Paul Hurst feared his relegation-threatened Grimsby side scored too early in their League Two clash against Bolton.
Still rooted to the foot of the table, the hosts gave themselves renewed hope in their ongoing survival battle with a 2-1 victory against promotion-chasing opponents.
An opener from Jay Matete inside 35 seconds set Grimsby on their way.
But they had to wait until the closing stages to rubber-stamp three points, with Ira Jackson Jr settling any nerves before Shaun Miller came off the bench to net a late consolation for third-placed Bolton.
It proved to be an entertaining contest between two teams chasing all three points for contrasting reasons, but Hurst claims his men fully deserved victory.
“It was a great win for us,” said Hurst, whose side are four points from safety. “It keeps us in the fight. It was well-deserved and could have been a lot more. But the main thing is we got the three points.
“Don’t get me wrong, Macca (James McKeown) has made a couple of good saves – Bolton would expect to be on the scoresheet, but I think we had more chances.
“I’ve just looked at some stats, they were good chances a lot of them.
“You start to think, is it going to be our day? Is it going to come back and bite us?
“For me, they are probably the best team in the league and I’m sure they will go on and get promoted, but today I just don’t think they could cope with a lot of what we threw at them.
“I don’t think we have created as many chances as that in a game this season.
“We looked a threat while keeping a good shape to the team, against a good Bolton side who work you and look to play the ball – right from the goalkeeper.
“We went in with a plan and, thankfully, it worked for us today.
“That’s one (the opener) where you stand on the touchline and say to the bench; I think we scored a bit early there! It was a great start and, if the players needed any belief, it instantly gave that to them.”
Further opportunities were passed up at either end as the two goalkeepers, James McKeown and Matt Gilks, proved to be in inspired form at Blundell Park.
Prior to their second goal, Grimsby had gone close through James Hanson and Evan Khouri, on debut, while the former saw another effort cannon back off the crossbar.
McKeown, meanwhile, produced fine saves either side of half-time to deny George Thomason and Eoin Doyle.
Bolton manager Ian Evatt added: “I knew what was coming. There were just too many under par and too many not playing their level and, when that happens in a tough game against a team fighting for their lives, in difficult conditions, you end up losing games.
“Add to that the chances we’re creating and missing, we don’t help ourselves, but we’re still in a great position.
“I’ve just said to them that we’re still in a fantastic position and we can’t forget that and, hopefully, it will kick us on for the next four games. We’ve got a home game to come on Tuesday, so we will park this now and get ready for then.
“There isn’t any margin for error and we’ve been saying it all along. You just can’t predict results in this division.
“These [Grimsby] were eight unbeaten before last weekend when they lost with ten men, so they’re not playing badly and they’ve had results against top teams as well.
“Other than the first 40 seconds and a few set-pieces in the first half, I think we took control and created lots and lots of chances. We just, for whatever reason, aren’t taking them at the moment.
“Credit to them, they put us on the back foot and Gillo (Gilks) made some fantastic saves that, really, he had no right to. We then had a chance and, yet again, we’ve missed I don’t know how many opportunities.”