SECOND half goals from Paddy McLaughlin and Aswad Thomas ensured that the Mariners started their pre-season campaign with a 2-0 victory over neighbours Cleethorpes Town.
It was the rarity of a team from Grimsby, who play in Cleethorpes, visiting the team from Cleethorpes, who play in Grimsby and a record crowd of 1,000 packed the Bradley Football Development Centre for the occasion.
The Mariners won their opening pre-season fixture of last campaign 12-3 on this ground against Grimsby Borough but the Owls provided a much stiffer test for the Football Conference side.
Managers Rob Scott and Paul Hurst selected an attack-minded line-up for the first half with Andy Cook leading the line in front of the trio of Dayle Southwell, Scott Neilson and Liam Hearn.
Andi Thanoj and new signing Scott Kerr from York anchored the midfield with a defensive quartet of Sam Hatton, Thomas, youngster Ellis Humble and trialist Chris Doig and a 19 year old keeper from Bolton called Tom Turner.
The visitors started comfortably, passing the ball around well and utilising the advanced Thomas down the left-flank to force an early series of corners, which were well dealt with by the home defence.
But for all their possession, the Mariners struggled to trouble former Grimsby youngster Scott Drury in the home goal; Kerr floating a free kick just wide and Cook being caught offside when clean through.
There were 17 minutes on the clock when the Mariners registered their first effort on target with Cook heading down into Drury’s hands from a Neilson corner.
The best opening of the first quarter went the home side’s way when skipper Darren Hanslip hurdled two challenges before lofting an effort just over the crossbar.
And then another former Town youngster, Lee Stephenson, released Jack Debnam on the left but the England Colleges’ international fired over from the edge of the box.
As the half progressed the Mariners settled more and they added more pressure in the final five minutes of the half with Southwell, Cook and Neilson all coming close.
There were a flurry of changes at half-time with James McKeown taking his place in goal and Shaun Pearson, Joe Colbeck, McLaughlin, Craig Disley, Ross Hannah and Lenell John-Lewis being introduced for Humble, Southwell, Thanoj, Kerr, Hearn and Cook respectively.
The Mariners switched to a more orthodox 4-4-2 with the left side again being an area of joy for them in attack.
It was Irishman McLaughlin who broke the deadlock on the hour, striding forward to place a delicate left-foot effort into the bottom corner.
And it was 2-0 shortly after. Thomas linked up well with Neilson and the former was on hand to finish from close-range.
The experienced Doig, who lists Nottingham Forest and Northampton amongst his former clubs, can be pleased with his steady contribution before being replaced by Humble.
Grimsby went in search of more goals and only some fine goalkeeping stopped Hannah and John-Lewis from adding to the scoreline.
The Mariners spent much of the second half on the offensive with McKeown rarely called into action and that will give them something to build on before Friday’s trip to Winterton Rangers.
Mariners: Turner, (McKeown); Hatton, Thomas, Doig (Humble), Humble (Pearson); Thanoj (McLaughlin), Kerr (Disley); Southwell (Colbeck), Neilson, Hearn (Hannah); Cook (John-Lewis).