Paul Lewis scored his first goal at the Abbey Stadium for Cambridge United, as the U’s made it three consecutive wins and clean sheets in Sky Bet League Two with a 1-0 win over Grimsby Town.
United made two changes as Jabo Ibehre and Brad Halliday moved back into the starting eleven, in place of Louis John and Ade Azeez, with the latter missing through concussion.
United were quick to move on the front foot in the opening encounters, Jevani Brown fizzed a low cross into the path of Lambe six yards out who was unable to direct his shot past McKeown and in the end dragged it wide of the near post after a minute.
The game never quite settled for a period with both sides sharing possession, although United continued to create half chances at goal, Liam O’Neil and Brown both firing attempts from 18 yards out before the 20 minute mark.
United’s best passing move of the half came after half an hour, with O’Neil at the heart of it and he released Jevani Brown to bend a shot at goal from outside the area that had the beating of McKeown but sailed fractions wide of the far corner.
Brad Halliday did enough to put Jonathan Hooper off his shot on 35 minutes, whilst Elliott Embleton bent the Mariners only other attempt in the half wide of the far post.
The clearest opportunity though fell the way of Liam O’Neil who made good contact with an in-swinging Jevani Brown free kick from wide right, but McKeown produced a magnificent point blank save to stop the midfielder opening scores before the break.
United emerged for the second period looking to build on the positive spells of quality in the opening 45 minutes, with Brown, Maris and Lambe linking well offensively.
Brown fired another sublime delivery to the far post for Greg Taylor to attack ten minutes after half time, but a combination of a cluster of Mariners defenders and McKeown somehow clawed off the goal line.
David Amoo and Paul Lewis were introduced in the second half by Joe Dunne as United went in search of the maximum three point, as was Harrison Dunk who returned from injury for first time since the end of August.
The visitors did turn the pressure up a little and stretch the game 20 minutes from time, with David Forde displaying his excellent experience to make a series of key saves and keep the U’s level.
And it proved vital, when the match was decided six minutes from time with the substitutes combining as Amoo out-muscled his opposite number to deliver an unmissable cross for Lewis to head over from close range.
Cambridge United: Forde, Halliday, Taylor, Taft, Carroll, Deegan, O’Neil (Lewis, 74 mins), Maris (Amoo, 61 mins), Brown, Lambe (Dunk, 74 mins), Ibehre
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Hall-Johnson, Collins, Rose, Hooper, Clifton, Embleton, Whitmore (Famewo, 54 mins), Hendrie, Pringle (Hessenthaler, 63 mins), Thomas
Attendance: 4,096 (609)
Man of the Match: Gary Deegan