GRIMSBY Town picked up their first away win in five games as they comfortably beat relegation-threatened Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road.
The Mariners, roared on throughout the game by more than 1,000 travelling supporters, took the lead with their first real attack as Sam Jones headed home from Danny Andrew’s cross.
The home side had plenty of possession but struggled to seriously test the Town defence and when a Callum Kennedy own-goal doubled the visitors’ advantage 19 minutes from time, the points looked safe.
A third goal from substitute Scott Vernon then put extra gloss on the scoreline as the Mariners put an end to a run which had seen them lose three and draw one of their previous four games on the road.
Three changes were made to the Town side for the trip to east London after the home defeat by Wycombe Wanderers, with captain Craig Disley, Brandon Comley and Dominic Vose all coming into the starting XI.
Gavin Gunning missed out after suffering a head injury in that game at Blundell Park last week, while Chris Clements and Jamey Osborne also came out of the team.
James McKeown started in goal, behind an unchanged defence of Zak Mills, Shaun Pearson, Danny Collins and Andrew.
Tom Bolarinwa began on the right of a four-man midfield, with Disley and Comley in the middle and Vose on the left, while Calum Dyson and Jones continued their partnership in attack.
Osborne was handed a place on the bench, where he was joined by Ben Davies, Andrew Boyce, Vernon, Adi Yussuf, Akwasi Asante and Luke Maxwell.
Orient came into the contest having lost seven of their previous 10 games – a run which had left them in real trouble at the bottom end of League Two.
But they would hope to build further on last week’s 4-0 success away at Newport County, who were the only team below them in the league table at kick-off.
In a low-key opening, an appeal for a back-pass from the home fans was turned down after McKeown picked up a ball which initially looked to have been meant for Pearson.
The Mariners then took the lead with their first chance of the game on seven minutes, when Andrew’s cross from the left was met by JONES, who headed it into the back of the net.
Town’s good start continued when they won a corner two minutes later but Vose’s near-post delivery was cleared.
The home side’s first attack of note came soon afterwards, although it came to nothing as a cross was blocked by Mills, before a shot from Sandro Semedo missed the target.
Semedo beat Bolarinwa down the Orient left on 14 minutes but the following cross was dealt with by McKeown.
An Andrew cross then led to Pearson having a header blocked, with the referee signalling a goal kick to the hosts.
Striker Josh Koroma saw a shot blocked by Collins, before a short stoppage came when McKeown went down and had to receive treatment from physio Dave Moore, although he was passed fit to play on.
A free kick sent into the box by the home side’s Michael Collins beat everybody, then a handball appeal from the Orient fans came when a cross was blocked by Pearson, although referee Lee Swaby allowed play to continue.
Good play involving Disley, Vose and Bolarinwa led to a promising move by the Mariners on 26 minutes but it broke down when the right-winger took a touch too many.
Orient were doing most of the attacking as the half-hour mark passed but McKeown and his defence remained largely untroubled, with Town’s lead still intact.
A foul on Vose gave Town a fee kick on 35 minutes but Andrew’s ball from halfway was cleared and another spell of home possession started, which eventually ended with a cross being caught by McKeown.
A shot by Sam Dalby was blocked by Pearson, with a follow-up effort then going wide, as Orient continued to search for an equaliser.
A foul by Dyson led to a free kick and after the ball from it was cleared, the hosts won a corner through Semedo, which was cleared at the second attempt by Collins.
Steven Alzate was fouled by Andrew to bring about another home free kick but again, it did not lead to a goalscoring opportunity as Pearson eventually won the ball and brought it clear.
Vose was fouled on the edge of the box to give the Mariners a free kick in a dangerous position as the game moved into stoppage time and after defender Kennedy received treatment, Vose’s shot was pushed away for a corner by keeper Charlie Grainger.
No further chances came over the remainder of the five minutes of added time, so Town kept their one-goal advantage at half-time.
No changes were made before the restart and the first attack of the second half came from the hosts, with McKeown getting to a cross and stopping the ball from going out for a corner after it had come off Pearson.
Disley was adjudged to have committed a foul on the edge of his own penalty area five minutes in but Nicky Hunt’s free kick went over the bar.
An Andrew cross was half-cleared at the other end, before an overhead kick attempt by Jones dropped wide of the target.
Mills was shown a yellow card for delaying the taking of an Orient free kick, which when taken, was played straight into the arms of McKeown.
Before the free kick was taken, the Mariners made the first substitution of the game, with Osborne replacing Bolarinwa.
Vose was off-target with a shot from distance, before Osborne quickly went into the referee’s notebook as he became the second Town player to be yellow-carded.
Dyson had a run down the right just after the hour after beating the Orient offside trap but he was eventually tackled before he could pass to strike-partner Jones.
Michael Collins was booked for kicking the ball away before a Town free kick on 63 minutes and when it was taken, it eventually led to Vose hitting a shot which keeper Grainger managed to get to after the ball had bounced awkwardly.
Asante came on for Dyson in Grimsby’s second substitution and a chance came when a good move by the Mariners led to Andrew shooting from inside the box after a back-heel by Jones, although his effort went over the bar.
But the next time they attacked, the Mariners grabbed the vital second goal. Asante did well to make progress and pull the ball back for Jones. His shot was saved by Grainger but as the rebound came out, Kennedy put it into his own net under pressure from the former Gateshead man.
Freddy Moncur saw a shot blocked and Josh Koroma hit an effort over the bar as the home side looked for a way back into the game.
Vernon replaced Jones as Town boss Marcus Bignot made his third and final change.
And the striker got himself on the scoresheet with three minutes to go, as Disley’s superb pass was perfect for VERNON to volley home for 3-0.
Kennedy hit the post with the last kick of the game as Orient aimed for a consolation goal.
But it was not to come and Town were able to celebrate a clean sheet as well as a very welcome three goals and most importantly, three points, as they went to salute their travelling supporters at the final whistle.
The Mariners are in action again on Tuesday, when they make the long trip to face promotion-chasing Portsmouth at Fratton Park