Grimsby Town slipped to a disappointing defeat as Accrington Stanley won comfortably at Blundell Park.
After a tight first half of few genuine chances, the visitors took control after the break, with striker Billy Kee opening the scoring from the penalty spot after captain Sean McConville had been tripped.
Town went in search of a quick equaliser but they were dealt a further blow when McConville's header made it 2-0, before former Mariners loanee Kayden Jackson grabbed a third to ensure the points would be going back to Lancashire.
Two changes were made to the Town side that drew with Mansfield last time out, as Ben Killip replaced the injured James McKeown in goal and Diallang Jaiyesimi came in for Martyn Woolford.
Killip started behind a defence of Zak Mills, Nathan Clarke, Danny Collins and Ben Davies, while Jaiyesimi was joined by Siriki Dembele, Mitch Rose and Luke Summerfield across the midfield.
That left Sam Jones and Jamille Matt as the attackers, with Woolford, Harry Cardwell, Karleigh Osborne, Scott Vernon, James Berrett, Paul Dixon and JJ Hooper named as the Grimsby substitutes.
Accrington's starting XI included two familiar faces in former Town midfielder Scott Brown and Jackson, while former Scunthorpe forward Kee was also among those looking to catch the eye for John Coleman's side.
The visitors arrived in Cleethorpes on a poor run of form which had seen them lose their last five games in all competitions, although they remained just two points outside the play-off positions at kick-off.
An early Jaiyesimi cross was headed away after he had got past Callum Johnson down the Town left, before the first shot of the game saw Accrington's Jordan Clark hit a weak effort that Killip got down to stop.
The hosts looked to have a strong wind behind them for the first half, although that did not help them when a free kick played forward by Killip sailed past Matt and out for a goal kick.
Jaiyesimi showed good skill to work his way into the penalty area after picking up the ball midway inside the Accrington half on seven minutes but he could not work an angle for a shot or pick out a team-mate and the opportunity was gone.
Soon afterwards, a nice touch from Dembele sent Mills through on the right and after a heavy first touch looked to have hindered him, the right-back managed to win a corner, which was headed clear.
Town were dominating the early stages of the game and their next opportunity fell to Summerfield, who sent a first-time effort just wide from 20 yards after the ball broke for him following a Clarke long throw.
At the other end, Stanley skipper McConville shot tamely wide after being played in by Kee when the Mariners left themselves open at the back.
Davies had to concede a corner to stop Jackson advancing into the box from the right on 14 minutes but the flag-kick was dealt with by the Town defence.
A foul by Davies on Clarke earned him the first yellow card of the game on 21 minutes but McConvile's free kick from the rightt was cleard, although the visitors retained possession and worked the ball back into the box, where a shot from Jackson was blocked.
Soon afterwards, an excellent run and cross frrom Jaiyesimi on the left saw Matt win a header under pressure from visiting keeper Aaron Chapman but he could not direct it towards goal and in any case, the referee ruled the striker had committed a foul as Chapman went down.
Mills drew a foul from defender Janoi Donacien as he looked to make progress down the right on the half-hour but the resulting free kick was headed clear.
Another foul on Mills soon afterwards earned a booking for Jackson but again, Town were unable to create a chance from the free kick.
Dembele won a corner on the right on 36 minutes to gave the hosts another opportunity to put pressure on the Accrington goal, although they were again unable to make it count as Summerfield's delivery beat everybody and went out of play at the far post.
Brown was booked for a foul on Rose near the halfway line two minutes later and this time, Davies' free kick was met by Clarke but his header went off-target.
A stoppage came for Rose to receive treatment after going down on the halfway line, with the midfielder then passed fit to continue.
A foul on Kee gave the away side a rare chance to put pressure on the Town goal with a free kick in a dangerous position but after McConville whipped it around the wall towards the near popst, Killip got across to push the ball clear.
Jons fizzed a shot wide from 25 yards on 43 minutes, then as three minutes of added time was signalled, Kee missed the best chance of the game so far when he lifted a shot well over the bar from 10 yards.
