GOALS in either half from Nathan Arnold and Jon-Paul Pittman kept the Mariners’ 100% winning record in pre-season alive with a 2-1 win at North Ferriby United.
It was a hard-fought victory for Paul Hurst’s men against the reigning FA Trophy winners but they did enough to shade an entertaining encounter in front of nearly 700 fans in the East Riding.
There were first appearances in a black and white shirt for goalkeeping coach Andy Warrington and midfielder Andy Monkhouse. Josh Sunter lined up at right back with the rest of the back four being made up of Josh Gowling, Shaun Pearson and Richard Tait.
Marcus Marshall started on the right with Josh Venney and Craig Disley in the centre, Monkhouse slotting on the left.
Arnold started up front alongside Padraig Amond, who was looking to continue his excellent scoring record in the friendlies so far.
There was a familiar face in the hosts’ starting XI with former Mariners’ youngster Mark Gray lining up at centre half.
And it was the home side who forced the first effort on target after five minutes. Big striker Tom Denton rose highest to meet a cross but his header was comfortably claimed by Warrington.
Town responded well with Monkhouse turning smartly in midfield and firing in a 25-yard shot that was always rising over the crossbar.
But it was the home side who almost took the lead on ten minutes. A clever move down the right ended with the ball dropping nicely for Russell Fry. The midfielder fired in an effort from 18 yards that rebounded off the angle of crossbar and post to safety.
That was a wake-up call for the Mariners and they soon began to take control of the game. Monkhouse was again the main threat, advancing from deep but dragging his effort wide of the goal from 25 yards.
Disley then fed the ball down the channel for Amond, who fired in a left foot shot straight at Tom Nicklin from a narrow angle.
Venney was the next Town player to try his luck from distance, picking up a short free kick from Monkhouse and arrowing a long-distance effort narrowly wide of the far post.
Sunter and Disley then head to be alert to keep out first Denton and then Fry at the other end before the Mariners took the lead on 33 minutes.
It was another sublime pass from Disley to set Amond free in the left channel. Nicklin did well to smother the first effort but it fell kindly for Arnold to convert the rebound from inside the six-yard box.
Within moments, Amond had two chances to double the advantage. Firstly he was denied by Gray’s head as he looked to convert Sunter’s right wing cross and then Nicklin pulled off a fine save to deny the former Morecambe man from close range.
After that let off, the hosts equalised on 37 minutes when Ryan Kendall latched onto a back pass from Sunter to slot the ball beyond Warrington.
Manager Hurst opted to make just two changes at the break. Pittman and Craig Clay replacing Monkhouse and Disley. The substitutions saw Arnold come out to the left wing position.
Within three minutes of the restart the Mariners should have been awarded a penalty. Pearson rose highest to meet a corner and saw his header charged down by the arm of Gray but nothing was given.
The hosts broke at pace but Kendall was denied by a superb last-ditch challenge from Sunter before substitute Lewis Clarkson rifled an effort across the face of goal.
Amond had a goal chalked off for offside before Clay saw an effort deflected behind for a corner after a good run on the left from Arnold.
Two further changes followed for the Mariners with youngster Harry Clifton replacing Venney and Toto Nsiala coming on for Sunter.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining the Mariners regained their lead with an excellent goal from Pittman.
It was the striker’s back heel that sent Tait clear on the left. The former Cambridge defender pulled the ball back for Amond, who collected smartly and laid off for Pittman to lash the ball home from 15 yards.
The game moved into the last ten minutes with Jack Mackreth replacing Marshall and the hosts being forced into a substitution when the referee advised Clarkson to leave the field after a series of heavy challenges, most notably on Clifton and Gowling.
It was the Town youngster who came close to adding a third on 86 minutes when he nodded a header on target from Amond’s cross before Pittman saw a left-footed effort roll inches past the far post after a pull back from Mackreth.
Mariners: Warrington; Sunter (Nsiala), Gowling, Pearson, Tait; Marshall (Mackreth), Venney (Clifton), Disley (Clay), Monkhouse (Pittman); Arnold, Amond.