GRIMSBY Town reached the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy with a home victory over Havant and Waterlooville.
In windy conditions at Blundell Park, both sides found chances hard to come by for long periods of this third round encounter.
The Mariners finally made their breakthrough when Jon-Paul Pittman scored with a 25-yard drive, before Jon Nolan made the result safe with a late second goal.
And there was time for a third goal, which came when the unlucky Ben Swallow diverted a low cross into his own net in the closing stages of added time.
Six changes were made to the Town side that lost 1-0 at Gateshead in the league last time out, with new signing Evan Horwood making his debut as one of those coming into the XI.
He joined Shaun Pearson, Conor Henderson, Craig Clay, Marcus Marshall and Pittman as the alterations on manager Paul Hurst’s teamsheet, with Richard Tait, Toto Nsiala, Craig Disley, Andy Monkhouse, Nathan Arnold and Padraig Amond making way.
James McKeown started in goal, with Danny East, Pearson, Josh Gowling and Horwood making up the back four.
Henderson, Nolan, and Clay were the midfielders, with Pittman joined in a three-man attack by Marcus Marshall and Omar Bogle.
Tait, Amond and Arnold were all named on the bench, along with Harry Clifton and Andy Warrington.
Havant and Waterlooville named experienced former Football League players Warren Cummings, Brian Stock and Scott Donnelly in their starting line-up, with strikers Nic Ciardini and Shamir Mullings charged with getting the goals to fire the Hawks into the last eight.
An early cross from East on the right was cut out by centre-back Josh Hill before it could reach Bogle, before Ben Swallow forced McKeown into conceding the game’s first corner at the other end. The flag-kick from the visitors’ left was headed over the bar by Jack Watmough.
Bogle had a chance to open the scoring when he beat the away side’s offside trap to get onto a through-ball from Henderson but after taking it forward, he could only shoot wide from 20 yards.
Nolan then looked to find Marshall with a threaded pass into the penalty area on eight minutes but the striker was held off by Dan Strugnell and the ball went through to keeper Ryan Young.
A run by Marshall from halfway showed signs of promise for the Mariners but ultimately, nothing came from it as he was stopped by Watmough on the edge of the box.
As the quarter-hour mark passed, neither side had established a firm grip on the game, with Town shading possession but battling against a strong wind, while their opponents were struggling to keep the ball for any length of time.
Pittman let fly with a shot from long range on 20 minutes after looking for support and finding it was not there. Again, Young was not called into action as the ball bounced wide of his far post.
Soon afterwards, a good move down the left saw Nolan find Horwood but the left-back’s low cross was cut out for a throw-in.
At the other end, right-back Strugnell had a shot that was comfortably caught by McKeown, before an attacking opportunity for the hosts came when Bogle was fouled midway inside the Havant half. Henderson’s ball to the far post was caught by Young.
Ciardini had a shot saved by McKeown and Strugnell curled an effort wide for the away side as they looked for a breakthrough, before Town were given a free kick in a central position for a foul. This time, Henderson’s shot hit the head of Stock in the Havant defensive wall.
An away penalty shout for handball against Henderson just after the half-hour was ignored by the referee, as both sides continued to struggle to create clear-cut chances.
A foul on winger Theo Lewis by Nolan gave the visitors an opportunity to get the ball into the box on 39 minutes and after the ball was headed on from it, McKeown eventually managed to claim a catch.
Town had created little to worry the Havant and Waterlooville defence and that continued with their next attack, which saw a cross from East on the right drop out of play for a goal kick.
They went closer soon afterwards though, when another cross by East looked like it was going to be met by Pittman, only for a defender to get there first and ensure the only damage was a corner.
One additional minute was signalled to be played at the end of the half and it passed without any further chances being created, meaning the game remained goalless at the interval.
No changes were made before the restart but Clay was shown the first yellow card within a minute for a foul just inside the Havant half.
Gowling then conceded a corner after a cross by Ciadini but the kick was headed clear by Pittman.
Mullings let fly with a low shot from 25 yards but it was comfortable for McKeown, who got down to make the save.
Town won their first corner of the half soon afterwards and Henderson’s ball was half-cleared before Horwood sent it back to Henderson. His shot was pushed away by Young towards Bogle, who volleyed over the bar.
A back-heel from Marshall sent East on a run into the box on 53 minutes and it led to a corner on the right, although Henderson’s delivery was headed clear. Town worked the ball back and Gowling had a shot blocked for another corner, which was caught by Young.
Another chance came soon afterwards, as a move involving Marshall and Pittman eventually led to Nolan shooting at Young.
A foul by Henderson on Donnelly gave the away side a free kick in a dangerous position a minute before the hour but the midfielder wasted the opportunity, firing his shot harmlessly over the bar.
Another free kick came on the right soon afterwards, this time for a foul by East on Ciardini. Swallow took it and the ball was headed on but McKeown dived to stop it and keep the ball in play.
Pittman was blocked by the onrushing Young after the ball broke for the striker, before an effort from Nolan was also blocked as the Mariners stepped up the tempo in their search for an opening goal.
A cross from the left was headed out for a corner as the home pressure started to build but Henderson’s ball was flicked away by keeper Young.
A short stoppage came when Young went down injured but he was passed fit to continue after receiving treatment.
Henderson caused problems for the keeper with a swerving shot from 20 yards on 70 minutes but Young was able to deal with it at the second attempt.
The Mariners finally had their breakthrough two minutes later, when an attempted shot was blocked and the ball fell for PITTMAN, who unleashed a fierce drive from 25 yards that found the bottom corner of the net.
Havant boss Lee Bradbury responded with a double substitution, sending on former Bournemouth striker James Hayter and Matthew Paterson in place of Lewis and Mullings.
Town went looking for a second goal and a Pittman cross narrowly eluded the run of Bogle on 78 minutes.
Pittman was replaced by Arnold with eight minutes to go, as the Mariners now looked to hold onto their single-goal advantage and ensure their place in the next round.
And their progress was confirmed when they scored a second goal with five minutes to go. A flick from Arnold fell into the path of NOLAN and he did the rest, hitting a left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Tait replaced Marshall with two minutes left to play, before Bogle forced Young to dive and stop his shot as three minutes of added time was signalled.
Gowling had to head behind for a corner as the visitors looked for a late consolation but it was not to come as the flag-kick was caught by McKeown.
And after a quick break involving Arnold on the left, the Mariners had a third goal when a low cross was diverted into his own net by Swallow for an OWN GOAL.
That proved to be the last action of the game and the Mariners will now wait to find out their last-eight opponents in Monday’s draw.
They then return to National League action with a trip to Bromley on Tuesday.