GRIMSBY Town earned a point by securing a goalless draw against Newport County at Rodney Parade.
In a game of few chances on a difficult pitch in south Wales, the Mariners had the better of things but were unable to break the deadlock, with a Danny Andrew free kick that hit the post turning out to be the closest they came.
But after conceding five goals in their previous game at Crewe, Town responded well as their defence stood up to the Newport threat and it was a professional performance to ensure a clean sheet.
Five changes were made to the Town side after the heavy defeat in Cheshire, with Zak Mills, Tom Bolarinwa, Craig Disley, Sam Jones and Akwasi Asante all coming into the starting XI.
They replaced Ben Davies, Chris Clements, Brandon Comley, Jamey Osborne and Adi Yussuf, all of whom dropped to the bench.
James McKeown started in goal, with Gavin Gunning, Shaun Pearson and Danny Collins forming the centre-back trio.
Mills and Andrew began as wing-backs, with Disley and Jones in the centre of midfield, as Bolarinwa pushed forward in support of Asante and Callum Dyson.
Davies, Clements, Comley, Osborne and Yussuf were joined among the substitutes by Scott Vernon and Andrew Boyce.
Newport came into the game as the bottom side in League Two and would be fighting for anything they could get to boost their hopes of avoiding the drop to the National League.
In a quiet opening, the first action of note saw a Newport long throw cleared to the taker, before a cross was claimed by McKeown.
At the other end, a promising build-up from the Mariners came to an end when Asante was caught offside.
Collins was shown the first yellow card of the game with eight minutes on the clock but the resulting free kick from 25 yards came to nothing as Josh Sheehan’s shot hit the wall and Michael Flynn then missed the target.
A long throw from Andrew on 11 minutes came back to him and he drove an effort into a crowd of players, with the ball then cleared.
A free kick from Andrew on halfway almost led to a chance as Bolarinwa helped the ball back into the six-yard box, only for home keeper Joe Day to get to it first.
Craig Reid hit a shot from 20 yards for the hosts on 18 minutes but it lacked power and McKeown made a comfortable stop.
Dyson was booked for a foul on Dan Butler a minute later but again, Newport could not make the resulting free kick count as a set-piece routine led to a cross hitting the side-netting.
An attack by the Mariners soon afterwards saw Disley find Bolarinwa but his cross was headed out for a corner before it could reach Asante.
A stoppage came when Jones went down with an injury but the midfielder was passed fit to play on after receiving treatment.
Appeals for a Newport penalty came from the home fans after Mitchell Rose went down under a challenge from Bolarinwa but referee John Busby waved play-on.
The hosts had a better chance when an attempted clearance ricocheted off David Pipe and fell for Ryan Bird but the striker’s half-volley missed the target.
A Town free kick just after the half-hour was not fully dealt with by the home defence but after the ball eventually came to Asante, he could only fire wide.
Mills did well to win a corner soon afterwards but the delivery from the flag was punched by keeper Day and Newport then brought the ball clear.
The game had been short on goalmouth action so far and the next speculative shot came from Sheehan on 37 minutes, with McKeown making another routine save.
A foul on Bolarinwa gave the Mariners an opportunity to create some danger and from it, they went close to taking the lead when Andrew’s shot hit the post, before spinning back into the arms of Day.
Andrew was involved again soon afterwards, hitting an effort from the edge of the box that was blocked for a corner after good work by Mills and Bolarinwa on the right.
Town were on the attack again two minutes before the interval when Disley picked the ball up and crossed for Jones, whose shot was saved.
One additional minute was played at the end of the half and no further chances came before the referee’s whistle, meaning the game remained goalless at the break.
No changes were made before the restart and the first real opportunity for Town to put pressure on the home defence came from a throw-in, although Mills’ throw failed to cause a problem as it cleared everybody in black and white and went through to Day in the Newport goal.
Soon afterwards, Mills went on a run before opting to shoot and sending the ball off-target.
The next chance went to Asante, who was put through by a flick from Dyson. The striker was not helped by the difficult pitch though, as he could not get the ball fully under control and the opportunity was gone.
A stoppage came to allow Newport’s Mark O’Brien to get treatment on an injury, before a quick counter-attack by the Mariners led to a corner. The initial delivery was headed away but the ball broke for Gunning, who failed to trouble the goalkeeper with his shot.
Town boss Marcus Bignot made a double substitution three minutes after the hour, rotating his forward line as Yussuf and Vernon replaced Asante and Dyson. Alex Samuel came on for the hosts at the same time, with Reid making way.
Yussuf was booked on 72 minutes after an off-the-ball altercation with Darren Jones, who was also shown the yellow card.
The next substitution came with just over 15 minutes to go and saw Jaanai Gordon replace Sheehan for the home side.
Gunning was the next name to go into the referee’s notebook for a foul and Newport managed to turn the resulting free kick into a corner, which led to a shot from close range being cleared off the line by Vernon.
More home pressure was to come after a foul by Yussuf but the free kick was cleared by Collins after it had been flicked towards goal by Newport’s Jones.
Town almost had a chance with nine minutes to go as Vernon won a header but after it went into the path of Yussuf, he was flagged offside.
Jones was also adjudged to be offside as he looked to get on the end of a ball downfield, with time beginning to run out for either side to grab a winning goal.
A long throw from Mills in the direction of Vernon was touched out for a throw on the other side of the pitch, which was cleared. Town kept possession and Disley looked to work an opening but again, the hosts got the ball away from danger.
Four added minutes were signalled to be played, with Town still looking to force a goal which would see them take all three points.
At the other end, a quick break by the hosts led to Rose trying his luck with a shot from 30 yards but McKeown’s comfortable evening continued as he watched the ball fly off-target.
That proved to be the last chance for either side, as the game ended with the score goalless.
Town would have been pleased to get back on track with a clean sheet and a point after losing at Crewe and they will now look to build on it when they host Mansfield Town at Blundell Park on Saturday