Ryan Bird scored yet again to edge Cambridge United into The FA Carlsberg Trophy Final – despite a strong fightback from hosts Grimsby at Blundell Park.
Bird struck twice at Abbey Stadium to hand Cambridge a slender 2-1 first leg lead last weekend. But Lenell John-Lewis' added time strike had made this second leg more than interesting.
But Bird was at it again for Cambridge after just eight minutes at Blundell Park, handing Cambridge a flying start, edging the visitors into a 3-1 lead overall.
Grimsby 1-1 Cambridge
Cambridge win 3-2 on aggregate
The FA Carlsberg Trophy
Semi-Final second leg
Saturday 22 February
That proved insurmountable for the hosts, despite Scott Neilson equalising on the day with a fine first-half effort.
But, in truth, they were lucky to be still within touching distance after some off-colour defending in the first half an hour, but Cambridge failed to capitalise.
And the hosts eventually found their feet – and a route back into the tie – three minutes before the interval through Neilson, who volleyed home brilliantly to cut the arrears.
Grimsby piled on the pressure after half time but wasted two excellent chances before the hour. First, John-Lewis should have done better with a volleyed attempt before he teed up Ross Hannah. But, when the striker looked certain to score, his effort was saved brilliantly.
Alex Rodman was next to try his luck for the desperate hosts, but goalkeeper Will Norris was equal to his low effort.
Another John-Lewis volley flew wayward before Rodman again took aim from long range when he perhaps should have carried on with the ball at his feet.
It proved to be their last real sight of goal as Cambridge managed to hold onto their 3-2 aggregate lead, booking their place at Wembley next month.