GRIMSBY Town became the first away side to win a league game at Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium this season as they registered a 2-1 success.
The home side had won all 12 of their previous home games and conceded just two goals but Lenell John-Lewis and Scott Neilson both scored to ensure the Mariners took all three points.
John-Lewis put Town ahead on 18 minutes but the hosts hit back through Luke Berry nine minutes into the second half.
Grimsby responded well and within two minutes, they were back ahead when Neilson struck with what proved to be the wining goal.
Jamal Fyfield came in for his Town debut at left-back in place of Aswad Thomas, who dropped to the bench.
Alex Rodman also came into the XI in place of Joe Colbeck, while new signing Oumare Tounkara was named among the substitutes a day after joining the club on loan from Stevenage.
James McKeown started in goal, with Paul Bignot, Shaun Pearson, Clayton McDonald and Fyfield making up the back four.
Rodman began on the right of midfield, with Craig Disley and Scott Kerr paired in the middle and Neilson on the left.
John-Lewis and Ross Hannah were the strikers, with Thomas, Colbeck, Tounkara joined on the bench by Andy Cook and Paddy McLaughlin.
Cambridge included former Town centre-back Ian Miller, as well as ex-Mariners loanee Ashley Chambers in attack.
An early Cambridge free kick was headed away from danger by Disley, before a shot from John-Lewis was blocked as the visitors attacked for the first time.
A cross from Fyfield to the far post proved to be too far for Rodman to connect with, then John-Lewis was spoken to by the referee after catching Miller with a high boot.
Both sides were looking to attack in the early stages of the game and McKeown was called into action for the first time to save a shot by Ryan Donaldson on eight minutes.
A foul by McDonald gave the hosts a free kick in the Town half four minutes later but it did not lead to a goalscoring opportunity.
Chambers had a chance when he got away from the Grimsby defence soon afterwards but he could not hit the target with his shot, instead firing over the bar.
Neilson was booked for a foul on the quarter-hour, before Town won their first corner on the left three minutes later, which eventually led to the opening goal.
Kerr’s near-post delivery was cleared back to Fyfield, who got the ball back again and crossed for Hannah. His shot was saved but the rebound fell for JOHN-LEWIS to score from close range.
A Cambridge break down the left came after Rodman lost the ball on the halfway line but it did not lead to any work for McKeown, as Tom Champion was penalised for a handball.
The Mariners could have doubled their lead on 27 minutes when a ball from McDonald found Neilson and he played it to Fyfield, whose cross led to Hannah firing against the bar.
A Cambridge corner then came to nothing, as a Berry header from a corner was stopped by McKeown.
Donaldson was the second name to go into referee Peter Banks’ notebook, before a Town corner was headed behind at the near post for another one. This time, Kerr’s delivery was claimed by keeper John Sullivan.
Rodman hit a shot off-target from long range on 38 minutes, then an effort from Champion was deflected through to the Town keeper as both sides kept attacking.
Kerr was the next to try his luck for the Mariners after a pass from Disley but the midfielder missed the target.
Another chance for the away side came on 41 minutes, when a free kick from Kerr fell for John-Lewis at the far post but he could not convert the opportunity with a weak header.
A Cambridge penalty appeal was turned down a minute later as McDonald was adjudged no to have fouled his man inside the Town box.
Two minutes of added time were signalled and the Mariners were still on the attack, winning another corner on the right but seeing Kerr’s ball cleared.
That proved to be the last opportunity of the half, meaning the visitors went in at the break with their one-goal advantage intact.
No changes were made before the restart and the first chance of the second half fell for Neilson, who had a shot blocked after a free kick from Kerr was half-cleared.
Town started the half well and they almost had another opportunity when Hannah crossed but it did not have the power to reach John-Lewis and Miller got there first.
A run and cross by John-Lewis led to the striker crossing into the six-yard box but again, no attackers could get to it ahead of the home defenders.
Rodman was the next to go close with a shot from distance that just missed the target on 52 minutes.
Cambridge boss Richard Money then used his first substitution, sending Josh Gillies on for Liam Hughes.
Town had created most of the chances but they were pegged back on 54 minutes when the hosts equalised. McDonald gave possession away and the hosts worked the ball forward, with a cross from Chambers being headed home by BERRY.
The Mariners were back in front almost immediately though, as a free kick into the box from Hannah was not dealt with and after it fell for NEILSON, his shot was deflected past Sullivan and into the net.
Rodman was booked for a foul two minutes before the hour but the hosts could not turn the free kick into a chance in front of goal.
A cross from Donaldson almost led to problems for the Town defence but Pearson dealt with the danger.
At the other end, Town won a corner off defender Josh Coulson but the ball was eventually cleared.
Colbeck replaced Neilson on 64 minutes, just after Nathan Arnold had come on in place of Chambers for the home side.
Disley picked up a yellow card for kicking the ball away after a foul, before a shot from Hannah was caught by keeper Sullivan.
A looping ball from Gillies was headed towards goal by Tom Elliott as Cambridge looked to hit back for a second time but McKeown was equal to it and made the save.
The home side’s final substitution saw Matthew Barnes-Homer replace Champion to add an extra attacking threat.
A foul on Rodman earned Arnold a booking as the winger looked to break into the Cambridge half but the ball from the free kick was eventually cleared after Pearson had sent a cross in.
McDonald picked up an injury with 12 minutes to go and had to be replaced, with Thomas coming on as Fyfield moved inside to centre-back.
Berry called McKeown into action three minutes later but his shot was held by the Town stopper.
An effort from Rodman was then blocked as Town looked for a third goal which would have killed off the game as a contest.
Tounkara was sent on for his Grimsby debut in place of John-Lewis for the last seven minutes.
Cambridge had a chance to level the scores as a shot from Barnes-Homer was blocked by Pearson, then Berry was thwarted by McKeown.
Rodman was temporarily forced off with a cut to the head as the game moved into four minutes of stoppage time but he was passed fit to continue.
The Mariners then saw out the remainder of the game to seal an important three points against a promotion rival.
They are next in action when Tamworth are the visitors to Blundell Park for an FA Trophy quarter-final on Saturday.