A shot from the lively Jackson from 20 yards was bravely blocked by Rose for a corner, which eventually led to another after a good block by Dembele. This time, the delivery from the left was met by defender Ben Richards-Everton but he planted his header wide.
Accrington had been on the attack for much of the closing stages of the half but neither side was able to break the deadlock before the half-time whistle and with the keepers rarely called into action, the goalless scoreline was a fair one.
No changes were made before the restart and Town began positively but it was Accrington who had the first chance of the second period, as Jackson's shot was pushed away for a corner by Killip.
The visitors were then given a golden opportunity to take the lead when McConville was brought down inside the penalty area after Donacien had beaten Dembele and sent a low cross over from the left. The referee pointed to the spot and KEE made no mistake, sending Killip the wrong way as he fired the ball low and hard into the net.
Town's response saw Summerfield turn and shoot just over the bar from 25 yards as they looked for a quick equalisr.
But instead, they were to fall further behind on the hour as the visitors grabbed a second goal. Kee did well to dig a cros out from the right and it was met by McCONVILLE, whose header bounced down off the bar and into the net.
Jones sliced a shot wide from the edge of the box for Town but Accrington were now firmly in the driving seat and they won a corner on the right, although it was cleared.
Cardwell replaced Jaiyesimi with 25 minutes left on the clock as Grimsby boss Russell Slade made his first substitution.
A foul midway inside the Town half gave Accrington another opportunity but McConville's free kick flew just over the bar.
At the other end, Rose hit a shot from 20 yards that looped into the arms of Chapman, before Jackson missed the target as the visitors attacked again.
Matt was booked for a foul near the centre circle as Town struggled for a spark that would get them back into the game, with the away side looking comfortable.
That spark looked like it may come from Dembele when he worked his way towards the penalty area on 75 minutes before passing to Jones, although the striker was unable to cause a serious problem for Chapman.
Jones was then replaced by Hooper for the last 14 minutes but Town's hopes of getting anything from the game were put to bed once and for all when Accrington made it 3-0 a minute later. The ball broke for JACKSON on the left and he cut into the box unchallenged before showing good composure to beat Killip with an excellent finish at the near post.
A Mariners corner on 83 minutes led to Clarke heading wide, before Dembele saw a shot blocked an another home corner was dealt with by the Stanley defence.
Jackson was replaced by Mallik Wilks with three minutes to go and the substitute had a chance to make it 4-0, only for Collins to put in a good block that ensured the ball went out for a corner.
The fourth official sgnalled four added minutes before a double substitution for the visitors saw Niall Watson and Josh Hmami introduced in place of McConville and Kee.
Cardwell had a chance to get the Mariners on the scoreboard in the third of the added minutes but his shot was saved by Chapman, who had enjoyed a comfortable afternoon in the Accrington goal.
And that proved to be the home side's last chance to get a consolation goal as the visitors saw out the remainder of the game to claim a clean sheet and the points.
Town will look for an instant improvement whene they travel to Crewe Alexandra on New Year's Day.
30 Ben Killip
12 Zak Mills
2 Ben Davies
5 Nathan Clarke (C)
6 Danny Collins
8 Mitch Rose
20 Diallang Jaiyesimi
19 Luke Summerfield
27 Siriki Dembele
29 Jamille Matt
10 Sam Jones
3 Paul Dixon
14 Karleigh Osborne
7 James Berrett
25 Martyn Woolford
17 Harry Cardwell
9 JJ Hooper
21 Scott Vernon
1 Aaron Chapman
26 Callum Johnson
4 Janoi Donacien
3 Mark Hughes
5 Ben Richards-Everton
8 Scott Brown 37'
7 Jordan Clark
6 Liam Nolan
11 Sean McConville (C)
29 Billy Kee
10 Kayden Jackson
16 Max Stryjek
20 Reagan Ogle
15 Ross Sykes
41 Josh Hmami
14 Mekhi Leacock-McLeod
44 Niall Watson
19 Mallik Wilks
Attendance: 4,188 (79)
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Next Up: Crewe Alexandra