GRIMSBY Town came through their biggest pre-season test so far with their 100 per cent record still intact after they recorded a hard-earned victory over League One Peterborough United at Blundell Park.
The Mariners were forced to come from behind for the first time this pre-season after Kieran Sadlier fired the visitors into an early lead.
But Town grew into the game and they scored a deserved equaliser through Marcus Marshall six minutes after the break.
After that, Grimsby looked the more likely to go on and win the game as the away side posed less of an attacking threat.
And so it proved, as Nathan Arnold struck six minutes from time to give the Mariners possibly the most impressive result of their eight friendly wins so far.
Town started with Andy Warrington in goal, behind a back four of Toto Nsiala, Shaun Pearson, Josh Gowling and Richard Tait.
Arnold began on the right side of midfield, with Craig Disley and Craig Clay lining up in the middle and Marshall on the left.
Padraig Amond and Jon-Paul Pittman continued their strike partnership after both scored in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Notts County.
Peterborough opened the scoring with the first real chance of the game on three minutes, when SADLIER let fly with a 20-yard drive that beat Warrington and found the top corner of the net.
It was the first time the Mariners had been behind in a game so far this pre-season and meant their ability to get back into a game would be tested for the first time.
Grimsby’s first attack of note saw a ball pushed through the middle for Amond to chase but visiting keeper Dion Henry got to it first.
Town then went close when Pittman turned well inside the Peterborough box but when the shot came in, it was blocked for a corner.
The flag-kick quickly led to a second and after it was half-cleared, the ball was worked back into the penalty area, only for the offside flag to go up.
Pearson was required to calmly clear his lines after stopping a low cross from the visitors’ right on 17 minutes, before a free kick taken by Clay at the other end proved too strong for the run of Gowling and went out for a goal kick.
After Peterborough’s fast start to the game, the Mariners were growing into the contest as the 20-minute mark passed.
The goal was ruled out though, after the offside flag went up against the striker. And they thought they were back on level terms when a free kick from Arnold was headed back across goal by Gowling and put into the net by Amond.
The next chance came when Arnold ran at the away defence before passing to Pittman, who fired over the bar from the edge of the box.
Nsiala made a good run down the right soon afterwards before winning a throw-in level with the penalty area, although Town could not turn it into a goalscoring opportunity
A free kick in a dangerous area on 28 minutes also ultimately failed to cause a problem, as Clay’s chip into the box was caught by keeper Henry.
Peterborough won a corner on the left on the half-hour but they too failed to trouble the opposition keeper, as a far-post header sailed over Warrington’s bar.
The Town keeper was called into action two minutes later though, diving to tip a curling shot from Joe Newell away for a corner.
Amond saw a shot blocked at the edge of the box on 35 minutes, before the striker was involved again two minutes later, chipping a shot on the turn through to the keeper after he had dropped Arnold’s right-wing cross.
The game stopped after Tait went down injured inside his own penalty area on 41 minutes but the defender was passed fit to play on after receiving treatment from Town physio Dave Moore.
Amond and Pittman linked up to create a chance for Arnold two minutes later but his shot was blocked for a corner.
One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances created by either side, it was the visitors who went into the dressing rooms with the lead.
James McKeown made his return from illness as a half-time substitute, replacing Warrington in the Town goal.
Marshall won the first corner of the second half two minutes in but the delivery from the flag was punched clear.
A driving run through midfield by Clay looked like it could lead to another opportunity for the hosts but his pass for Amond was too strong and the chance was gone.
The goal came after some great play around the box involving Arnold, Amond and Pittman and after Arnold found MARSHALL, the winger finished well to make it 1-1. But the equaliser was not long in coming, as the Mariners levelled the scores on 51 minutes.
Town were now full of confidence and were playing some excellent attacking football as they looked for a second goal.
Pittman sent a fierce drive just over the angle of post and crossbar from 20 yards after neat play involving Disley and Amond.
That proved to be Amond’s last involvement in the game, as he and Marshall were replaced by Andy Monkhouse and Jack Mackreth just after the hour in a move which led to Arnold moving alongside Pittman up front.
Josh Sunter replaced Gowling in the Town defence with 20 minutes to go, before a double Peterborough substitution saw Marcus Maddison and Jon Taylor come on.
Nsiala had to cut out a low cross at the expense of a corner but the danger from the flag was eventually cleared after some pinball in the Town box.
A good run by Arnold into the Peterborough box set up a chance for Pittman with nine minutes left but the striker’s effort was blocked for a corner.
Soon afterwards, Monkhouse connected with a header from a right-wing cross as Town continued to press for a winner but the ball was headed off the line.
It did not take long for that second Grimsby goal to come though, as ARNOLD let fly from 25 yards and the ball took a deflection off a defender as it looped into the net.
One added minute was played at the end of the game and despite Peterborough finishing on the attack, Town held firm to make it eight wins out of eight as their build-up to the season continues.
They are next in action on Thursday, when they travel to Grantham Town in the Lincolnshire Senior Cup.