Grimsby Town fell to two first-half goals from Chris Porter and Brad Walker as they lost 2-0 to Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road in Sky Bet League Two.
The home side opened the scoring on 12 minutes, in front of an attendance of 3,292 (with 269 Town fans), when Porter latched onto Zoumana Bakayogo’s low cross from the left-wing to fire it past Mariners goalkeeper Ben Killip from six yards out.
Crewe doubled their lead on 34 minutes as Walker’s powerful strike from the edge of the area darted into the top-right corner.
Killip was in goal, with a back four of Ben Davies, Nathan Clarke (c), Karleigh Osborne, and Paul Dixon in front of him.
James Berrett, Luke Summerfield, and Martyn Woolford made up the midfield three, with Diallang Jaiyesimi, Siriki Dembele, and Scott Vernon up top.
The Mariners’ bench consisted of Danny Collins, Mitch Rose, Harry Clifton, Sam Kelly, JJ Hooper, Harry Cardwell, and Jamille Matt.
The first chance of the game came on six minutes when Jaiyesimi connected to a perfectly-timed curling cross from Davies, but Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt palmed it away from the bottom-left corner as the home side rushed to clear.
But David Artell’s men broke the deadlock six minutes later when Porter was alone at the back-post to put it past Killip and make it 1-0.
Killip prevented the home side from making it two on 28 minutes when he made a great stop at his near-post to keep out George Cooper’s powerful effort from the left-wing.
Town came close on 31 minutes as Vernon connected to Summerfield’s in-swinging free-kick from the left, but his volley on the half-turn was saved well by Garratt.
Mariners midfielder Martyn Woolford was booked for a foul a minute later.
The home side made it 2-0 on 34 minutes when Killip parried the free-kick out before Walker’s volley fired into the top-right corner.
Town had a chance to get a goal back on the brink of half-time when referee Seb Stockbridge awarded the Mariners an indirect free-kick in Crewe’s area following a pass-back, but Davies’s strike flew over the bar.
Half time: Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Grimsby Town
Town boss Russell Slade made one change at the break, bringing on Matt for Jaiyesimi as the Mariners switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
The first chance of the second period came for the home side on 52 minutes when Cooper found space on the left, before striking it from the edge of the area but his effort bounced off the bar before Clarke cleared it for Town.
Town received their second booking of the game three minutes later when Berrett was shown the yellow card.
The Mariners continued to try put pressure on the home side as Dixon’s lofted ball was just a little bit too far for Dembele and Vernon at the back-post on 67 minutes, as Town searched for a way back into the game.
Killip was called into action again on 70 and 75 minutes as he made two good saves to deny a Michael Raynes header, and a free-kick from Ainley respectively.
Town made their second change of the game with 11 minutes left to play as Cardwell came on for Vernon, before making their final sub on the brink of full time when Hooper replaced Dembele.
Full time: Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Grimsby Town
1 Ben Garratt
2 Perry Ng
3 Zoumana Bakayogo
4 Brad Walker
6 Michael Raynes
16 Tommy Lowery
14 Callum Ainley
28 Conor Grant
11 George Cooper
7 Chris Porter
9 Chris Dagnall (C)
13 Dave Richards
27 Sam Stubbs
21 Oliver Finney
18 Harry Pickering
10 Jordan Bowery
20 Charlie Kirk
24 Lewis Reilly
30 Ben Killip
2 Ben Davies
3 Paul Dixon
14 Karleigh Osborne
5 Nathan Clarke (C)
7 James Berrett
20 Diallang Jaiyesimi
19 Luke Summerfield
27 Siriki Dembele
21 Scott Vernon
25 Martyn Woolford
6 Danny Collins
15 Harry Clifton
11 Sam Kelly
8 Mitch Rose
17 Harry Cardwell
9 JJ Hooper
29 Jamille Matt
Attendance: 3,292 (269)
Referee: Eddie Ilderton
Next Up: Morecambe (H) (Sat 6th Jan)