Alfreton Town may have lost at Blue Square Bet Premier leaders Grimsby Town on Saturday, but they plugged away throughout and only fell short through defensive lapses.
Don Bradley had given the Reds a 27th minute lead from the penalty spot, but a similar award pegged them back level four minutes before half-time.
Simple goals for the hosts either side of the break established a 3-2 lead before the deficit was cut by sub Paul Clayton in the 71st minute, but a fourth goal nine minutes from time proved to be too much to retrieve.
Scott Boden was given his first start at the expense of midweek hat-trick hero Ashley Worsfold, the Chesterfield loanee earning the penalty by darting into the area to be upended by Richard Brodie.
Bradley directed the spot-kick hard and low past Mariners’ keeper James McKeown, but Alfreton had already had to survive three clear attempts by Grimsby which started in the ninth minute with Brodie inadvertently clearing a shot from strike colleague Andy Cook off the Reds’ goal-line.
Then a superb tip over by Phil Barnes denied Sam Hatton’s thunderous free-kick on 18 minutes, but shortly after that a poor clearance from the Alfreton keeper struck Bradley in the back and sat up for Jamie Devitt to feed Cook who missed from close range at the back post.
Despite those chances Alfreton had taken the game to Grimsby whenever they could and looked sharp on the approach to goal, although only Boden’s second minute shot had needed McKeown’s intervention to that point.
Nathan Arnold’s 22 yarder was saved low by the keeper four minutes after the opening goal, then as Brodie ran in to the area in the 41st minute he was caught by Ross Killock and Devitt fired the ensuing penalty low past Barnes.
Just as it seemed the sides would be level at half-time the added minute was enough to see Brodie score from close range after being allowed too much space from a Devitt corner to put the league leaders ahead.
Brodie and Arnold scuffed shots wide for either side as the second half progressed, then Barnes had to hold a low drive from the edge of the area by Devitt on 55 minutes.
Three minutes later though a swift break that stemmed from Alfreton’s possession 30 yards out saw Andi Thanoj feed Brodie before Cook’s neat back-heel at the near post gave Grimsby a 3-1 advantage.
Barnes held a subsequent shot from Cook before Darran Kemspon’s header from a 63rd minute Josh Law corner needed clearing off the line by Aswad Thomas.
A lofted shot from Matty Harriott continued to rise, but just three minutes after coming off the bench Clayton rifled home from ten yards after his initial shot had been blocked and the arrears had been reduced.
Barnes turned behind another searing free-kick from Devitt on 77 minutes, but despite brilliantly parrying at point-blank range four minutes later from Lenell John-Lewis the Reds’ keeper could not prevent Craig Disley from ramming home the loose ball.
ALFRETON: Barnes; Killock, Kempson, Franks, Streete, Law, Harriott, Bradley, Arnold (Worsfold 89), Boden (Clayton 68), Tomlinson (Hewitt 81).
Subs not used: Meadows, Franklin.
Att: 3,868 (85)