Liam Adams did hopes of earning a Boston United deal no harm as he curled home a clever 25-yard effort in the Pilgrims’ 1-1 draw with Grimsby Town.
Collecting the ball outside the Mariners’ penalty area, he beat James McKeown with a left-footed effort which nestled neatly into the net, a wild cheer and jump punch celebration showing just what that meant to the 18-year-old.
Adams came through the United youth ranks before joining Nottingham Forest’s academy four years ago.
But after leaving the City Ground he’s back in town and looking to impress.
That strike, however, didn’t turn out to be the winner as Dominic Vose levelled in the second half with a piece of trickery of his own.
Selling Herve Pepe-Ngoma a dummy on the edge of the United box, he created enough space to send a low drive beyond the rooted Christian Dibble.
United rested Joe Burgess, Nat Brown and Jay Rollins as precautions, those three all carrying minor knocks, while Cameron Johnson was unwell.
This gave trialists Adams and Marcus Marshall - a former Mariner - further chances to impress, while Josh Green was a second-half replacement.
Grimsby’s former Pilgrims McKeown and Shaun Pearson both got run outs, but there was no place in the squad for Zak Mills who made the summer switch to Blundell Park, the defender still recovering from a hamstring tweak sustained in his side’s Lincolnshire Senior Cup defeat to Stamford.
The first chance of the game fell to Grimsby’s lively attacker Tom Bolarinwa, but his near-post drive was deflected wide by Christian Dibble’s outstreched leg.
A moment of magic then saw Adams hand the Pilgrims a 15th-minute lead, giving McKeown no chance with the strike which spun away from the keeper’s full-stretch fingers.
The Boston old boy then denied Boston the chance to double their advantage with a superb double save, throwing himself in front of Waide Fairhurst’s well-struck drive before getting back to his feet and pouncing upon Pepe-Ngoma’s volley on the rebound.
But it was the Mariners who finished the first half the stronger.
Bolarinwa smashed the ball against Dibble’s crossbar after playing a neat one-two with Omar Bogle, once the Pilgrims’ tormentor with Solihull Moors.
Craig Disley was left wondering just how he didn’t find the net when, well placed eight yards from goal, his first effort struck Pepe-Ngoma and his second bite of the cherry trickled wide of the wrong-footed Dibble’s post.
The final effort of the half saw Bogle fire wide when well placed.
Bolarinwa’s second half began by mirroring his first as one strike brought a save from the feet of Dibble and a second crashed against the goal frame, this time thundering against the post.
Vose was the next to try his luck with an ambitious but perfectly-struck 30-yard dipper from the left-hand side of the box. But Dibble was his equal, acrobatically tipping over.
Grimsby pulled level in the 63rd minute with Vose’s clever moment of trickery, but the chances kept coming.
McKeown stood firm again to deny Grant Roberts from point-blank range, despite being unsighted as the strike flew through a crowded box.
Mariner Andrew Boyce almost snatched victory late on with an overhead kick which whizzed inches wide.
But as the two sides were applauded from the pitch, the fans had to make do with just the two quality goals.
UNITED: Dibble (Emery 73), Thomas, Wildin, Roberts, Maguire, Pepe-Ngoma, Adams, Hilliard (Green HT), Fairhurst (Chippendale HT), Lavelle-Moore (Colley HT), Marshall (St Juste HT). Subs (not used): Emery.
GRIMSBY: McKeown, Davies, Andrew, Chambers, Disley (Summerfield 69), Bogle (McAllister 69), Vose, Berrett, Bolarinwa, Boyce, Jones (Pearson HT). Subs (not used): Gowling, Warrington.
Ref: Steve Ross.
ATT: 596 (208).