NIGEL Adkins lauded Tranmere for displaying resilience to overcome League Two strugglers Grimsby in their 2-1 win.

A goal from Rob Apter and Toby Mullarkey’s own goal settled the scores for Tranmere on their trip to Blundell Park, with Doug Tharme marking his Grimsby debut with a goal that, ultimately, proved to be in vain.

Apter was the key man – scoring in the first half and providing the cross that led to the decisive own goal – with his team-mates putting in a workmanlike display to win for the third time on the road this season.

“It was an excellent away victory,” Adkins said.

“We started the game ever so well and were really bright at the start. I thought we were dominant and got on the front foot.

“We played some lovely football and we got into some dangerous positions.

“It was a great goal from Robbie [Apter] and we are trying to get him isolated there, one-on-one, and that is exactly what happened.

“Their goal was a sucker punch and one of our players left his man.

“Games are about fine little margins, but we responded and won the game.

“We have to give them some credit as they fought back, but we weathered that and showed a little bit of resilience to get the result.”

Grimsby head coach David Artell was unhappy with almost every element of his side’s performance.

“Everything [wasn’t good enough],” he said.

“Their lad [Apter] walked into our box and scored. That was reflective of our performance.

“I said to the players that was our worst performance by a distance.

“Why? On the ball we were just whacking it everywhere and up in the air. It was like kids football, and we got bullied off the ball by a Tranmere side who are surviving on that and that’s credit to Nigel and his players.

“You have got to stand up to that and we didn’t, not many if any of them did.

“We were bullied and I couldn’t figure out how we were trying to score.”

Chances were at a premium in the opening 45 minutes and it looked as though the deadlock would not be broken before half-time.

However, in a three-minute spell, Tranmere went in front when Apter curled home before debutant Tharme hit straight back from a Grimsby set-piece.

Tranmere restored their advantage in the 55th minute when Mullarkey turned into his own net from Apter’s low delivery.

Grimsby pushed and probed for a way back into the game, but Tranmere were able to keep them at arm’s length while posing a threat on the counter.

Danny Rose came closest to finding an equaliser as the Grimsby captain struck on-target and drew Luke McGee into a fingertip save in the 82nd minute.