GOALS in each half from Jon-Paul Pittman and Ross Hannah, the latter a penalty, helped Grimsby Town to a routine 2-0 win over Welling United at Blundell Park.
Pittman’s third of the season opened the scoring just before half-time, and although the visitors enjoyed a brief flurry after the interval, Hannah came off the bench to hammer home a spot kick after a foul on Paul Bignot.
Manager Paul Hurst was forced into two changes for the Londoners’ visit; Jack Mackreth came in for the suspended Lenell John-Lewis and Bignot replaced Andrew Boyce, who had seen his loan spell from neighbours Scunthorpe cut short.
And those enforced changes meant a shift around in the starting XI. Toto Nsiala moved along the backline to partner Shaun Pearson at centre half, whilst Scott Neilson took a place just behind lone frontman Pittman.
Despite those alterations the home side settled quickly and they looked to force an opening through strong surges into the box from Paddy McLaughlin and Carl Magnay but neither player could get their final shot away.
The best chance of the opening quarter came for the visitors in fortuitous circumstances on 22 minutes.
Pearson struggled with a long ball that held up in the wind and he could only succeed in lobbing a difficult back pass through to James McKeown.
The Town stopper picked the ball up and referee Mr Brooks had no option but to award the indirect free kick in the Mariners’ six-yard box.
Wings’ player/manager Jamie Day received the ball from the set piece but he saw McKeown redeem himself when he rushed out to superbly tip the shot around the post.
That spurred the Mariners into life and Neilson tested Jamie Turner at the other end with a curling drive from 20 yards.
The Mariners’ midfielder was then presented with another chance as the game approached the half-hour mark.
Scott Brown picked up a loose ball in midfield and broke at pace, playing a quick one-two with Pittman in the process.
His cross was perfect for Neilson but the former Bradford man took one touch to control and this allowed the Wings’ Ben Jefford to get back and toe the ball away for a corner.
When the Mariners’ opener did arrive on 37 minutes, it came as no surprise that their top scorer had a major hand in it.
Patient build-up on the right from Bignot and Neilson saw the latter whip in a delightful cross that Pittman smashed home from 12 yards on the left side of the goal.
The former Wycombe man timed his run to perfection, getting in front of his marker, and made no mistake with the finish.
Welling responded well after the interval and on 54 minutes they had an excellent chance to equalise.
The impressive Day threaded a pass through for the run of Tyrone Marsh, a first half substitute for the injured Kieron St Aimie, but at an acute angle, the striker could only find the stand behind McKeown’s goal.
Just two minutes later and Marsh was presented with an even better opportunity. It came after wonderful link-up play from Harry Beautyman but when he laid it off, the striker could only lift his effort over the crossbar.
Hurst responded by bringing Hannah into the fray for Mackreth and, within two minutes, the former Matlock star had his name on the scoresheet.
Neilson was again the difference, receiving the ball in midfield, pirouetting to avoid two challenges and then picking out the run of Bignot from deep.
The Mariners’ full back raced onto the ball, took a touch into the area and was felled from behind by Malachi Hudson.
His fellow defender, Chris Bush, was booked for dissent in the aftermath but Hannah kept his nerve to smash his spot kick straight down the centre of the goal for 2-0.
Bush was lucky not to escape a second yellow when he crudely hacked down Hannah in the centre circle just moment later. And former Mariner Jamal Fyfield soon replaced the big defender.
Hurst brought on Nathan Arnold for his Town debut in the final 15 minutes and he came closest to adding to the hosts’ tally with a powerful 30-yard volley that almost caught Turner unawares.
But after the goalscoring heroics of the Alfreton fixture, the Mariners settled for two goals and three points against a side they had failed to beat last season.
Mariners: McKeown; Bignot, Magnay, Nsiala, Pearson; Mackreth (Hannah), Brown, Clay, McLaughlin (Disley), Neilson; Pittman (Arnold). Subs not used: Walker, Doig.
Wings: Turner; Fazakerley, Jefford, Day, Fagan, Bush (Fyfield); Beautyman, Gallagher, St. Aimie (Marsh); Nouble, Hudson. Subs not used: Butcher. Williams, Corne.