Ten-man Cheltenham Town registered a hard fought Coca-Cola League Two point in an absorbing encounter at Blundell Park this afternoon.
The Robins will be by far the happier of the two sides having missed a penalty on the stroke of half time before losing defender Ashley Eastham to a pair of yellow cards 34 minutes from the end of this one.
Goalkeeper Scott Brown made a string of impressive saves to prevent Grimsby Town, second bottom at the start of the day, nicking three invaluable points to boost their survival hopes by making their numerical advantage count.
It was a game high on passion and commitment but low on quality, as perhaps you would expect in a match with so much at stake for two sides in the bottom four at the start of the day.
Grimsby began it in the dropzone, six points adrift of Mark Yates' side so there was added pressure on the Lincolnshire team, who are also scrapping to preserve their Football League status after a difficult campaign of their own, to get the result.
Cheltenham though have been impressive away from home under Yates and have yet to be beaten in four matches.
It's perhaps a mark of how far the side have come in such a short space of time that they did not fold under intense pressure here, and they now have the opportunity to capitalise on these results with two home fixtures (against Rochdale and Darlington) on the horizon.
TEAM NEWS: Midweek loan acquisition Danny Andrew made his first start for the club at left back, deputising for the injured Lee Ridley. The Peterborough United full back was joined in the starting XI by Josh Low, coming in for David Bird who dropped to the bench with Michael Pook after starting the 1-1 draw at Bradford City a fortnight ago. Boss Yates kept faith with the midfield diamond shape that has served him so well in his opening three games in charge, spearheaded again by David Hutton.
12th minute: Cheltenham should have moved into the lead with 12 minutes on the clock when David Hutton had slipped a ball into the path of Justin Richards down the inside right channel, but the striker dragged his a shot inches past the left upright
17: Mariners' midfielder Michael Leary fizzed a 20 yarder over the crossbar after Michael Townsend had initially charged down a strike by Peter Bore, the Grimsby right back.
21: Scott Brown pulled off a fantastic save 21 minutes in to deny Jean-Louis Akpro from 20 yards after a move down the Grimsby left opened up a shooting opportunity.
22 BOOKING: Eastham was the first player to go into the referee's book for a clear foul on Akpro a couple of feet outside the Cheltenham penalty area. The home side though wasted the resulting free-kick.
25 BOOKING: Hutton placed a free-kick wide of the right post after Joss Labadie had been brought down by Paul Linwood on the edge of the Grimsby box. The centre half was carded for his indiscretion.
32: The next chance fell to Cheltenham, and to new boy Andrew who curled a 20-yard free-kick into the defensive wall after Labadie had been upended by Leary. The ball squirmed loose and fell to the midfielder, himself on loan from West Bromwich Albion, who planted a dipping volley over the crossbar with the help of a Grimsby knee. The resulting corner, however, came to nothing.
41: Nicky Featherstone called Brown into a routine save with a strike from the edge of the box as half time approached.
43 PENALTY: Cheltenham were handed their chance to make the breakthrough from the spot when Leary had brought down Richards after Julian Alsop had flicked on David Pipe's free-kick from the right. The midfielder felt Richards, who was going away from goal, had used his elbow to cause a face injury in the lead up to the challenge, but it was a straight forward decision against the Grimsby number 19 in front of the noisy home support.
45 PENALTY MISS: It took almost two minutes for things to settle down but when they did, Richards, who notched from the spot against Bradford City last time out, pulled his effort onto the crossbar before the Grimsby defence hacked it to safety.
HALF TIME: 0-0
55: Michael Coulson's deflected shot from 20 yards handed Featherstone the chance to whip in a ball from the left, but Paul Linwood headed over from six yards.
56 SENDING OFF: Cheltenham were reduced to ten men when Eastham picked up his second yellow of the afternoon for a late challenge on Akpro after the pacey striker had raced to meet a ball down the right wing. Gallinagh dropped back to plug the gap in the Blackpool loanee's absence, while Richards joined the midfield effort.
21: Brown produced a fine stop to deny Akpro from an acute angle down the right channel after Coulson had played in the striker with a measured ball.
59 SUBSTITUTION: Michael Pook was pressed into action, replacing Hutton three minutes after the sending off.
61: Cheltenham were fortunate not to concede a penalty shortly after the hour when Mariners right back Bore burst through Andrew and Townsend down the right flank. It was right on the edge of the box though, and the home side squandered the chance to take advantage of the free-kick a foot outside the penalty area.
64: Next Brown pulled off an amazing save to deny Adam Proudlock at point blank range, the striker cursing the Cheltenham number one for producing a fantastic save after meeting Coulson's pinpoint delivery from the left.
68 SUBSTITUTION: Akpro was withdrawn and replaced with Wes Fletcher with a little over 20 minutes remaining.
69: Low fashioned a chance for Richards with 69 minutes on the clock, heading down Andrew's centre into the path of the striker but Colgan was equal to the task.
71: Featherstone called Brown into another notable stop, this time from 25 yards as Grimsby stepped up the pressure in an effort to make the extra man count.
78 BOOKING: Low was cautioned for a poor challenge 12 minutes from time.
81 SUBSTITUTION: Grimsby's final switch of the game was to replace striker Proudlock with Danny North.
81: Low was presented with a great chance to sneak a goal at the other end, latching onto Richards' ball from the right but the winger couldn't keep his shot down after some nimble footwork 12 yards from goal.
87 BOOKING: Brown was booked for time wasting with three minutes remaining of the 90.
88: First Richards, with a header, and then Low were handed chances to nick the points in a frantic finale but both narrowly missed the target.
90+2: Substitute North was flashed a yellow card for dissent deep into injury time.
90+5: How Fletcher didn't convert the final chance in this game is anyone's guess. The substitute was presented with a glorious chance at the death to stab home from close range with the last kick of the game but fortunately from Cheltenham's perspective, it flew over the target and into the hugely frustrated home support housed behind that goal.
FULL TIME: 0-0
GRIMSBY TOWN (4-4-2): Colgan (c); Bore, Linwood, Atkinson, McCrory; Featherstone (Jarman 76), Sweeney, Leary, Coulson; Akpro (Fletcher 68), Proudlock (North 81). Subs not used: Overton, Widdowson, Heywood, Hudson.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2): Brown; Pipe, Eastham, Townsend (c), Andrew; Labadie, Gallinagh, Hutton (Pook 59), Low; Richards, Alsop. Subs not used: Richardson (Gk), Hammond, Hayles, Bird, Lewis, Haynes.
REFEREE: P Tierney
ATTENDANCE: 3,334 (114 from Cheltenham)
Murry Toms at Blundell Park