Blackpool 1-3 Grimsby Town
SAM Jones scored twice as Grimsby Town recorded an excellent away victory against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
After the disappointment of last week’s big home defeat by Doncaster Rovers, the Mariners produced a good response to get back to winning ways and send more than 1,500 travelling supporters home happy.
Danny Collins opened the scoring to give Town a deserved first-half lead but an Andrew Boyce own goal three minutes before the break gave the hosts a route back into the game.
Sam Jones struck deep into first-half stoppage time to ensure Grimsby went into the dressing rooms with the advantage at the interval though, before adding another on 70 minutes to make the points safe.
Town boss Marcus Bignot made one change to his starting XI after the 5-1 reverse to the League Two champions-elect, with Collins coming into the defence as Brandon Comley made way.
James McKeown continued in goal, with Zak Mills, Boyce, Collins and Danny Andrew making up the back four.
Gavin Gunning moved to play in a defensive midfield role behind Jamey Osborne, Chris Clements and Dan Jones, with Calum Dyson and Sam Jones again given the nod as the strike partnership.
Sean McAllister and James Berrett made returns to the substitutes’ bench, where they were joined by Shaun Pearson, Craig Disley, Dominic Vose, Tom Bolarinwa and Adi Yusuf.
Blackpool were looking to continue their play-off push, with the Seasiders sitting just one place and two points outside the top seven at kick-off.
They would look to the likes of Kyle Vassell and Bright Osayi-Samuel to bounce back from last week’s narrow loss to Luton Town, which came after a run of five wins from their previous six games.
A cross from Osborne was headed away after good work by Sam Jones provided the Mariners with the opportunity to mount their first real attack on four minutes.
The home side then won the first corner two minutes later but it came to nothing as a short ball was played back to the taker Jordan Flores, who sent it out of play for a goal kick.
A shot from distance by Dyson missed the target, before a cross-shot from Osborne had too much for the Everton loanee to get on the end of.
Blackpool’s first chance fell to Osayi-Samuel on 13 minutes, when he beat Mills and fired a shot which was deflected out for a corner. McKeown failed to get to the delivery from the flag but Tom Aldred’s header went just wide.
A long throw from Andrew on the quarter-hour was cleared, as was the follow-up cross, and after a Blackpool attack broke down, Mills went on a great run to the edge of the box which eventually led to a corner after he had played the ball to Dan Jones.
The corner was half-cleared but the Mariners kept possession and within seconds, they took the lead when a cross from Andrew on the left evaded home keeper Dean Lyness and was met by COLLINS, who headed the ball into the net at the far post.
A stoppage came for Sam Jones to receive treatment on an injury on 24 minutes but he was passed fit to play on.
A cross from Kelvin Mellor on the Blackpool right was cleared as the hosts looked to create a chance to get themselves level but it was Town who had started the game the better and got themselves into a deserved lead.
A home free kick was headed clear by Boyce, before a powerful effort from Brad Potts called McKeown into serious action for the first time, with the keeper making a good save.
Gunning received treatment after he went down with a head injury just after the half-hour and the Mariners were temporarily reduced to 10 men when he went down the tunnel to have stitches on a cut before returning to rejoin the action.
A shot from Jack Payne was blocked by Boyce as Blackpool kept looking for a way back into the game.
And the home side found themselves on level terms out of nothing with three minutes to play before the break. A ball from home captain Andy Taylor looked to be going through to McKeown but Boyce’s diving header took it past the keeper and into the net for an own goal.
Blackpool won a free kick in a dangerous position as the game moved into three minutes of added time but it did not cause any problems as the ball was headed clear.
Potts missed another chance as the home side looked to be finishing the half the stronger but a Town free kick gave them the chance to create some danger of their own. Andrew’s ball into the box was headed on by Boyce but Dyson’s volley was pushed away for a corner by Lyness.
The Mariners were not to be denied though, as Andrew’s flag-kick led to a scramble in the penalty area, with the ball eventually dropping for SAM JONES to make it 2-1 at the interval.
No changes were made before the restart and Blackpool won an early corner, which was cleared as far as Flores, whose shot was saved by McKeown. The home side kept possession but they could not make it count as the ball was eventually cleared.
A Town corner was cleared at the near post, before McKeown had to concede a corner at the other end when he punched a cross over his bar. The flag-kick was punched clear by the Mariners’ keeper.
Gunning shot wide after a run forward on 56 minutes, then Vassell headed wide for Blackpool a minute later from a cross into the Town box.
The Mariners were looking comfortable in their lead, defending well and dealing with any Blackpool threat.
The hosts sent Jamille Matt on in place of Andy Taylor and Ian Black for Flores as they looked to extra attackers to get them back into the game.
But that plan did not work as Town got what looked set to be a decisive third goal on 70 minutes. SAM JONES was the man on-target again, taking the ball off a defender and running forward into the box before slotting past Lyness to make it 3-1.
Potts went close to reducing the Blackpool deficit back to one goal almost immediately but his shot hit the side-netting and Grimsby’s newly-established two-goal cushion remained intact.
The home side almost got themselves back within one goal again on 76 minutes, with Vassell’s effort looking to be heading into the net, although McKeown was adjudged to have got to it before it crossed the line.
Dan Jones was replaced by Vose for the last 12 minutes, before the hosts responded with a change of their own, sending Mark Cullen on for Vassell.
A Town penalty claim on 83 minutes was turned down by referee Darren Deadman after Osborne went down under a challenge inside the box.
Gunning then found himself in trouble after a foul on Cullen, which then led to a reaction from both players. Both were booked by the referee.
Disley replaced Gunning with 89 minutes on the clock after Black became the latest to go into the referee’s notebook.
McKeown made a good save from Osayi-Samuel’s instinctive shot as the hosts kept looking for a late lifeline.
Another yellow card was shown, this time to Aldred for a foul, and the Mariners almost had a fourth goal when Vose curled a shot just wide.
Pearson came on for Collins for the final few seconds of the contest, with Town remaining solid and eventually being left to celebrate a deserved victory.
They are next in action on Good Friday, when Cambridge United are the visitors to Blundell Park