A FIVE-star performance from Grimsby Town saw them sweep past Winterton Rangers in their latest pre-season friendly at a sweltering West Street.
Lenell John-Lewis’ spectacular strike kicked things off, with Liam Hearn, Dayle Southwell, Joe Colbeck and an own goal completing the rout. Although with better finishing on the evening, it was no exaggeration to say that Town could have hit 20.
The Mariners included trialist goalkeeper Jake Turner, formerly of Scunthorpe, in their ranks, as well as giving Chris Doig another run-out after he impressed against Cleethorpes Town on Tuesday night.
Managers Rob Scott and Paul Hurst experimented with a 4-3-1-2 formation in the first half. Youngster Southwell was afforded a free role behind the front duo of John-Lewis and Hearn with Craig Disley, Scott Kerr and new signing Alex Rodman providing the middle three.
Doig was joined at the back by Shaun Pearson, Aswad Thomas and YT Paul Walker, who lined up at right-back.
The tone of the game was set from the opening exchanges as the Mariners piled forward and home goalkeeper Craig Turner struggled to deal with a pair of crosses but Southwell couldn’t take advantage as he screwed an effort wide of the target.
Pearson then hit the side netting with a 16th-minute header before the Mariners took the lead in spectacular fashion.
Hearn broke free in the right-hand channel and tried to pick out strike partner John-Lewis in the centre. The ball took a slight deflection and spooned up behind the former Lincoln man but he readjusted himself superbly to power home a stunning overhead kick that might have secured the Goal of the Season honours already!
The Mariners continued to press and it should have been 2-0 on 20 minutes. A corner was recovered at the far post by Doig and his clipped cross was inviting for Southwell but he could only nod over from close range.
It was two shortly after though and Southwell was involved again, working some space and picking out the run of Hearn, who finished accurately.
Southwell and John-Lewis had chances to extend the advantage before debutant Rodman cut in from the left to force Turner into a fine tip-over from a curling drive.
The third Mariners’ goal arrived shortly after the half-hour. Hearn broke into the left channel this time and crossed for Southwell to flick home from close-range.
Town were rampant now and really should have added another two goals before the interval. Some marvellous footwork from Hearn saw him one-0n-one with Turner but the Winterton goalkeeper was able to block the shot with his feet. Rodman then saw his follow-up deflected wide for a corner, which Doig headed wide when well-placed.
The impressive Southwell then picked out the run of Rodman across the line but the former Tamworth man pulled his effort wide of the far post with just Turner to beat.
And the last chance of the first half fell to Pearson, who again found the side netting with a far-post header from another corner.
Scott and Hurst made changes at the interval, introducing James McKeown, Sam Hatton, Joe Colbeck, Paddy McLaughlin, Tom Charlesworth, Andy Cook and Ross Hannah for Turner, Walker, Southwell, Disley, Rodman, John-Lewis and Hearn.
But those changes didn’t halt the Mariners’ dominance as they again surged forward in the search for more goals.
And the fourth arrived just before the hour when Colbeck’s cross was diverted in for an own goal.
McLaughlin was getting into some excellent positions on the right and he pulled one back for Cook to loft over from 12 yards.
Colbeck then tried his luck with two stinging shots that were blocked inside the six-yard box before Cook nodded over a Thomas centre.
Walker was reintroduced for Kerr, allowing Hatton to take up a midfield berth. And the full-back was in the thick of the action, seeing a goalbound effort hacked away after a Doig knock-down.
Cook was desperate for a goal and should have scored after Hatton did the hard work but he saw his effort turned behind from a corner.
From the set-piece the former Barrow man had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for a push by Pearson.
Thomas then burst down the left and crossed for Cook, who looked certain to score, but had his shot smothered from point-blank range.
Colbeck was then the supply line for the big North Easterner but his volley into the ground drifted agonisingly wide.
Hatton was getting forward well but he elected to pass after being put through by McLaughlin and the chance evaporated. The ex-Wimbledon man was then played in by Hannah but the eventual shot went wide.
Walker burst down the right and crossed for Colbeck who fired over and then Hatton whistled a 20-yard effort just over the bar.
It was a sea of black and white shirts pouring forward at will and the fifth should have come when Hatton teed up Hannah but he skied his effort from six yards.
But the fifth goal finally arrived four minutes from time when Colbeck cut in from the left and thundered a shot in via the far post.
Town looked very comfortable with the different formations and personnel show and it was an excellent team performance all-round, although their profligacy in front of goal maybe some concern if it continues into the season.
Mariners: Turner (McKeown); Walker (Hatton), Thomas, Doig, Pearson; Disley (McLaughlin), Kerr (Walker), Rodman (Colbeck); Southwell (Charlesworth); Hearn (Hannah), John-Lewis (Cook).