Alfreton Town’s six-match unbeaten run in the Blue Square Bet Premier ground to a halt at the Impact Arena on Tuesday night when Grimsby Town emerged the victors by two goals.
Yet the only difference between the teams were the two well taken strikes as the Reds matched their counterparts in a game played throughout at a high tempo, but just could not find a way past keeper James McKeown who pulled off several fine saves.
And compared to the brace of 5-2 defeats that the Reds suffered against the former League club last season, there was a vast improvement this time around, and the Mariners were flattered by the winning margin.
Nathan Arnold’s low drive was held by McKeown in the 14th minute after taking a return pass from Dan Meadows, then Connor Franklin’s free-kick from distance was fumbled by the keeper before catching it at the second attempt.
Reds’ keeper Jon Stewart needed to parry Scott Nielson’s 22nd minute shot, then Josh Law intervened to concede a corner as Craig Disley played Nielson ominously through.
Stewart had to deal with an overhit back-pass from Meadows in the 35th minute, but Theo Streete’s clearance from the corner sent Arnold sprinting for goal with Dan Bradley in support.
However McKeown somehow managed to smother Bradley’s shot from Arnold’s pass, then a deep cross from Anthony Wilson picked out Ben Tomlinson at the back post only for his diving header to loop up off Bradley Wood before nestling in the keeper’s arms.
Grimsby swept ahead six minutes before the break when Nielson curled an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net after Joe Colbeck had laid off Derek Niven’s pass.
A low angled drive from Colbeck was held low at his near post by Stewart on 55 minutes, then Ross Hannah went close for the visitors after a neat turn on the edge of the area.
A lethal cross from the right by Arnold in the 65th minute flashed through the six-yard box with Wilson just unable to make contact for a certain goal, then four minutes later Paul Clayton’s effort from a tight angle was cleared off the line by Shaun Pearson.
Hannah sent Anthony Elding clear down the right flank but he fired across goal, then Ross Killock had to head behind an awkward cross from Elding.
Bradley fired over for the Reds from 25 yards, then back at the other end Hannah’s angled drive was diverted behind by Darran Kempson.
Clayton was left with a clear opportunity eight minutes from time after Bradley’s pot-shot had been deflected into his path, but he tried to place the ball from six yards and McKeown pulled off the save of the night.
Grimsby snatched a second goal on 88 minutes when Hannah smashed the ball past Stewart from eight yards after Nielson had carved the opening, then Bradley almost scored for the sixth successive game in added time only to be denied once again by McKeown.
ALFRETON: Stewart; Law, Kempson, Killock, Franklin, Meadows (Russell 85),Streete, Bradley, Arnold, A.Wilson, Tomlinson (Clayton 60).other subs: Taylor, Franks, Worsfold.
Att: 1192 (inc. 572 away fans)