Three goals in an eight minute first half spell and a fourth later in the second half put Tranmere through to the Second Round of the Carling Cup for the first time in five seasons. It was also the first time Tranmere had won by four goals since they defeated Oldham by the same score early in the 2005-06 campaign.
Paul McLaren, Ian Thomas-Moore and Craig Curran found the net in a fine spell of football which ended Grimsby's hopes before Gareth Edds added the fourth late on. It had been a fairly even contest until McLaren netted the first, but soon after the match was effectively over.
It was a big improvement on the opening day defeat at Yeovil. John Barnes' side passed the ball well and full backs Aaron Cresswell and Shaleum Logan made the forward runs the Manager had asked for. Perhaps most impressive of all was Luke Daniels who made several fine saves in the Tranmere goal.
Barnes made two changes to the side that lost at Yeovil, bringing in centre backs Ian Goodison and Marlon Broomes in place of Ash Taylor - who dropped to the bench - and Gavin Gunning - who had not been given permission to play by Blackburn Rovers. Gareth Edds returned from suspension to take a place on the substitutes' bench. Former Rovers defenders Robbie Stockdale and Paul Linwood were named in the starting line up and on the subs' bench respectively, while ex-Prenton Park loanee Adam Proudlock started for the Mariners.
Barry Conlon headed over for Grimsby from a corner inside the first minute while Ian Thomas-Moore had the ball in the visitors' net soon after but it was correctly ruled out for offside.
A near post shot from Chris Shuker earned Tranmere a corner of their own on four minutes as Nick Colgan palmed around his post. Another followed moments later from Alan Mahon's deflected cross but Rovers couldn't take advantage of either.
Jean Louis Akpro fired a shot well wide of goal on 13 minutes while Goodison flashed a header narrowly wide of the far post from a McLaren corner two minutes later.
It was proving to be an entertaining opening, with both sides looking to pass the ball and make use of the wings. Danny Boshell shot over from 25 yards for Grimsby on 19 minutes and Luke Daniels pulled off a fine save to keep out Nick Hegarty's header two minutes later.
Rovers broke the deadlock on 32 minutes. After passing their way around the outside of the Grimsby area the ball eventually fell to Aaron Cresswell. His whipped cross was cleared but only as far as the advancing McLaren. The midfielder powered a volley goalwards which Colgan got a hand on, but McLaren continued his run to head in the rebound from close range.
On 36 minutes Tranmere were given the chance to double their lead when Craig Curran was brought down inside the area. Thomas-Moore stepped up and put his penalty beyond Colgan's dive to the keeper's right to make the score 2-0.
The goals kept coming. On 40 minutes the ball reached Goodison who was wide on the left and the Jamaican international whipped in a cross which Curran volleyed in from six yards.
Thomas-Moore tried to curl in a fourth as the half went into injury time but his shot went past the post.
Six minutes into the second half Daniels produced another excellent save to deny Conlon when the striker raced through to a one-on-one.
At the other end John Welsh unleashed a dipping effort from 25 yards which Colgan only just managed to push wide of his goal. From the corner that followed McLaren picked out Mahon on the edge of the area but his shot went over the bar.
Goodison and McLaren were replaced by Taylor and Edds just after the hour mark with Edds being given his first chance to play in midfield under Barnes after playing pre-season in the centre of defence.
Thomas-Moore tried his luck with a long range effort on 63 minutes but Colgan was quickly back onto his line to gather, while Daniels held on to a Conlan header soon after.
A long ball from Taylor dipped over the last defender into the path of Curran but his first time shot hit the side netting from the right side of the area.
Daniels - who was quickly winning fans among the home stands - tipped over a header from Rob Atkinson on 69 minutes.
Rovers' fourth came two minutes later. After Shuker and Logan had combined on the right to win a corner, Mahon's cross was headed into the top left corner by Edds giving Colgan no chance.
Soon after the goal, Thomas-Moore was replaced by Gornell who just failed to get on the end of a Shuker cross moments after joining the action.
Daniels denied Danny North with another great save on 78 minutes while Colgan produced some heroics of his own to turn Mahon's well placed long range effort around the post three minutes later.
Logan's fine run ended with a Curran shot deflecting away from goal on 84 minutes - the last chance of a decent first competitive game at Prenton Park for the new Manager.
Tranmere: Daniels, Logan, Broomes, Goodison (Taylor 62), Cresswell, Shuker, McLaren (Edds 62), Welsh, Mahon, Thomas-Moore (Gornell 74), Curran. Substitutes not used: Collister, Fraughan, Macauley.
Grimsby: Colgan, Stockdale, Widdowson, Bennett, Sweeney (Leary 67), Proudlock (North 67), Conlon, Boshell, Hegarty, Atkinson, Akpa Akpro. Substitutes not used: Clarke, Linwood, Heywood, Jones, Overton.
Referee: Anthony Taylor