Eight games into the National League season Boreham Wood received their first reality check, slumping to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of last season’s Play-Off Final runners-up Grimsby Town.

The visitors, roared on by a sizeable number of the Cod Army, were good value for their win, yet it took nearly 70 minutes for the Mariners to add to the opener they were gifted after just eight minutes.

Nathan Arnold swung over a free-kick from the right, the delivery flying straight to Scott Doe who took his eye off the ball for a split second, slicing his would-be clearance over the head of stranded Wood stopper Preston Edwards.

Wood set out looking to atone for that mistake and came close when Graeme Montgomery's ball in from the right needed a punched clearance from James McKeown with Ricky Shakes poised to pounce.

Town had various opportunities to add to the scoreline but were thwarted by some poor finishing, expert last-ditch defending and an inspired performance from Ebbsfleet United loanee Edwards between the sticks.

Summer signing Omar Bogle created another good chance for the visitors when he tricked his way into the Wood penalty area from the touchline, setting up another new face, Andy Monkhouse, whose backheel was cleared off the line by Danny Woodards.

Bogle then drew a flying save from Edwards with a shot across the face of goal before Wood were carved open down the right-hand flank.

A cross which found Padraig Amond at the far post and he drifted away from his marker only to head just over.

Wood were under the cosh and another Arnold inspired break allowed Amond to cross for Bogle, who knocked his effort over the bar when scoring looked easier.

But Wood came back when Shakes set up Montgomery for a cross from the left, finding Harry Crawford who stroked beyond McKeown before hitting the side netting.

Thereafter the Town defence gave lone striker Crawford no space or time on the ball, whilst both Conor Clifford and Luke Howell were kept out of the game by a competent Town midfield.

Montgomery caused panic in the Town defence when his cross from the left almost dropped into the net, McKeown coming to the rescue.

Continued Town pressure almost led to Wood conceding another sloppy goal.

Arnold intercepted a loose ball, setting up Amond with only Edwards to beat. But the Wood keeper made a superb save, the rebound falling for Arnold who saw his effort spectacularly hooked off the line by Callum Reynolds.

Boss Ian Allinson was quick to change the shape, with Ben Nunn making way for Junior Morias at the start of the second half. It served to allow Wood to compete on a more even keel, but the visitors were still looking the likelier to score.

Reynolds did well to snub out the threat of Bogle, who showed the first signs of frustration by throwing himself to the ground in search of a penalty.

Sam Cox was then upended on the edge of the penalty area with Howell sending the resultant free kick just wide of the upright.

With just under 30 minutes remaining Allinson threw on Billy Clifford and the former Chelsea midfielder made an instant impact.

Wood won their first corner immediately after and Wood fans behind the Broughinge Road End held an impromptu minute’s applause in honour of Colin Lawlor, a lifelong Wood fan who sadly passed away last week.

Bogle passed up another opportunity when Conor Clifford gifted him possession but he found the imposing figure of Edwards in his way once more.

The Mariners second came courtesy of a misplaced Billy Clifford pass, allowing Bogle to stride down the right before finishing well into the bottom left-hand corner.

Seven minutes later a game of head tennis was bought under control by Monkhouse who set up Arnold for a crashing low drive to make it 3-0 and three points for the Cleethorpes side.

Wood, to their credit, never gave up and Billy Clifford was to make up for his earlier misdemeanour when he delivered the perfect ball forward for substitute Charlie MacDonald to nod home at the far post.

The change in personnel saw Wood finishing the game stronger and MacDonald almost added a quick second when Howell played the striker, returning from injury, through on goal. McKeown pulled off a magnificent save to preserve the two-goal lead, though.

Edwards came to his side’s rescue again shortly afterwards when the Wood defence allowed Monkhouse in at the far post.

Speaking afterwards, Wood boss Allinson said: “They were a quality side and put us under pressure all over the park.

“We were holding on at 1-0 and I made the changes to try and chase the game. Of course that leaves you exposed and poor distribution has ultimately cost us.

“That said we got the goal back and almost nicked a quick second through Charlie MacDonald, a player we have missed through injury since the start of the season.

“We knew we would have days like this and we have faced some tough opposition in our opening games, facing seven of the current top ten sides in our opening eight matches – it does not get any tougher than that.”

Boreham Wood: Edwards; Nunn (Morias 45), Doe, Reynolds, Woodards; Shakes, Howell, Cox (B.Clifford 61), C.Clifford, Montgomery; Crawford (MacDonald 71).

Subs: Whichelow, Hill.