then the Mariners were inches away from taking the lead when a flick by Lloyd gave Khan an opportunity to cut into the penalty area from the left. He lined up a curling shot but the ball went just the wrong side of the far post.
Maher was penalised for a foul on Patrick as he jumped to win a duel in the air on 20 minutes but after the free kick was lifted into the box, Khan did well to win a goal kick.
Lloyd had a chance on 25 minutes when he brought the ball down brilliantly and let fly from 25 yards with a left-footed volley, although Holy dived to keep the shot out.
Town had been the better side over the opening half-hour but Carlisle had an opportunity when Callum Guy tried his luck with a drive from 25 yards. It was straight at Crocombe though and the keeper got the ball away from danger.
O’Neill was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon for a late challenge on Guy on 34 minutes but again, the hosts were unable to make the most of the free kick as Jack Armer’s delivery was headed clear by Lloyd.
But the next time they were given a chance, the home side took it to open the scoring. Hunt lost possession midway inside his own half and McCALMONT nipped in to take the ball clear and beat Crocombe with a low shot from the edge of the box.
Carlisle were straight back on the attack after taking the lead and Garner shot at Crocombe on the turn after being found inside the penalty area by Jordan Gibson.
A foul by Hunt gave the hosts another opportunity to create danger with a free kick from the left. The ball from it was won by Jon Mellish and he headed it down for Morgan Feeney but his volley was blocked.
Maher did well to get ahead of McCalmont and make a clearance after a cross from Gibson was headed back across goal by Garner as Carlisle continued to come forward.
And with half-time approaching, the home side doubled their advantage. Hunt went down on the halfway line with what appeared to be a head injury but the referee allowed play to continue and the ball was worked to GIBSON, who cut in from the right and drilled a low shot past Crocombe and into the far corner of the net.
Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and despite dominating for long periods, the Mariners found themselves with a two-goal deficit at the break.
Emmanuel replaced Dickson-Peters before the restart, as Town switched to a back three and Khan moved forward to link up with Lloyd in attack.
The first chance of the half went to the hosts as Hunt lost the ball and it was passed forward to Patrick, who shot just wide of the far post from the left.
Khan was booked for a foul on Gibson four minutes in but Garner’s header from Owen Moxon’s free kick went through to Crocombe.
Another free kick came when Gibson was brought down by Smith near the edge of the Town box but Moxon’s delivery from it was headed away by Amos.
The hosts kept attacking and a foul by Efete on Patrick brought their latest free kick, this time on the left. Again, Moxon took it but after Garner chested the ball down, it was cleared by O’Neill.
Patrick appealed for a penalty after going down theatrically inside the box under minimal contact from Efete but the referee was not interested. Another appeal then came when Garner went down as a corner came across but again, it was ignored and a goal kick was given.
Defender Paul Huntington was booked after bringing Lloyd down, although Hunt’s resulting free kick from midway inside the Carlisle half came to nothing as Maher was penalised for a foul.
Taylor replaced Khan and Khouri came on for Hunt as Town made a double-substitution on 65 minutes.
McCalmont flashed a volley over the bar at the end of a spell of home pressure, then Huntington was replaced by Corey Whelan after going down injured.
A run down the left by Patrick set up the next opportunity but Moxon was stretching as he met the striker’s low cross and he could only send the ball high over the bar.
Town’s best passage of play in the second half so far led to an Amos cross being cleared, then another spell of possession gave Emmanuel a chance to cross from the right. He picked out Lloyd and the striker met the ball with an excellent header but was forced to watch it bounce back off the post.
Dennis replaced Patrick, John Kymani-Gordon came on for Garner and Joel Senior was sent on in place of McCalmont as the home side turned to their bench again with nine minutes to go.
Taylor battled to win a free kick on the left side of the Carlisle box soon afterwards but Morris’ ball from it was dealt with.
Clifton and Wearne then replaced O’Neill and Morris as the away side completed their five permitted substitutions with five minutes remaining.
Carlisle were looking to see the rest of the game out, although a shot from Gibson was blocked after Clifton had been caught as he looked to run the ball towards the halfway line.
Another attempt from Gibson was well-held by Crocombe, before the game moved into three added minutes.
And with no further chances for either side, the final whistle confirmed the Cumbrians’ victory.
Town are next in action on Tuesday, when they host Newport County at Blundell Park.