GRIMSBY Town fought back from three goals down but could not do enough to take their FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Kidderminster Harriers to a replay.
The Mariners were stunned by an early goal blitz from their visitors, who took what turned out to be a match-winning lead within 17 minutes.
Anthony Malbon struck first, before defender Chey Dunkley headed home from a corner and right-back Lee Vaughan netted from the penalty spot.
But Grimsby refused to admit defeat and they pulled one back through Derek Niven, before Scott Neilson reduced the deficit to just one goal before the break.
Town pushed for a leveller for most of the second half but try as they might, they could not force a third goal.
And the away side made sure of the win when substitute Marvin Johnson slotted into an empty net in the dying seconds after Town keeper James McKeown had gone forward for a corner.
Town made three changes to the side that won at Telford in the league last time out.
Aswad Thomas missed the game after picking up a knock in training, while, loanee Ross Hannah, who was not cleared to play in the FA Cup by parent club Bradford City, missed out and Craig Disley dropped to the bench.
Sam Hatton came in for Thomas, with Bradley Wood moving to left-back, while Andi Thanoj replaced Disley and Dayle Southwell was given the nod to partner Anthony Elding up front.
McKeown started in goal, with Hatton, Ian Miller, Nathan Pond and Wood forming the defence.
Joe Colbeck began on the right side of the Mariners midfield, with Niven and Thanoj in the centre and Neilson on the left.
Elding and Southwell were the strikers, with Greg Fleming, Disley, Frankie Artus, Andy Cook, Simon Ford, Greg Pearson and Josh Morrell making up the seven-man bench.
Kidderminster’s main threat was likely to come from their three strikers, Malbon, Nathan Blissett and Ryan Rowe.
The Mariners had the first chance of the game inside the opening minute, when a flowing move led to Southwell getting the ball on the edge of the penalty area but his side-footed shot was comfortably stopped by visiting keeper Nathan Vaughan.
Neilson set off on a run from deep inside his own half after a Kidderminster attack broke down two minutes later. He then found Southwell on the right but the youngster’s cross was caught by Vaughan before it could reach Elding.
Kidderminster won a free kick on the right on seven minutes but left-back Micky Demetriou’s delivery was headed away by Miller, before Keith Briggs lobbed a shot wide.
Despite Town having two early chances, the away side were doing most of the attacking and they took the lead from a ninth minute corner.
Town switched off as the ball was played short to right-back Lee Vaughan and his cross fell for MALBON, who took a touch before smashing it past McKeown and into the net, despite Pond‘s efforts to clear off the line.
It could have got worse for Grimsby soon afterwards when striker Nathan Blissett had the space to shoot from 18 yards but his connection was poor and the ball was pulled wide.
Kidderminster should probably have doubled their lead when Malbon beat Wood on the edge of the Town box before cutting in and having a shot that was deflected for a corner.
Again, the mariners switched off from the flag-kick but this time, they were not punished as the ball was mis-kicked after being played short and the ball was put out for a corner.
This time, the ball was played in to the far post and central defender DUNKLEY met it with a towering header to beat McKeown and make it 2-0 on 14 minutes.
And incredibly, it got even worse for Town when the away side scored a third goal just three minutes later. Pond fouled Malbon inside the box and after the defender was booked, VAUGHAN stepped up to slot the ball into the bottom corner from the spot.
The Mariners were shellshocked after conceding three goals inside the opening 17 minutes but they managed to pull one back before the 20-minute mark, as NIVEN sent a cracking half-volley into the top corner of the net from inside the area.
Immediately after the goal, Town made the first substitution of the game, with Disley coming on for the unlucky Southwell.
Defender Josh Gowling was booked for Kidderminster, before Vaughan crashed a shot over the bar for the visitors from 20 yards.
Town were given an opportunity to get the ball into the Harriers box with a free kick on 28 minutes but Hatton’s delivery from just inside the opposition half led to the offside flag being raised against Elding.
Neilson showed some trickery inside the box soon afterwards to work some space and prod a low ball across the six-yard line but no Town attacker was there to meet it.
Then, a mistake by Gowling let Elding in but he could not scoop the ball over keeper Vaughan, who blocked the shot.
