Grimsby Town 0 Southport 0GRIMSBY Town and Southport shared the points after a wind-affected contest at Blundell Park.
The goalless draw means the Mariners remain outside the play-off places in the Conference table but they rarely looked like scoring against the struggling Sandgrounders.
Both sides struggled to adapt to the blustery conditions but there were opportunities to break the deadlock, with visiting keeper Danny Hurst forced to make good saves from Ross Hannah and substitute Oumare Tounkara.
At the other end, Karl Ledsham could have snatched all three points for the visitors late on but his drilled volley went just past the post.
Three changes were made to the Town side after the FA Trophy victory over Tamworth last time out.
Paul Bignot replaced Sam Hatton at right-back, while Scott Neilson replaced Paddy McLaughlin on the left side of midfield and Hannah was preferred to Tounkara in attack.
James McKeown started in goal, with Bignot, Shaun Pearson, Clayton McDonald and Jamal Fyfield forming the defence.
Alex Rodman, Craig Disley, Scott Kerr and Neilson were the midfielders, with Lenell John-Lewis alongside Hannah up front.
The Grimsby substitutes were Hatton, Tounkara, Joe Colbeck, Andy Cook and Andi Thanoj.
Southport were looking for the points to help their fight against relegation, with the Sandgrounders in trouble at the wrong end of the Skrill Premier table.
The visitors named former Town loan striker Richard Brodie in their starting XI, while midfielder Ledsham would be another to watch.
A foul by John-Lewis gave Southport an early free kick 35 yards out but John O’Sullivan blasted it high over McKeown’s bar.
A free kick in the other direction was driven in by Kerr towards the far post and in the strong wind, keeper Hurst had to tip it away for a corner.
Scott Brown had a shot blocked for the away side and Hannah was twice caught offside for the Mariners in an otherwise quiet opening to the game.
A strong run by Rodman down the Town right on 11 minutes took him into the penalty area but his low cross was cleared for a throw-in.
Brodie won a corner for the visitors five minutes later and it produced the first good chance of the game, as O’Sullivan’s delivery was headed just over the bar by defender Aristote Nsiala.
The centre-back then became the first of the afternoon to be shown a yellow card for a foul on Rodman. Kerr’s delivery from the free kick was good but Pearson could only head over the bar.
Danny Hattersley hit a weak shot straight at McKeown on 20 minutes after a run from O’Sullivan through the middle.
Then, Fyfield and Rodman linked up well to create a shooting chance for the winger but his effort was blocked for a Grimsby corner.
A foul on Kerr earned Brodie a booking and gave Town a chance to get the ball into the box again from the resulting free kick. Kerr’s delivery almost fell for Pearson but the ball was hacked clear, before Kerr’s return ball was put behind for a corner, which was headed away from danger.
The hosts continued to attack and Hannah won another corner on 27 minutes, which was cleared by Scott Brown.
Another flag-kick came after Southport failed to clear their lines after an excellent run down the right by Rodman. Kerr’s low ball was prodded towards goal and after keeper Hurst missed it, David Fitzpatrick had to clear off the line.
O’Sullivan was fouled by Kerr to give Southport a free kick midway inside the Grimsby half but Ledsham’s shot from it hit the wall.
Ledsham then flashed a shot across McKeown’s goal from long range on the left but the Town stopper was able to watch it go past his far post.
At the other end, another corner came when a low cross from John-Lewis was cut out but Disley was penalised for a foul as he met Kerr’s delivery.
Fitzpatrick worked some space for a shot from 20 yards on 34 minutes but it flew well over the bar.
McDonald did well to step in and halt the progress of Hattersley four minutes later as the striker looked to be about to pull the trigger from close range.
A Southport corner from the right three minutes before half-time was volleyed away by Bignot for another one, which led to O’Sullivan’s ball being headed wide for a goal kick.
One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, the scores remained level at the interval.
Osayamen Osawe replaced Brodie for the visitors before the restart and the first chance of the second half saw Neilson shoot high and wide from outside the penalty area.
A shot from John-Lewis cleared the crossbar from 20 yards soon afterwards, before Hannah beat a Southport offside trap but could not beat Hurst, whose arm came up to block the striker’s shot.
A free kick from Hannah on the right was headed out for a corner by Nsiala and the kick was cleared as far as Bignot, whose first-time shot went a long way wide of Hurst’s goal.
Rodman won a Town corner on the right on 56 minutes but from it, McDonald could only glance a header wide at the near post.
Southport were starting to see more of the ball in attacking areas, while Colbeck replaced Neilson as Town boss Paul Hurst looked for something to change the game in his side’s favour.
Kellen Daly was booked for a foul on Rodman, who had switched to the left, but Kerr’s free kick was cleared after the ball had been headed back across the face of goal by Disley.
Tounkara replaced Hannah in the town frontline with 20 minutes to go, while Vinny Mukendi came on for Hattersley for the visitors at the same time.
A low shot from Fitzpatrick fizzed just wide of the mark as Southport threatened to break the deadlock.
Keeper Hurst then made an excellent double save on 75 minutes, keeping out a shot from John-Lewis before getting to McDonald’s headed rebound.
A foul by Pearson on O’Sullivan gave the away side a free kick to the right of the Town penalty area but the ball from it was headed away for a throw by McDonald.
Cook was sent on in place of John-Lewis for the last 12 minutes of the game as Hurst again looked to freshen up his attack.
A chance came for Town soon afterwards when the ball fell for Tounkara near the penalty spot but Hurst was equal to the Frenchman’s shot.
A low Southport corner then led to Ledsham lifting a shot onto the roof of the Osmond Stand at the other end.
Chances were beginning to come for both sides now, as both looked to win the game and collect all three points.
An opportunity arrived for the Mariners when a cross from Bignot found Disley at the far post but he could only plant his header into the side-netting.
Moments later, Ledsham struck a volley at the far post for Southport but there was a sigh of relief around the home areas of the stadium as he drilled it back across and out for a goal kick.
Colbeck had to get back well after Southport broke following a Town corner but the winger stuck to his task and stopped the danger.
Three added minutes were signalled by the fourth official but neither side could take advantage of it and the game ended goalless.
The Mariners are next in action when they travel to Dartford on Tuesday.