GRIMSBY Town picked up a point from a goalless draw against Wrexham in front of the television cameras at the Racecourse Ground.
In a game of few clear chances, the Mariners defended well against last season’s Blue Square Bet Premier runners-up but lacked the quality needed in attack to force a goal and win the game.
Instead, they were left with their second consecutive 0-0 draw after last week’s stalemate with Nuneaton Town.
But although the result left them still searching for a first victory of the season, it may come to be viewed as a good point against one of the division’s stronger sides.
Greg Pearson came in for Andy Cook up front for Town, with Derek Niven and Frankie Artus also restored to the starting line-up in place of Andi Thanoj and Louie Soares.
James McKeown began in goal, with Sam Hatton, Shaun Pearson, Nathan Pomd and Aswad Thomas making up the defence.
Joe Colbeck, Craig Disley, Niven and Artus were the midfielders, with Anthony Elding partnering Greg Pearson in attack.
The Grimsby substitutes were Cook, Thanoj, Bradley Wood, Dayle Southwell and Simon Ford.
Wrexham had plenty of experience in their attack, with player-manager Andy Morrell naming himself alongside Brett Ormerod as part of a three-man forward line that also included Adrian Cieslewicz.
After a quiet opening to the game, a mistake by Pond midway inside his own half on eight minutes almost let the hosts in but McKeown raced off his line to get to the ball first.
Soon afterwards, Shaun Pearson had to concede a corner after a free kick had been whipped into the penalty area but Declan Walker’s delivery was pushed away by McKeown.
A cross from left-back Neil Ashton was touched by the head of Niven and ricocheted back off Morrell, who headed wide.
Town attacked through Colbeck on the right on the quarter-hour but when the winger pulled the ball back, he could only find home skipper Dean Keates, who cleared the danger.
Shaun Pearson won a challenge with Morrell two minutes later and continued his run, getting the ball back and running into the box before hitting a cross-shot over the bar.
A foul by Shaun Pearson on Morrell gave the home side a free kick inside the Town half but when the ball was eventually sent into the area by Neil Ashton, Elding was there to clear.
Colbeck was shown the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Ormerod but again, the resulting free kick did not cause any problems for the Town defence.
Town won their first corner on 23 minute but the kick by Artus did not get past defender Jay Harris, who comfortably headed clear.
Another corner came when a back-header from defender Chris Westwood went out of play before keeper Joslain Mayebi could get to it. Again though, it did not lead to a goalscoring opportunity, as the referee’s whistle sounded for a free kick to Wrexham for a push.
Town had a good chance just before the half-hour, when a cross from Thomas on the left was headed back across goal by Elding but Keates got his head to the ball before Greg Pearson could connect with an overhead kick.
Shaun Pearson earned himself a booking by hauling down Cieslewicz near the halfway line soon afterwards.
The referee gave a free kick but the home side would have preferred to play on, as the ball was immediately sent into the box, where Ormerod hit a volley beyond McKeown and into the net.
The goal did not count as the referee chose not to allow the advantage and the free kick then caused no problems.
Niven became the third Town player to be yellow-carded when he caught midfielder Harris with a late challenge.
Wrexham were starting to pile the pressure on as half-time began to loom and Harris and Keates were involved again to give Johnny Hunt a chance on 38 minutes, although his shot was blocked.
Another home corner was sent into the danger zone by Walker soon afterwards and McKeown was unable to get through a crowd of players to get to it but with nobody managing to meet the delivery, it went out for a goal kick.
Thomas won a corner for the Mariners after a challenge with Walker and after the initial delivery, Elding looked to find Pond with a low ball into the box but it proved to be just too far ahead of the centre-back and keeper Mayebi gathered.
At the other end, a home penalty shout came when a 20-yard shot by Cieslewicz cannoned off Shaun Pearson but the handball claim was correctly waved away, as the ball hit the former Boston man on his back.
Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, the game remained goalless at the break.
Overall, it had been a half of very few genuine opportunities for either side, with Wrexham perhaps shading it in terms of possession and pressure.
No changes were made before the restart and the first chance of the second half came for the home side three minutes in. Ormerod cut the ball back for Harris to let fly from 25 yards but his first-time shot was saved by McKeown.
Wrexham’s Hunt was booked for a foul on Colbeck on the edge of the centre circle but Grimsby were unable to capitalise from the free kick, as the ball was hacked away after it had been chipped to the edge of the box.
Another penalty appeal from the home fans came when Morrell went down as he tried to turn on the ball inside the box, with Shaun Pearson in close proximity. Again, play on was the call.
Hunt was penalised for a handball inside his own half and from the resulting free kick, the Mariners could have taken the lead. Hatton chipped the ball into the box and Elding was left on his own in front of goal but could only hook it wide.
At the other end, the home side then had an opportunity of their own to break the deadlock when a free kick was delivered to Westwood at the far post.
The defender looked certain to score with his powerful header but somehow, McKeown produced a stunning save, diving to block the effort from point blank range.
Town bosses Rob Scott and Paul Hurst had made the first substitution between the two chances, with Cook replacing Greg Pearson up front.
Harris was shown a yellow card for a foul on Colbeck, before a good cross from Colbeck on the right led to Elding heading at keeper Mayebi.
Town won a free kick when Colbeck was fouled by Ashton as he looked to run onto a ball near the by-line on the right. But the opportunity was wasted by Artus, who elected to shoot from a narrow angle and sent the ball well off-target.
Colbeck was becoming more prominent and he was involved again on 73 minutes, slipping the ball to Hatton on the right, but Cook could not get any power or direction on his header from the right-back’s cross.
Wrexham were still looking to create problems and they won a free kick when Cieslewicz was fouled 25 yards out.
The Town defence held firm on that occasion but the pressure continued with two corners in quick succession, both of which were dealt with by McKeown.
A foul by Pond on Ormerod right on the edge of the penalty area gave the hosts a free kick in a dangerous position with 11 minutes to go but when the ball was rolled back to Ashton on the edge of the box, his low shot was blocked.
Artus was replaced by Thanoj on 80 minutes, just before a spell of Grimsby possession that eventually led to Pond smashing a shot over the bar.
Town were the team going forward and looking to force a breakthrough but had been unable to find the necessary quality in the final third to seriously trouble Mayebi or his defence.
Wrexham substitute Danny Wright, on for Morrell, forced a corner with three minutes to go but Pond, who had been impressive in the Town defence, headed the ball away from the flag.
The home side were reduced to ten men when Harris picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Disley. The referee allowed play to continue as Disley pushed the ball through for Elding but again, the striker could not apply a finish.
Four added minutes were signalled to be played at the end of the game and the hosts poured forward in search of a last-gasp winner.
But that goal would not come and both sides had to settle for a point, with Grimsby now turning their attentions to Monday’s home clash with Mansfield Town.