GRIMSBY Town retained the Lincolnshire Senior Cup after a penalty shoot-out victory over Lincoln City in the final at Sincil Bank
The Mariners, fielding a strong line-up and backed by a noisy travelling support numbering more than 800, dominated for most of the game and led through an Ian Miller goal seven minutes before half-time.
But Town could not kill the game off with a second goal and they were punished when Nicky Nicolau levelled for the Imps on 76 minutes.
That meant the game had to be settled on penalties and substitute Anthony Elding was the man to win the game for Grimsby, completing a perfect five spot-kicks after Lincoln’s Jake Sheridan’s kick was saved by James McKeown.
Town started with McKeown in goal, behind a defence of Sam Hatton, Shaun Pearson, Miller and Aswad Thomas.
Joe Colbeck, Craig Disley, Derek Niven and Louie Soares were the midfielders, with Greg Pearson partnering Andy Cook in attack.
The Grimsby subs were Anthony Elding, Frankie Artus, Bradley Wood, Dayle Southwell and AndI Thanoj.
Lincoln had the first real attack of the game on three minutes, when Conner Robinson burst into the Town box, before playing the ball back to Nicolau but his cross was cleared by Thomas.
Town had a shout for a penalty turned down on 10 minutes when Greg Pearson looked to have been pulled down inside the area but referee Darren Drysdale allowed play to continue.
The first corner of the game went to the hosts but the delivery from the flag was comfortably headed away by Niven.
The Mariners almost took the lead just after the quarter-hour, when a cross from Thomas on the left found its way to Disley on the penalty spot but his shot hit both posts before bouncing out.
Seconds later, the away side had another chance but this time, Greg Pearson dragged his effort wide of the far post after Colbeck had squared the ball across the penalty area.
A further opportunity came when a free kick from the left was delivered by Soares onto the head of Cook but he could not get the direction on the ball to trouble home keeper Jake Turner.
Grimsby were getting on top as the 20-minute mark passed and they won their first corner at the midway point in the half but Colbeck’s kick was punched clear by Turner.
Lincoln created a chance on 24 minutes, when the tricky Robinson created an opening down the right and found Bradley Barrowclough, who looped a first-time shot wide of the far post.
Colbeck won a corner for Town just before the half-hour and after his initial kick was headed away, the former Hereford winger’s second cross was headed wide by Greg Pearson.
A shot by Soares from 25 yards was then deflected through to Turner, before Niven was penalised for a foul on Nicolau inside the Town half. The resulting free kick went straight through to McKeown.
Niven was booked after another foul, this time on Sheridan, but again, Lincoln failed to create any danger from the free kick.
Town almost broke the deadlock when Disley threaded a ball through for Soares but his shot was deflected out for a corner.
From the flag, the Mariners did take the lead, when Soares’ delivery was met by MILLER and he guided the ball beyond the line, despite the best efforts of the Lincoln defence to clear.
A foul on Disley gave Grimsby another chance to put pressure on their hosts’ goal but Hatton’s free kick went just too far ahead of Greg Pearson for him to make a connection with a header.
Soares and Sheridan were both shown yellow cards after an incident on 45 minutes, before two minutes of added time were signalled by the fourth official.
A foul by Thomas gave the home side a free kick ion a dangerous position inside the added time but the ball was eventually cleared after a weak punch by McKeown.
That proved to be the last action of a half that had been dominated by the Mariners, who took a deserved lead into the dressing rooms at the break.
No changes were made before the restart and town had the first opportunity of the second half within a minute. Colbeck’s driving run down the right led to a low cross that had to be cut out for a corner before it could reach Greg Pearson.
At the other end, a shot from Robinson was blocked for a corner, which would have led to a Lincoln equaliser had it not been for a great block by Hatton on the line after a shot from close range.
Town were looking for a second goal and another chance came when a low cross from Soares on the left found its way to Colbeck but he fired over the bar.
A mistake by defender Ryan Leggett then presented the ball to Cook on the edge of the Lincoln penalty area but Will Rawdon got back well to challenge the striker.
A cross-shot by Soares was deflected behind for a corner soon afterwards but keeper Turner claimed the ball easily underneath his crossbar.
Karl Cunningham replaced Frazer Cobb for the hosts on the hour, with Town still in control of the game.
The Mariners could have made it 2-0 two minutes later, when Greg Pearson found Colbeck on the right and his low cross was met by Cook but the shot was saved by Turner.
The same combination linked up on the right again moments later, although this time it was Pearson shooting wide after Colbeck’s pass.
Vadaine Oliver was introduced up front for Lincoln and he almost made an immediate impact, bundling the ball towards goal but being thwarted by the onrushing McKeown, who blocked it for a corner.
Cook was replaced by Elding in what was Town’s first substitution of the game on 67 minutes.
Grimsby then won a free kick for a handball, 30 yards out and slightly right of centre. Thomas shot from it but Turner dived to his left to push the ball clear.
Thanoj came on in place of Disley for the last 20 minutes, just before Elding sliced a volley well wide from 25 yards.
Elding had a better opportunity on 75 minutes, flashing a first-time shot just over the bar after a low cross from Soares.
But for all their dominance, the Mariners could not get the vital second goal and they were made to pay with 14 minutes to go, when NICOLAU picked the ball up on the edge of the Town area and curled a shot past McKeown to level the scores.
Suddenly, Town had it all to do once more and they responded by sending on Southwell for Greg Pearson in a bid to reclaim their advantage and avoid a penalty shootout.
Grimsby won a corner with seven minutes left but it came to nothing, as Soares sent a shot over the bar after Colbeck’s delivery.
A cross from Colbeck on the right was headed away before it could reach Southwell as Town kept searching for what would surely be a winning goal.
Five added minutes were signalled at the end of the regulation 90, giving both sides more time to push for a decisive goal.
But with no further chances for either side, the match ended level and the destiny of the cup had to be settled from the spot.
After three perfect penalties from both sides, McKeown saved from Sheridan to hand the initiative to the Mariners.
And after Grimsby’s remaining penalty takers all held their nerve to score, the cup remained with the men from Blundell Park.
PENALTIES (Lincoln first)