GRIMSBY Town moved back to the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier with a comfortable home victory over Tamworth.
The Mariners took the lead on six minutes, when captain Craig Disley headed a Scott Neilson corner past keeper James Severn.
Town had chances to extend their lead before half-time but they had to wait until after the interval to make the points safe, with Ross Hannah notching his ninth goal for the club.
Tamworth were given a chance to halve the deficit when they were awarded a penalty shortly after the hour but Adam Cunnington’s spot-kick was saved by James McKeown.
After that, the Mariners were largely untroubled as they closed out the win, which coupled with Newport’s defeat by Kidderminster, moved them back into top spot in the league table.
Neilson replaced Dayle Southwell in what was the only change to the Town side that drew with Ebbsfleet United last time out.
That meant the Crawley loanee took up the left-wing position, with Marcus Marshall switching to the right and Southwell dropping down to the bench.
McKeown began in goal, with Sam Hatton, Shaun Pearson, Nathan Pond and Aswad Thomas forming the defence.
Neilson started on the left of midfield, with Marshall on the right and Derek Niven joining skipper Disley in the centre.
That left Hannah and Andy Cook as the strikers, with Ian Miller, Joe Colbeck, Greg Pearson, Southwell and AndI Thanoj all named as substitutes.
Tamworth named former Town striker Tommy Wright in their starting XI, with another ex-Mariner on the bench in the shape of Peter Till.
The Lambs made the journey from the Midlands looking to improve on their mid-table league position, while Grimsby were looking to bounce back from the disappointment of a midweek postponement against Gateshead by collecting maximum points.
Tamworth had the first chance of the game, when Wright squared to Marcus Kelly on the edge of the penalty area but his shot was blocked by Hatton.
The visitors had the better of the early stages, with Duane Courtney’s long throws being used as a way of getting the ball into the Town box.
Grimsby’s first opportunity came when Thomas crossed from the left but the ball was flicked away by defender Tom Marshall before it could be met by Hannah.
A Thomas shot was then deflected over for a corner, which led to a shot from Hannah being blocked for another corner after a low delivery from Neilson.
The Mariners pressure was now building and they took the lead from the flag, when Neilson’s perfect delivery was met by DISLEY, who headed past visiting keeper Severn with six minutes on the clock.
Appeals for a penalty came from the Town fans in the Main Stand after a cross from Thomas on the left appeared to hit the arm of defender Sam Oji but the referee waved play on.
The hosts were on top at the quarter-hour and they had a chance to double their lead when Neilson found Disley inside the box with a throw-in and the ball eventually broke for Cook but he was unable to get a shot in.
Tamworth began to come back into the game as the 20-minute mark approached, keeping the ball well and winning two corners but failing to pose a significant threat to McKeown’s goal.
Town were playing a direct style at times, looking for the head of Cook with long balls from defence.
A long pass from Pearson looked to have given Hannah a chance on 23 minutes but the offside flag went up against the Bradford loanee.
A foul by Oji gave Grimsby a free kick in a promising position soon afterwards but Neilson’s left-wing delivery was poor and the ball was cleared.
Cook went close to doubling the Town advantage on the half-hour, when he got the ball on the edge of the box and beat two defenders. But the striker was unlucky, seeing his shot crash against the post and bounce to safety.
The hosts kept possession and were straight back on the attack as the ball was played to Neilson, who curled an effort over the bar from 20 yards.
Another chance fell for Cook nine minutes before the break as he met Marshall’s chipped cross from the right but the striker’s glancing header dropped just wide of Severn’s far post.
A foul by Thomas gave Tamworth a free kick on their right but McKeown was able to make a comfortable stop after Kelly’s kick was headed on.
Another foul by Thomas in a similar position gave the visitors another set-piece opportunity and this time, Lloyd Kerry found Kelly on the edge of the box but he fired well off-target.
Hannah took advantage of a quick free kick for the Mariners on 43 minutes, finding the space to cut in from the right and drill a low shot that forced keeper Severn to dive and make a stop.
Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and with no further opportunities for either side, Disley’s goal remained the difference between the two at the halfway mark.
No substitutions were made before the restart and Town had the first chance of the second half, when Cook looked to have beaten Severn but could not find a finish, before Hannah also had an attempt blocked before being fouled on the edge of the box.
Cook was booked for protesting with the referee in an attempt to convince the official that the foul was inside the area, before Hatton’s free kick hit the Tamworth wall.
The lead was only to remain at 1-0 for a matter of seconds though, as the ball was worked back by the Mariners after it was cleared and when Neilson found HANNAH inside the box, there was only one result as the striker hammered his left-footed shot into the roof of the net.
Tamworth had posed little threat to McKeown’s goal, with Kerry’s sliced shot from 25 yards the only real effort from the visitors so far since the break.
Till replaced defender Matthew Regan as Lambs boss Marcus Law made the first change of the game, shortly before a free kick from Kelly on the Tamworth right was comfortably caught by McKeown.
Till was involved in the action soon afterwards, volleying wide of the near post on 61 minutes.
Some neat play down the Tamworth left brought them a corner two minutes later and Kerry’s kick was headed away by Pearson, before Marshall looked to have won a goal kick, only for the referee to rule the Town man had got the last touch and point instead to the flag.
The resulting corner was caught by McKeown but the referee had spotted an off-the-ball infringement by a Town defender and had no hesitation in signalling for a penalty.
That gave Tamworth a chance to cut the deficit in half but it was a chance not taken, as Cunnington’s kick was brilliantly saved by McKeown, diving full-length to his left to push the ball away.
Cunnington was booked for a foul on Thomas inside the Town half, before another foul gave the Mariners a free kick near the left corner flag, which resulted in Cook heading over the bar.
Colbeck came on in place of Neilson with 17 minutes left to play, with Marshall switching to the left to allow the substitute to take up his usual right-wing position.
Adriano Moke won a corner off Hatton for Tamworth but Pearson cleared and Marshall and Colbeck launched a quick break which led to a Grimsby throw level with the visitors’ penalty area.
Kerry curled a shot straight into McKeown’s arms on 80 minutes, before Greg Pearson replaced Hannah up front for Town.
Tamworth kept looking for a way back into the game and they could have had a goal back through Cunnington but he sent his header over the bar from eight yards.
Southwell was sent on for Marshall with five minutes to go and as the game moved into three added minutes, the Mariners looked to have a chance to make it 3-0 after Disley launched a quick break but Colbeck could only smash a shot well over the bar.
Town now take a break from league action, as they host Havant and Waterlooville in the FA Trophy on Saturday.