GRIMSBY Town gave their supporters the perfect Christmas present with an emphatic derby victory over Lincoln City at Sincil Bank.
The Mariners, backed by 1,729 travelling supporters, took the lead slightly against the run of play when Andy Cook opened the scoring eight minutes before the interval.
Joe Colbeck made it 2-0 five minutes later but Lincoln came out firing after half-time and halved the deficit through an Alan Power penalty.
At that point, the home side looked to be in the ascendancy but Town’s nerves were steadied when captain Craig Disley restored the two-goal advantage, before Colbeck grabbed a fourth with a goal direct from a corner.
Grimsby were forced to make two changes after Ross Hannah and Scott Neilson played the last game of their loan spells in the home victory over Wrexham last time out.
That meant Colbeck came straight back into the XI after his one-match ban in place of Neilson on the right wing, while Greg Pearson replaced Hannah in attack.
James McKeown began in goal, with Sam Hatton, Ian Miller, Nathan Pond and Aswad Thomas forming an unchanged back four.
Colbeck, Disley, Derek Niven and Marcus Marshall were the midfielders, with Cook joining Pearson up front.
Shaun Pearson was named on the Grimsby substitutes’ bench, alongside Bradley Wood, Dayle Southwell, Andi Thanoj and Michael Rankine.
Lincoln’s main threat was likely to come from 12-goal top scorer Jamie Taylor, while another to watch would be midfielder Power.
Former Mariners defender Scott Garner, who scored for Town in this fixture last season, began on the bench for the Imps.
After a quiet first few minutes, the first incident came with an altercation between Marshall and Lincoln’s Dan Grey, which earned both a talking to from referee Peter Bankes.
A late challenge on Thomas in front of the Town fans then saw striker Vadaine Oliver pick up the first yellow card with five minutes on the clock.
Winger Jake Sheridan then went down in the centre circle as the feisty opening to the game continued, before Tom Miller was hurt in an aerial challenge with Cook.
A foul by Cook gave the hosts a free kick on 13 minutes but the delivery into the Town box was headed clear.
At the other end, a foul on Marshall on the left brought a free kick for the Mariners but the winger’s ball was cleared and Lincoln broke quickly, with Taylor squaring across the six-yard box for Oliver, who prodded wide.
Another free kick was worked quickly between Hatton and Disley, before the skipper’s deep cross was headed wide by Cook at the far post.
Town won the first corner of the game on 20 minutes when a long throw from Hatton was headed behind but Marshall’s kick beat everybody and the ball was cleared.
A shot from Colbeck was blocked for another corner soon afterwards and this time, Colbeck fired wide from 18 yards after meeting Marshall’s low delivery.
Pond had to go off after sustaining a cut, leaving the Mariners temporarily down to ten men and Lincoln looked to take advantage, although midfielder Gary Mills headed over after a cross from the left.
A long ball forward from Mills was put out for a throw by Thomas on the Lincoln right but Grey’s long throw was headed away, before McKeown came out to bravely thwart Taylor when the ball was played back into the box.
Lincoln were creating the better chances but Town had one of their own on 36 minutes on the break after a home attack broke down. Cook broke but could only find home keeper Paul Farman.
A minute later, the Mariners were ahead, when Farman could only parry the ball after an attempt by Colbeck and COOK was in the right place to steady himself and place a shot into the top corner of the net from 12 yards.
And the situation was to get even better for Grimsby and their supporters, when the lead was doubled three minutes before the break.
Disley did well on the edge of the area to retain possession and find COLBECK on the right and he cut into the box before hitting a shot that deflected off defender Andrew Boyce on its way into the far corner of Farman’s net.
Lincoln almost had a goal back as the game moved into three minutes of added time as Mills’ chip beat McKeown but came back off the bar.
The home side kept pushing forward and a Power free kick was deflected out for a corner, which was also dealt with by the visitors.
That meant Grimsby went into half-time with a two-goal lead, despite their hosts having the better of long periods of what had otherwise been a fairly uneventful first half.
No changes were made before the restart and Lincoln forced the first corner of the second half, when Taylor’s shot was deflected wide.
The home supporters thought they had halved the deficit within three minutes when a long throw from Grey found its way into the net but the referee had spotted a push and blew for a Town free kick.
Another shot from Taylor was deflected out for a corner as the home pressure continued, before a header from Mills was blocked.
It was all Lincoln in the early stages of the half and after another long throw was hurled in by Grey, referee Mr Bankes spotted a handball and pointed to the penalty spot. POWER accepted the gift, slotting past McKeown from 12 yards to make it 2-1.
The main weapon for the hosts was Grey’s long throw and another one from the left led was met by Oliver but his weak header was easy for McKeown.
Town needed to break up the Lincoln momentum but they went one better and scored a third goal with 58 minutes on the clock.
A through-ball was pounced on by Disley and after his initial effort came back off the bar, Cook also put a header against the bar before seeing another follow-up effort blocked. Eventually, DISLEY made sure of the goal, hooking the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Garner replaced Grey and Adam Smith came on for Nicky Nicolau as Imps boss David Holdsworth made a double substitution just after the hour.
A Town break saw Colbeck run down the right and cross for Cook on 64 minutes but the ball was deflected away for a corner. It was half-cleared before being won back by Cook and Pearson’s driven shot rebounded off a defender for another corner.
This time, COLBECK took the corner and bent it into the far corner of Farman’s net without anybody else touching the ball to make it 4-1.
Marshall was the next to go close for Town, cutting in from the left and shooting from 20 yards but this time, Farman got his body behind the ball to make a comfortable save.
A corner at the other end gave Lincoln a chance to get one back but Thomas was on the far post to block a header, before a Taylor effort was also deflected out for a corner, which came to nothing.
Colin Larkin replaced Sheridan in the home side’s last substitution but the Mariners were still well on top and Colbeck’s run and cross on 72 minutes almost led to a fifth goal, only for Pearson to head against the far post from a very tight angle.
Pond was booked for preventing a goal kick from being taken with 17 minutes left, before a cross from Smith on the Lincoln right had to be headed behind for a corner, which eventually led to Larkin having a shot deflected wide for another corner.
Rankine replaced Pearson in the Grimsby attack for the last 11 minutes, as the Mariners looked for a fifth goal.
Marshall won a corner with five minutes left and Cook hooked a volley over the bar after Colbeck’s delivery was headed away.
Cook left the field to a standing ovation from the Town fans soon afterwards, with Southwell sent on in his place.
Taylor almost made it 4-2 with three minutes to go when a free kick was headed back across goal by left-back Peter Gilbert but the striker could not connect at the far post and a goal kick was the result.
Good work by Marshall down the left led to him crossing for Rankine as three minutes of added time were signalled but the striker could not hit the target with his header.
At the other end, an excellent save by McKeown denied Oliver a late consolation goal, before Wood replaced Hatton for the final few seconds at right-back.
A clumsy foul by Garner on Rankine gave Town a last chance to make it five and after the free kick was taken quickly, Marshall tried to square for south well to have a tap-in but the ball was just too far ahead of the young striker for him to make contact.
It did not matter though, as the final whistle brought more celebrations for the Town players and their huge travelling support.
The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Mansfield Town.