Cambridge United were edged out 2-1 by Grimsby Town at Blundell Park in Sky Bet League Two on Good Friday, leaving the U’s three points outside the play-off places.
Second half goals from Calum Dyson and Chris Clements put the hosts ahead before Brad Halliday scored his first for the club in the dying embers of the encounter.
An unchanged U’s side began the game brightly with George Maris teasing an early delivery across the face of the Grimsby six yard box.
Having scored his 20th goal of the season in the U’s previous fixture against Leyton Orient, Luke Berry was on the hunt for further success in front of goal. He came close when attacking Conor Newton’s whipping delivery from the right on 15 minutes, but the effort fizzed over.
A finely poised first half continued, although Shaun Derry’s men grew stronger as the opening 45 minutes progressed with Uche Ikpeazu at the heart of a number effective counter attacking moves, including one that saw Berry again go close on 40 minutes with a left footed drive.
However, the hosts came out with greater intensity in the second half and took the lead on 57 minutes from the penalty spot with Calum Dyson beating Will Norris from 12 yards.
Substitute Medy Elito had a golden opportunity to level minutes later but was denied by James McKeown who saved the winger’s shot with his feet.
With United continuing to push forward in search of an equaliser, Russell Slade’s side hit the U’s on the counter attack with Chris Clements doubling their advantage from four yards out.
Shaun Derry’s men fought hard in the latter stages with Brad Halliday heading home at the far post to pull a goal back, but the game proved to be out of reach for the U’s.
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Andrew, Mills, Berrett (Bolarinwa, 66 mins), Boyce, Collins, Gunning, Dyson, Clements, Osbourne, Jones
Cambridge United: Norris, Halliday, Taylor, Legge, Carroll, Maris (Elito, 57 mins), O’Neil (Lewis, 90 mins), Newton (McGurk, 66 mins), Dunk, Berry, Ikpeazu
Attendance: 5,166 (469)