GRIMSBY Town moved into the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy with an away victory over Blue Square Bet South side Welling United.
In a game which produced three penalties and ten yellow cards, the Mariners fell behind but fought back well to end the home side’s 10-game winning streak.
Ross Hannah, back in the side after completing a permanent transfer from Bradford City, had a chance to put Town ahead from the penalty spot but saw his effort hit the post.
Instead, it was Joe Healy who opened the scoring for Welling from the second penalty of the afternoon.
Town equalised through Jamie Devitt on the half-hour, again from the spot.
And Marcus Marshall’s goal soon after half-time proved enough to win it for the Mariners, who are now two rounds and three games from a possible Wembley final appearance.
Town bosses Rob Scott and Paul Hurst signalled their intentions by naming possibly their strongest starting XI, with Hannah going straight back into the attack.
Shaun Pearson was also recalled to the line-up after Nathan Pond’s return to parent club Fleetwood Town.
James McKeown started in goal, with Sam Hatton, Pearson, Ian Miller and Bradley Wood making up the defence.
Devitt made his first start since re-signing for the club on loan from Hull City and he came into a midfield that also included Craig Disley, Derek Niven and Marshall.
Richard Brodie was chosen to partner Hannah up front, with Andy Cook dropping to the bench, alongside Simon Ford, Joe Colbeck, Andi Thanoj and Dayle Southwell.
Welling came into the game looking to beat Blue Square Bet Premier opposition for the third time this season, after knocking Newport and Woking out of the competition already.
Jamie Day’s promotion challengers included former Town attacker Kiernan Hughes-Mason, who was out to prove a point after being released by the Mariners at the end of last season.
Town created the first opening with a minute on the clock as Marshall looked to get into the box. The ball almost broke for Brodie but it was cleared.
A foul by Pearson gave the home side a free kick on five minutes and after left-back Jack Obersteller’s curled delivery was not touched by anybody, the ball came back off the post.
A break from Town through Hannah and Brodie brought the first corner of the game but the Mariners could not turn it into a goalscoring opportunity.
Another corner came just before the 10-minute mark and after Devitt’s delivery came in towards the far post, a handball decision against Anthony Acheampong was given by the referee, who pointed to the penalty spot after issuing the game’s first yellow card to the defender.
That gave Grimsby the perfect opportunity to open the scoring but Hannah could not take it, hitting the post with his spot-kick.
Another foul by Pearson, this time on striker Ross Lafayette, brought a free kick for the home side, which led to Hughes-Mason firing over the bar after Obersteller’s set-piece.
Defender Fraser Franks then sliced a shot over the bar, shortly after another Obersteller free kick.
A Town corner came after Disley found Marshall on the right and his cross was headed behind. Again, the Mariners could not trouble home keeper Sam Mott from the flag, as the ball was cleared.
A good chance came when Disley found Devitt and he crossed for Hannah but the striker could only chip his shot over the bar.
The second penalty of the game came on 25 minutes and went to the home side, with Pearson the man punished for a foul on Lafayette inside the box.
The centre-back was booked for the challenge and HEALY made no mistake from 12 yards, sending McKeown the wrong way to open the scoring.
Another penalty was given on the half-hour, when Hannah rolled the ball to Devitt and he was fouled by right-back Loui Fazakerley, who was yellow-carded. This time, DEVITT put the ball on the spot and sent Mott the wrong way to restore parity.
A cross from Hannah was cleared by midfielder Scott Kinch as Town looked to complete the turnaround and force their way ahead in the contest.
McKeown had to get down to stop a shot from Fazakerley, before Brodie and Kinch became the fourth and fifth players to be shown yellow cards after an altercation between the two.
A foul on Kinch gave Welling a free kick five minutes before the break and Obersteller’s delivery was cleared for a corner by Pearson. Fazakerley’s kick was caught by McKeown.
A cross from the Welling right almost fell for Kurtis Guthrie in the last minute of the half but Wood got there first and Guthrie was booked for fouling the Town left-back.
Pearson then had to block a shot as the game moved into stoppage time, before being caught on the head and having to go off the field, leaving the Mariners to play out the remaining two minutes of added time with ten men.
With no further chances for either side before the referee’s half-time whistle, it remained level at the interval.
No changes were made before the restart and Hatton sent a shot wide of Mott’s goal within 20 seconds of play resuming.
The home side’s reply came through Kinch, who hit the angle of post and crossbar with a shot soon afterwards.
The pressure continued with a ball into the box for captain Lee Clark, who forced McKeown to make a good save. The ball went out for a corner, which led to Acheampong heading over the bar.
A chance for the Mariners came with a left-footed volley from Disley that beat Mott but took a deflection on its way wide for a corner.
That led to another corner and after the home side failed to clear inside their own box, MARSHALL took advantage to smash the ball past Mott and into the net, with 52 minutes on the clock.
Another shot from Kinch was saved by McKeown as Welling looked for an immediate reply, seconds before another effort deflected off Hatton for a corner.
Obersteller took another corner for the hosts just before the hour but it was headed out for a Town throw.
Both sides made their first substitutions of the game on 60 minutes, with Colbeck replacing Devitt for Grimsby.
Player-manager Day came on for Kinch for the home side, who also replaced Hughes-Mason with Theo Fairweather-Johnson.
Hannah was the next name into the referee’s notebook for a foul but McKeown got to the resulting free kick after Obersteller’s delivery was flicked on.
Day had a chance to equalise on 71 minutes after good play by Lafayette but he could only shoot over the bar.
Wood was shown the yellow card soon afterwards, becoming Town’s fourth and the game’s eighth man to be booked.
A home appeal for what would have been the game’s fourth penalty was turned down as Welling put together a spell of pressure around the 75-minute mark.
Yet another booking came soon afterwards, this time for Day after a foul on Wood. The free kick was aimed at Pearson but the ball went out for a goal kick.
And the referee had his notebook out again on 79 minutes, showing McKeown the yellow card for time-wasting.
Cook replaced Brodie in the Town attack for the last nine minutes and his first run almost led to a chance for Hannah but Acheampong got back to cut out the danger.
A Grimsby break with seven minutes to go saw Hannah find Cook but the substitute kept going instead of looking for Marshall and the chance was eventually lost.
Striker Jon Main replaced Clark for the home side with three minutes left to play, as they looked for the goal that would send the tie to a replay at Blundell Park.
Colbeck beat his man on the right on 89 minutes and sent a cross over but the ball was cleared.
Disley had a shot blocked for a corner as the game moved into four minutes of stoppage time but the ball was cleared as the Mariners looked to keep the ball close to the flag.
Cook won another corner as Grimsby looked to run the clock down and soon afterwards, they almost had another opening as Hannah played the ball forward for Cook but the offside flag was raised against the former Barrow forward.
That proved to be the last chance for either side, leaving the Mariners to celebrate reaching the last eight of the competition and taking another step along the road to Wembley.
Grimsby are back in league action on Friday, when they make the long trip to Braintree Town.