A late burst from the Terriers secured their passage into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.
Town had looked down and out with five minutes of the game to go, but Martin Paterson pounced to level matters before the unfortunate Aswad Thomas scored past his own ’keeper.
Grimsby had twice gone ahead courtesy of Ross Hannah and Craig Disley, while Oliver Norwood’s free-kick had levelled matters for a short time.
A replay would have probably been a fair result and just for the effort and quality Grimsby produced at Blundell Park.
Mark Robins’ team selection showed that he was paying the upmost respect to Skrill Premier outfit Grimsby Town.
Apart from the injured Joel Lynch, he named the same starting eleven that lost narrowly at Burnley on New Year’s Day for the FA Cup Third Round clash.
Grimsby, who sit 4th in the Conference, were missing a few key men, but fielded top scorer Ross Hannah (8) who enjoyed a brief stint with Bradford City in 2011.
Phil Jevons notched twice in a 3-0 victory the last time the two teams met back in 2007, whereas Grimbsy were 4-1 winners the last time Town visited Blundell Park.
Martin Paterson scored three goals at Blundell Park during a loan spell at Grimsby in 2006 and almost made it four with less than a minute on the clock. The forward produced a good save from James McKeown with his head courtesy of Tommy Smith’s cross.
It was a busy few minutes for McKeown who failed to deal with Danny Ward’s drive, but was saved by the offside flag as Paterson looked to bounce before clinging on well to Dixon’s right-footed shot.
Paterson then went close twice as an opening goal for Town looked like the only eventuality.
They don’t call if the magic of the FA Cup for no reason though, and by the mid-point of the half Town were behind.
Mariners’ winger Joe Colback had already given Town a taste of what he could do with a cross that flashed across Alex Smithies six yard box – and when he tried again the Terriers had no answer. The winger used his pace to go past Murray Wallace
before cutting the ball back expertly to leave Ross Hannah with a tap in.
A far more balanced feel to the game took over following Grimsby’s opener with Andy Cook causing problems for the Terriers at the back, while at the other end Hammill drove a low effort into McKeown’s side netting via Chris Doig.
Town needed a positive start to the second half and thankfully Oliver Norwood delivered it.
Hammill was hacked to the ground 25 yards from goal and Norwood did the rest; sweetly curling home his fourth of the season.
The parity lasted just ten minutes though, as Grimsby showed the fighting spirit synonymous with the FA Cup. Smith had blocked Cook’s effort well, but when the ball looped up into the air midfielder Craig Disley was perfectly placed to nod past Smithies.
The home team had Town on the ropes and would have sealed their passage into the Fourth Round had it not been for the reactions of Smithies. The ‘keeper did superbly to tip over Ashwad Thomas’ close range header before the same man headed just wide from a resulting corner.
The tie looked to be heading away from Town, but within an instant they were level. McKeown’s effort to save Duane Holmes’ effort wasn’t the best and Paterson pounced on the rebound to level matters with less than four minutes to play.
It was all the Terriers at this stage and they saved themselves the effort of a replay – courtesy of a Grimsby player.
Dixon and Sean Scannell did the hard work down the left with the former smashing the ball across the box, which the unfortunate Thomas diverted into his own goal.
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Alex Smithies (C); Murray Wallace, Anthony Gerrard, Tommy Smith; Paul Dixon, Jonathan Hogg (Duane Holmes, 57), Adam Clayton, Oliver Norwood, Adam Hammill (Cristian Lopez, 77); Martin Paterson, Danny Ward (Sean Scannell, 57)
Ian Bennett, Calum Woods, Oscar Gobern, Jordan Sinnott
Bookings Grimbsy: Alex Rodman 89
Bookings Town: Adam Hammill 56, Oliver Norwood 66, Paul Dixon 69, Martin Paterson 89