This game almost panned out in the same way as the Bath game in that United played the better football and created the better chances in the first half but went in adrift at the break and rarely looked like turning things around in the second half.
start to the game saw chances come quickly at both ends. The visitors were first to test Niki-Lee Bulmer when Charles Ademeno sprinted down the right before firing a low cross to Alan Connell, his faint touch allowing Bulmer to grasp the ball at his feet. Play quickly changed ends and a throughball into Michael Malcolm's run saw him get to the ball in front of the defender, round Steve Croudson in the Grimsby goal only for the keeper to recover quick enough to throw a block that sent Malcolm's shot out for a corner.
Skipper Peter Holmes then bounced a shot wide of the target after being set up by Bradley Pritchard before a short free-kick to Jamie Hand saw a drive from the corner of the area that Croudson did well to push out and his defenders finished the job, clearing upfield.
With United having already had two good chances to go ahead it was a kick in the teeth when the visitors swept forwards from midfield in the 14th minute and a perfect ball into Mark Hudson's run from Connell saw him slide the ball past Bulmer's dive and into the corner of the United net.
Even after going behind, United's heads did not drop and most of the creative play came from the home side. Pritchard flicked on neatly to Malcolm but he was denied by a well timed Bradley Wood tackle as he was about to pull the trigger. Eight minutes from the break United nearly got a lucky break when Holmes' shot was deflected towards his own goal by Darran Kempson but Croudson reacted quickly to push the ball out for a corner. Holmes corner found Hand on the edge and his sweetly struck volley was inches wide of the Grimsby goal.
Still United pushed forwards, Webb played Holmes down the right side, his low cross to the near post was met by Pritchard, his initial back-heel was fumbled by Croudson who then stood strong to grab hold of Pritchard's close range follow-up.
Minutes later United went even closer when an Andy Yiadom cross looped over Croudson only to come back into play off the inside of the far post. Minutes later most must have realised this was not going to be our day when Connell fed Robert Eagle who was allowed to advance before smashing the ball past Bulmer from 25 yards to give his side breathing space at the break.
The second half was not to have the chances of the first and it was the visitors who started the better. Ademeno turned Charlie Wassmer early on but fired wide of the target and minutes later Bulmer did well to push wide a drive from Eagle. United's first thrust into the Grimsby area saw an Adrian Pătulea shot charged down, the loose ball ran to Yiadom who found Adam Green but his shot with his weaker right was swept up by Croudson.
Just before the hour mark United failed to properly clear a corner and when Hudson chipped the ball back into the area, his skipper Robert Atkinson was first to the ball but placed his header wide of the upright. Ademeno was quickly on the attack again, picking out the impressive Connell who was denied by a last ditch Nathan Webb block inside the six yard box.
Chances came and went for United without Croudson being really overstretched. Malcolm headed a Green free-kick into the stopper's hands before substitute Jake Hyde was just off target with a 20 yarder having picked up a loose defensive clearance. Hand was also just wide from 25 yards before Croudson did well to push away diving to his right a shot from another United substitute, Elliott Buchanan before chasing down the loose ball as Hyde arrived.
The game ended with a red card and a third goal, Connell made space in the box only for his shot to come back off the post, the ball fell to Tom Corner whose goalbound shot appeared to be tipped over by Webb, sadly he's not the keeper and the impressive youngster saw red for the first time. Connell just about beat Bulmer's dive from the resultant penalty.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Jamie Hand.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video here.