GRIMSBY 4-1 TOWN
The Town slumped to their third defeat of the season after being comprehensively beaten by Grimsby in front of the live television cameras.
On a ground where the Hatters have rarely enjoyed success, the hosts were three goals to the good at the break following strikes from Joe Colbeck, Andy Cook and Ross Hannah.
After searching for a way back into the game early in the second half the hosts went 4-0 on 70 minutes when Dean Beckwith headed into his own net.
Grimsby had chances to extend their lead before Scott Rendell, who had come closest in the first half for the Town, pulled a goal back for Paul Buckle's side 15 minutes from the end.
That was the only bright spot on an otherwise forgettable evening on Humberside.
Buckle kept the faith with the same side that drew 0-0 against Wrexham last Saturday but, as the game began in driving rain, it was the hosts that took the lead in the seventh minute. A cross from the right was headed goals by Cook but his effort was kept out well by Mark Tyler. However, the loose ball bobbled into the path of Colbeck and he made no mistake six yards out to poke home.
Hurt, the Town responded, playing some patient football, looking to utilise the pace of Andre Gray down the right flank, and, on 18 minutes, JJ O'Donnell ended a intricate move by curling narrowly over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Despite being behind the Hatters were enjoying the lion's share of possession and, after Stuart Fleetwood tested home goalkeeper James McKeown with a low shot from distance, the stopper made an even better save 10 minutes later to keep his side ahead. Jon Shaw's searching pass took a nick off the head of a Grimsby defender straight into the path of Rendell but the striker's instinctive header was kept out brilliantly by the Mariners' keeper.
By now the Town were well on top but their night took another turn for the worse on 40 minutes when the Mariners doubled their lead. It was another scrappy effort: this time a left-wing cross from Aswad Thomas was headed against the crossbar by Nathan Pond before Cook dived to head home as the Hatters failed to clear the danger in the ensuing panic in the six-yard box.
However, it got worse three minutes later when the Mariners made it 3-0. A long ball over the top looked harmless enough but Beckwith allowed Hannah to get the better of him to steal in and poke a shot past the exposed Tyler.
Buckle substituted Janos Kovacs at the break, introducing Connor Essam and the Town almost got a goal back six minutes into the second half when Rendell was again denied by a good stop from McKeown following a right-wing corner from Jake Howells.
The Town boss then made his second change of the night when Yaser Kasim came on for Ronnie Henry in a switch that saw Alex Lawless drop to right-back.
Grimsby almost made it four on the hour when Tyler did well to keep out a Colbeck effort destined for the bottom corner with, gratefully, Cook unable to turn home the loose ball on the stretch.
Cook, though, came close on 66 minutes when his towering header thundered off the underside of the crossbar following a right-wing corner by Shaun Pearson.
By now the Hatters had made their third and final change with Jake Robinson replacing Fleetwood, and the Town almost had a sight of goal on 68 minutes when unselfish play from Rendell fed Shaw but his effort from 15 yards was blocked.
The Town were plugging away in search of a route back into the game but their task, became beyond them on 70 minutes when Beckwith headed past Tyler to give the Mariners a four-goal advantage.
However, the Hatters managed to get their name on the scoresheet on 76 minutes when Rendell bundled the ball home from close range after McKeown had spilled a piledriver from Howells.
It was almost 4-2 seconds later when Rendell found space in the Grimsby penalty area to turn and fire a low shot at goal that McKeown gathered at the second attempt.
Grimsby though were hunting a fifth and the Town had to thank Howells for some last-ditch defending to keep the Mariners at bay.
Rendell came close to grabbing a second goal with three minutes left before Tyler made a fine sprawling stop to keep out Dayle Southwell's effort after the home substitute had raced clear of the Town defence.
TOWN: Tyler, Henry, Beckwith, Kovacs, Howells, O'Donnell, Lawless, Rendell, Gray, Fleetwood, Shaw. Subs: Rowe-Turner, Kasim, J. Robinson, Essam, Walker.
GRIMSBY: McKeown, Wood, Thomas, S Pearson, Pond, Niven, Disley, Neilson, Colbeck, Hannah, Cook. Subs: Hatton, Miller, Artus, Southwell & Elding