Town were now putting the visiting defence under pressure as they looked for a way back into the game.
Neilson did well on the left just after the half-hour, beating his man and pulling the ball back for Disley, who helped it on for Niven to shoot wide from 25 yards.
Kidderminster had been restricted to few attacks since their third goal but they won another corner on 34 minutes, although this time, Town were able to clear the danger.
A poor cross-field pass from Hatton towards Wood almost let the away side in again, as the ball was picked up by Blissett before Briggs crossed from the right but the ball went out of play for a goal kick.
Disley appeared to be carrying an injury and after coming on as a substitute, he was forced off on 39 minutes, with Artus coming on in his place.
Artus hit a low, long-range shot on 42 minutes that went straight through to Vaughan in the Kidderminster goal.
But soon afterwards, the mariners were back within one goal, when a corner from the left eventually fell to NEILSON, whose shot went into the net off the far post.
Two minutes of added time were played at the end of what had been a crazy first half and the mariners were given another chance to attack with a free kick midway inside the Kidderminster half but Hatton’s long-range shot was saved by Vaughan.
That proved to be the last chance of a half in which Grimsby had gone three goals down in the early stages but shown real character to come back into the game and give themselves a chance of getting something out of it.
No further changes were made before the restart and Town started the second half well, with Elding winning a corner off Gowling after good work by Thanoj.
The striker won another corner on the right soon afterwards but Artus put the ball straight into Vaughan’s arms from the flag.
It had been all Town for the first five minutes of the half and they were almost level when Thanoj curled a shot just beyond the far post from the left side of the penalty area.
After a brief spell of pressure from the visitors, some good link-up play between Neilson and Eldingdown the left led to another shot by Thanoj from 20 yards, although it was saved by Vaughan.
Neilson hit an overhead kick just over the bar on 55 minutes as the Mariners continued to threaten, before the Crawley loanee prodded a shot wide from the edge of the box, with no attacker able to divert it towards goal.
Striker Ryan Rowe was replaced by Marvin Johnson for the away side on the hour, with Mike Williams coming on for Demetriou at the same time.
Johnson’s first involvement was to volley the ball well over McKeown’s bar from a tight angle on the left.
Thanoj hit an ambitious shot over the bar from 30 yards, before Colbeck won a corner on the right.
Colbeck’s delivery was met by Niven but his header was deflected out for another corner, which was cleared.
Another corner came on 64 minutes and this time, a volley from Elding was tipped over the bar by Vaughan.
A rare Kidderminster attack saw Malbon win a corner off Hatton after Town lost possession in midfield, although Kyle Storer’s delivery was headed away by Thanoj.
Soon afterwards, a great cross from Johnson on the left beat Hatton but Malbon could not control the ball at the far post and the Grimsby deficit remained at one goal.
Gowling flashed a shot wide as Kidderminster continued their spell of pressure, before another chance was wasted by Johnson, who hit a first-time shot wide from 20 yards.
Blissett then fired just wide, with McKeown scrambling across his goal-line as the away side pressed for a fourth goal which would probably kill the game off once and for all.
They had another chance on 77 minutes, when Gowling pulled the ball back for Malbon and he found Vaughan, who forced McKeown to dive to his left and beat the shot away.
Cook replaced Elding in the Town attack for the last 11 minutes of the contest, with Colbeck and Neilson joining him in a front three.
Johnson won another corner for the visitors two minutes later but the kick was cleared by Miller.
Blissett was replaced by Richard Peniket up front for Kidderminster, before Neilson hammered a shot just wide for the Mariners after being set up by Thanoj.
Three added minutes were signalled at the end of the regulation 90, giving the Mariners extra time to force an equaliser and take the tie to a replay.
A deflected volley from Cook brought a town corner, which was put behind for another one on the opposite side.
Keeper McKeown had gone forward to add an extra attacker for the corner and when the ball was eventually cleared after Town had tried to force it into the net, the visitors broke clear and JOHNSON ran it into the empty net to seal Kidderminster’s place in the first round proper.
The result meant the Mariners were knocked out of the FA Cup at the first opportunity and they will now look to bounce back when Macclesfield Town visit Blundell Park in the league on Saturday.