SHAUN PEARSON admits it is payback time after experiencing play-off heartbreak at the hands of Newport County before joining Wrexham.

Grimsby, with Pearson playing a prominent role, recovered from their FA Trophy final defeat against the Reds at Wembley Stadium in March 2013 to secure a top-five finish.

While Wrexham were paired with Kidderminster Harriers, Grimsby's semi-final opponents were Newport.

Andy Morrell's side overcame Kidderminster to reach their second final of the season but there was no Wembley return for Grimsby who were beaten 2-0 on aggregate by the Exiles, to Pearson's disappointment.

"That was the last time I played against Newport as well," said the centre-back.

"We played the home leg first, I don't think they had a shot on target but we scored an own goal late on.

"They beat us 1-0, they will call it a professional away performance but we call it a bit of a robbery.

"But to be fair to them, Newport were the much better team in the second leg and deserved to beat us 1-0.

"It was frustrating at the time but it will be nice to get one back on them, from a personal perspective and the club's perspective."

Grimsby got their promotion challenge back on track after losing the Trophy final to Wrexham on a penalty shoot-out but both sides were resigned to another season in the Conference after the Reds lost 2-0 in the play-off final to Newport who clinched a place in the Football League.

"Out of all the Wrexham sides I played against, that was definitely up there with one of the better ones," said Pearson, who was with Grimsby from 2011 until the summer of 2017 when he arrived at The Racecourse and has been a real captain fantastic.

"It was a real shame we couldn't finish the job off that year.

"We were top of the league for quite a while and then we got to Wembley in the Trophy final; that is what killed our momentum in the league a little bit.

"But then we managed to get it back and played Newport in the last league game of the season.

"We beat them 3-0 but ended up losing against them in the play-off semi-finals so it was a frustrating end to that season and it would be nice to get one over on them."

Pearson can understand Reds' supporters wanting revenge for their play-off final defeat and the defender keeping former Grimsby team-mate Padraig Amond quiet will go some way to achieving that.

"If you lose to a team in a final like that, there is going to be a bit of a rivalry there because you feel like you owe them one, there is no doubt about that," added Pearson.

"Hopefully we can do that.

"I know centre-forward Padraig Amond very well so it would be nice to get one over on him personally myself as well.

"Padraig was at Grimsby the year we went up. A very good player, good goalscorer, always in the right place at the right time, so hopefully I can keep him quiet if I am playing."