GRIMSBY Town’s eight-match unbeaten run came to an end as Kidderminster Harriers won at Blundell Park.
Early goals in both halves secured the points for the visitors, with Marvin Johnson and Jack Byrne on target.
Johnson opened the scoring with a little over a minute on the clock, finishing well after a quick break from the away side after a Town corner at the other end.
Town created chances over the course of the first half but Kidderminster doubled their advantage four minutes after the restart when Jack Byrne headed home from a corner.
The Mariners looked to hit back and get themselves a lifeline but despite having efforts cleared off the line, that goal was not to come.
One change was made to the Town side after last week’s draw at Altrincham, with Scott Brown replacing Craig Disley in the centre of midfield.
James McKeown started in goal, with Carl Magnay, Toto Nsiala, Shaun Pearson and Aswad Thomas in defence.
Daniel Parslow played as a holding midfielder, with Brown and Harry Pell in the middle and wingers Scott Neilson and Nathan Arnold supporting striker Lenell John-Lewis.
Disley replaced Brown on the bench, with Jack Mackreth, Ross Hannah, Craig Clay and Jon-Paul Pittman also awaiting their opportunity as substitutes.
Kidderminster came into the game having lost several key players on loan in recent days in order to ease financial problems at Aggborough.
But boss Gary Whild was still able send out a side capable of causing the Mariners several problems, with former Newport striker Craig Reid set to be a goal threat at one end and ex-Lincoln defender Josh Gowling intent on keeping them out at the other.
Arnold won the first corner of the game within 30 seconds as the Mariners began positively, although Gowling headed clear from the flag-kick.
That positive start was immediately erased though, as the visitors broke quickly and opened the scoring as the clock ticked past the one-minute mark. The counter-attack came down the Kidderminster left and after the ball was squared for JOHNSON, he calmly slotted past McKeown and into the bottom corner.
Grimsby’s response saw Neilson start an attack by sending Arnold through and after he advanced into the penalty area and held the ball up, he crossed but John-Lewis was penalised for a handball.
Brown dragged a shot wide of the goal guarded by visiting keeper Danny Lewis after cutting in from the right on eight minutes.
But it was the away side who had settled the better and after grabbing an early lead, they appeared to be comfortable in the opening stages of the game.
Striker Reece Hales shot over the bar from 20 yards after some good build-up play down the Harriers’ right.
At the other end, a push by Johnson on Thomas gave Town a free kick on the left but Arnold’s delivery was punched clear by Lewis.
Robinson hit a 25-yard effort that skimmed through to McKeown on 19 minutes as Kidderminster continued to look the more threatening of the two sides.
But Town were also creating chances and Lewis had to push a low Brown shot away for a corner soon afterwards after the midfielder let fly from 25 yards. Arnold’s kick was headed away at the near post.
Another good opportunity came on 24 minutes, when Arnold linked up with John-Lewis and the latter hit a powerful shot from a tight angle that Lewis had to block for a corner.
A good long pass by Nsiala found Magnay on the right soon afterwards but nobody was in the middle to meet the right-back’s low, first-time cross.
A foul on Magnay gave Grimsby a free kick on the right but the hosts were unable to cause any danger from it as Arnold’s ball was too high, too long and sailed out for a goal kick.
Aman Verma shot wide for the away side at the end of another quick break after a Thomas cross at the other end was headed clear.
Neilson created the next chance for the Mariners, hitting a 20-yard effort that Lewis had to push out towards John-Lewis, who was flagged offside as he headed it back at the keeper. Matthew Robinson shot wide of the far post after a lay-off by Gowling as the visitors threatened again with seven minutes to go before the break. A foul by Neilson then gave Kidderminster a free kick in a central position, midway inside the Town half. Left-back Kevin Nicholson stepped up and hit a shot that bounced in front of McKeown, who failed to claim it before an away boot prodded the loose ball wide for a goal kick. Johnson volleyed wide from the edge of the area as another chance for the visitors to double their advantage came and went, before Pearson bravely headed clear after a cross from the left, although the referee’s whistle blew for a free kick in favour of the defender.
Neilson was crowded out on the edge of the Kidderminster box as he looked to craft an opening with the game moving into one additional minute.
Brown then narrowly failed to get on the end of a flick-on by John-Lewis as Town staged a late rally to end the first half.
But all in all, it was a 45 minutes which had been bossed by their visitors, who had taken an early lead and then looked relatively comfortable in defence, while showing signs of adding to their advantage.
No changes were made before the restart and a yellow card was brandished in the direction of right-back Jared Hodgkiss within 30 seconds for a foul on Thomas. Brown’s kick was cleared by Nicholson.
Reid flashed a shot wide at the other end, with a deflection taking the ball out for a corner on the left. From it, the visitors doubled their lead, as Nicholson’s perfect delivery was met by BYRNE, who powered a header past McKeown and into the roof of the net.
John-Lewis misdirected a shot wide as Grimsby looked to reply, before Robinson fired at McKeown from 25 yards as Kidderminster continued to look the sharper of the two sides.
John-Lewis narrowly failed to connect with a header at the near post from a Thomas cross on the left, before the striker was upended by Gowling to earn the defender a booking and bring about a free kick in a central position. Neilson’s chip was easy for Gowling to head clear.
Town were starting to put together some good passages of possession but their visitors would not have been unduly worried, as they were not causing problems for Lewis on goal.
Grimsby’s first substitution saw Pittman replace Parslow as boss Paul Hurst opted for an extra striker.
Seconds later, Lewis was forced to make an excellent save after a Neilson free kick was headed down by John-Lewis at the far post.
The Mariners had been better since going 2-0 down, showing more urgency as their opponents appeared to sit back and look to hold their lead.
Brown sent a wild shot well over the bar, before a foul by Jamie Grimes on John-Lewis led to a free kick on the right. Neilson’s ball to the far post was headed down by Nsiala but he could not get the required power on it and Lewis gathered.
A Kidderminster corner on 66 minutes led to Brown having to clear a shot off the line after the ball broke to the edge of the box.
Appeals for a penalty came from the away supporters after Reid went down under a challenge from Nsiala but the referee took no action and the game continued.
Ahmed O’Beng replaced Hales up front for Kidderminster with 20 minutes left, before a double change for Town two minutes later saw Disley replace Pell and Hannah come on for John-Lewis.
A driving run from Neilson saw him go from the halfway line to the edge of the penalty area before running into trouble and losing possession.
Town were still attacking in search of a lifeline and an attempt from Brown was blocked as Kidderminster struggled to clear their lines following a Magnay free kick from halfway.
Disley was then denied when his goalbound header at the far post was somehow blocked by a defender.
The roles were reversed at the other end as Disley slid in to block a first-time shot by Callum Gittings, who had replaced Reid in the Kidderminster frontline.
Town were still striving to get back into the contest and they almost had that way in when a deep cross from the left was headed on and fell for Magnay at the far post. Keeper Lewis was in the right place though, catching the right-back’s half-volley.
At the other end, a right-wing cross was deflected behind for a corner as the game moved into four minutes of added time, although nothing came of the opportunity from the flag.
Town kept pressing for what would now just be a consolation goal but it was not to come, leaving the small band of travelling supporters from the West Midlands to celebrate a win at the end of what had been a difficult week for their club.
The Mariners will now look to bounce back and start a new unbeaten run when Woking visit Blundell Park on Tuesday.