Grimsby Town 1 Darlington 2

Darlington went away from Blundell Park with all three points for the fifth successive season.

They scored twice in the opening 15 minutes and then held on despite Grimsby Town's second-half fightback when they reduced the arrears.

But Grimsby's lack of a big man up front was again evident and in fact, apart from the goals, neither goalkeeper was called seriously into action.

Mariners' boss Mike Newell was looking for a reaction after the mid-week 4-0 thumping from Dagenham, but Grimsby started in similar vein and quickly found themselves two goals down.

The first came on six minutes when Rob Purdie shot goalwards and on-loan striker Billy Clarke neatly back-heeled the loose ball into the net.

If that was not bad enough for Grimsby, who have now gone 22 league games without a win, things got even worse nine minutes later.

A corner was only half cleared and former Mariner Ricky Ravenhill volleyed home with a terrific goal from the edge of the box.

Grimsby were all at sea and could find no answer to Darlington's neat one-touch play.

But things did improve after Rob Atkinson, a young defender from Barnsley who was back on loan, went on to replace skipper Matt Heywood on 34 minutes.

Atkinson slotted in neatly alongside 18-year-old Ryan Bennett, who took the skipper's armband and they carried on where their partnership left off last season.

Grimsby's other loanee Jean-Paul Kalala had an equally impressive game back in Grimsby's colours and he gave the home side hope with a goal on 71 minutes.

The ball came into his path from midfielder Jamie Clarke and from the edge of the box his shot found the bottom corner with a slight deflection.

For the first time in the game the visitors were a little rattled as Grimsby pushed forward winning plenty of corners and throw-ins, but they just could not manage a second goal to earn a point.