Scarborough Athletic emerged from their second pre-season friendly outing with much to be positive about, despite a 3-0 loss to Skrill Premier outfit Grimsby Town.
Mariners boss Paul Hurst brought a near full-strength squad to Queensgate and fielded a starting XI that featured mainly first team regulars.
The gulf in class was there for all to see in the opening exchanges.
After taking five minutes to find their rhythm, the visitors created chances at will for half an hour with Boro struggling to keep pace.
Grimsby moved the ball quickly and with precision, allowing lively striker Ross Hannah and winger Scott Neilson early sights of goal, however both were off target.
Jason White was then at full-stretch to tip away a Paddy McLaughlin free-kick before gathering a powerful strike from left-back Aswad Thomas at the second attempt as the visitors began to turn up the heat.
A lobbed effort from Hannah then sailed over the bar before the same player again extended White after Thomas burst down the left and slid a dangerous-looking ball into the six-yard box.
Although Grimsby were finding plenty of space in which to play all over the park, winger Jack Mackrith was causing Boro all sorts of problems down the right.
With Steve Ridley getting overrun in the left full-back position, a series of further raids stemming from that side of the pitch saw the Mariners create and spurn another pair of shooting chances.
As the half wore on, Rudy Funk’s charges began to enjoy a little more possession of their own.
They struggled to make much of an impression in the final third against Grimsby’s imposing back line until Ryan Blott’s half-volley from a corner stung James McKeown’s palms.
The same player then burst through on goal in the 36th minute, and directed a shot over the onrushing gloveman, but it landed just the wrong side of the post.
One of two trialists included in the Mariners’ starting line-up forced White into another save low down to his right just before the interval, but the half finished goalless.
Boro looked to be holding their own fairly comfortably in the opening stages of the second period until a mistake from Tom Burgin gifted the away side the lead with 50 minutes on the clock.
Burgin had enjoyed a decent first half alongside central-defensive partner Steve Burton, but got caught in possession on the edge of his own box by the other trialist in Grimsby’s starting XI.
Having surged to the byline, the visiting number nine pulled the ball across goal for Hannah to stroke it into an empty net.
Encouragingly for Funk, Boro were immediately on the front foot as they went in search of an equaliser.
Quick thinking at a free-kick from substitute Ryan Williams teed up Blott and although his strike beat McKeown it was hacked off the line by Aristotle Nsiala.
Blott, who was looking Athletic’s most likely source of a goal, then looped a header on to the cross bar with Grimsby’s stopper rooted to the spot.
Enjoying their best spell of the contest, the Seadogs continued to press for a leveller and Jimmy Ghaichem tested the McKeown from close range.
Despite Boro’s best efforts, it was the visitors who struck the game’s next goal when A. Trialist was afforded time and space to rifle an effort into the roof of the net from just inside the penalty area.
With 10 substitutes appearing in Athletic colours over the course of the second half, the hosts’ play became more and more disjointed and it was no great surprise when Scott Brown smashed in the Mariners’ third of the afternoon.
There was a late rally from Boro, however, Sam O’Malley lashing over when the ball dropped to him just a few yards from goal before Jimmy Beadle sent a rasping volley over the top.
Although a 3-0 defeat is not usually cause for positivity, this was a pre-season outing against a side who play their football three divisions higher than Athletic.
The fact that his players attempted to pass the ball for the duration of the contest and created several clear-cut goal scoring chances in the second half will leave boss Funk with much to be pleased about, despite the scoreline.