Cambridge United were made to settle for a point at the Abbey Stadium as a rigid Grimsby Town side shut out the U’s in a goalless Sky Bet League Two encounter.
A missed first half penalty from Sam Smith provided the Mariners a platform to defend a clean sheet and frustrate United under the midweek lights on home soil.
United made just one change from their previous outing against Exeter City, with Marc Richards returning to the starting eleven in place of the injured George Maris.
Buoyed by their 4-0 thumping of the Grecians four days earlier, United began the game in promising fashion as they bossed the early exchanges and zipped the ball around with real intent despite not creating too much in front of goal.
With the home side dictating proceedings, Reggie Lambe struck the U’s first shot on target midway through the half as his firm attempt from 25 yards skidded off the slick surface but into the hands of James McKeown, who was down quickly to his right in the Mariners goal.
Jack Roles too tested the Mariners shot stopper with a shot from just outside the area, before Marc Richards went as close as anyone with a superb curling strike which had the Grimsby keeper beaten, but crashed against the frame of the goal and away.
Paul Lewis slipped inside the U's area and almost gifted the ball to Elliott Whitehouse on 33 minutes but managed to flick it out for corner from the deck in United’s hairiest moment of the first 45 minutes.
United’s patience in their dominance of the first period looked to have paid dividends when Lewis was then fouled inside the Grimsby penalty area seven minutes before half time. However, Sam Smith stepped up and saw his tame shot from 12 yards saved by McKeown before the striker sent the rebound over the bar.
James Hanson spurned a great chance for the visitors moments into the second half as a loose ball fell at the feet of the inform striker, but he blazed it well over the bar with United at sixes and sevens.
United cracked the woodwork once again on 55 minutes when Harrison Dunk’s drilled shot at goal was tipped onto the post by the gloves of McKeown.
Colin Calderwood was forced into his first change of the game when Jack Roles grasped his hamstring on 66 minutes and was replaced by Harvey Knibbs.
Luke Hannant drove in field from the right on 73 minutes and unleashed a low effort at goal which again McKeown was able to snaffle up low at his feet.
Elliott Ward provided a late scare for United fans as Grimsby sub Ahkeem Rose robbed the centre back of possession and hared through on goal, but Mitov was alert to make a crucial tackle and ensure the U’s took the very minimum they deserved from the match, a point.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Hannant, Knoyle, Taft, Ward, Dunk, Lewis, Lambe, Roles (Knibbs, 66 mins), Richards, Smith (Dallas, 75 mins)
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Hendrie (Davis, 90 mins), Gibson, Ohman, Waterfall, Green (Rose, 71 mins, Hessenthaler, Hanson, Whitehouse, Hewitt, Pollock
Attendance: 4,898 (369) Including 955 students
Jackson Fire & Security Man of the Match: Kyle Knoyle