Grimsby Town's Checkatrade Trophy campaign started with a penalty shoot-out defeat against Doncaster Rovers at Blundell Park.
In front of a sparse crowd of just 862, the Mariners opened the scoring through Harry Cardwell just before the half-hour but their lead was not to last, as Andy Williams equalised within 10 minutes.
Neither side could make a breakthrough in the second half, so both took at least one point and the competition's rules meant the game went to a deciding penalty shoot-out.
Williams missed to hand Town an early advantage but Sam Jones, Tom Bolarinwa and Cardwell all had their kicks saved by keeper Marko Marosi to hand Doncaster a bonus point.
Eight changes were made to the Town side that lost at home to Wycombe Wanderers in the league on Saturday as boss Russell Slade opted to shuffle his pack.
Only Zak Mills, Danny Collins and Sam Kelly stayed in the team, with Ben Killip given his debut in goal beind a defence of Mills, Karleigh Osborne, Collins and Ben Davies.
Diallang Jaiyesimi, Luke Summerfield, Harry Clifton and Kelly were the midfielders, with Jones and Cardwell lining up in attack.
Jones and Collins remained suspended from league duties but the rules of the Checkatrade Trophy allowed for their inclusion in this game.
A strong Grimsby bench was made up of James McKeown, Paul Dixon, Nathan Clarke, JJ Hooper, Bolarinwa, Scott Vernon and Siriki Dembele.
Doncaster also made several changes, with strikers Williams and Liam Manderville given the task of causing problems for the Town defence.
The Mariners started well, winning an early corner which was eventually dealt with by the visitors after Collins had won the initial header from Summerfield's flag-kick.
A cross from Clifton on the right was comfortably taken by Doncaster keeper Marosi, before a run by Mills at pace down the right was rewarded with another corner on eight minutes.
At the other end, a right-wing cross from Craig Alcock was caught by Killip as the quiet opening to the game continued.
A foul on Jones brought a free kick inide the Doncaster half but Davies' ball towards the penalty area was won by former Scunthorpe defender Andy Butler.
Williams appeared to be caught in two minds as to whether to shoot or cross when he got the ball on the edge of the Town box on 18 minutes but in the end, he did neither and the ball went out for a goal kick.
A foul by Davies was punished only by a free kick but soon afterwards, a late challenge from Jones earned him the first yellow card of the evening.
Kelly tried a shot from 20 yards on 21 minutes and the effort calld Marosi into action, although it was straight at the keeper and he caught the ball comfortably.
Jaiyesimi was fouled by Issam Ben Khemis inside the Doncaster half four minutes later. Davies' delivery into the box was good but the offside flag went up and a free kick was given to the away side.
Doncaster were controlling possession and playing some good football as the half-hour approached but when the deadlock was broken on 28 minutes, it was the Mariners who opened the scoring. Jaiyesimi picked the ball up on the left and beat his man before hitting a shot from just inside the box which Marosi could only push out as far as CARDWELL, who slotted the rebound into the net.
The away side's response saw them win a corner on 35 minutes, which was headed clear of danger.
But the visiting supporters had an equalising goal to cheer three minutes later, when WILLIAMS unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards which hit the underside of Killip's bar and bounced into the net for 1-1.
Town won a free kick in a promising position on the right on 41 minutes and from it, Osborne's header was not dealt with but the referee' whistle blew for a foul on keeper Marosi.
One added minute was played at the end of the half and a Doncaster free kick from the right was half-cleared bfore eventually being dealt with by the Town defence to ensure the scores remained level at the interval.
Niall Mason replaced centre-back Joe Wright and Will Longbottom came on for Butler for the away side before the restart and the Mariners started promisingly, with much of the opening stages of the second half being played inside the Doncaster half.
An away corner came to nothing as Town continued to make the running, with a burst from Kelly down the left providing a signal of the hosts' intent.
Longbottom won another corner for Doncaster after good work by the impressive Manderville and after Jones was spoken to by the referee, Longbotto's cross was headed away after a short delivery. The visitors kept possession and a cross found midfielder Alfie Beestin but his header was stopped by Killip.
Soon afterwards, good build-up play from Clifton down the Grimsby right led to a chance for Jones but his shot was stoppd by Marosi.
Jaiyesimi shot wide after a free kick from Davies broke for him inside the penalty area, before a first-time cross from Kelly on the left was taken by Marosi.
Another chance was ceated by Clifton on the right on 62 minutes, although nobody in black and white was in the right place to get the vital touch to his low ball across the six-yard line.
Hooper replaced Jaiyesimi as Town made their first substitution a minute later, before a long-range shot from Manderville landed on the roof of the Osmond Stand.
Clifton did well to make progress and win a free kick for a foul by Williams and soon afterwards, the young midfielder won a corner, which was eventually headed clear.
Davies was shown a yellow card for a foul but the resulting free kick was cleared by Clifton, although Doncaster quickly regained possession and Rodney Kongolo fired over the bar from 25 yards.
Clarke replaced Osborne in the centre of the Town defence, before a Doncaster corner came on the right as midfielder Harry Middleton was denied. The Mariners dealt with the flag-kick, with a follow-up ball also cleared from danger.
Mills won a corner at the other end on 74 minutes but it eventually came to nothing, as a low ball across goal from Kelly failed to find a team-mate after Doncaster had initially struggled to clear their lines.
A flowing Town attack was started by Jones on 78 minutes and it ended with Hooper cutting in from the left and hitting a shot that was blocked by Marosi.
As the clock ticked beyond 80 minutes, Doncaster started to increase the pressure and a deflected shot earned them a corner, although they were unable to make it count.
Bolarinwa, who had come on for Clifton, was penalised for a foul just inside his own half on 83 minutes but Doncaster were content to keep possession from the resultig free kick.
Another free kick, this time in a more attacking area for the viitors, came when Mills was penalised for a foul after his header had ricocheted off Clarke. Manderville's shot from 20 yards hit the Town wall.
Bolainwa could only find Marosi with an effort at the other end, before Clarke had to put in a good challenge to stop a Doncaster attack at the expense of a corner.
Two minutes of added time wre played and as the two teams still could not be separated, the game went to a deciding penalty shoot-out.
Davies scored and Middlton replied for Doncaster, before Williams hit the bar to hand Town the advantage.
Hooper and Mills both scored to give the hosts a 3-1 advantage but that was tuned around when Jones, Bolarinwa and Cardwell all had their spot-kicks saved and although Manderville also missed, Kongolo's penalty eventually proved decisive and it was the visitors who claimed a 4-3 shootout success.
That meant they took two points and the Mariners one, with Scunthorpe United topping the group after the opening round of fixtures after their 3-1 win against Sunderland's under-21s in the other Northern Group H game being played on the evening.
Town now switch their focus back to the league for Saturday's home game against Crewe Alexandra.
30. Ben Killip .
12. Zak Mills
2. Ben Davies
14. Karleigh Osborne
6. Danny Collins (C)
19. Luke Summerfield
20. Diallang Jaiyesimi
15. Harry Clifton
10. Sam Jones
11. Sam Kelly
17. Harry Cardwell
5. Nathan Clarke
3. Paul Dixon
18. Tom Bolarinwa
27. Siriki Dembele
9. JJ Hooper
21. Scott Vernon
13. Marko Marosi GK
2. Craig Alcock
20. Tyler Garratt
6. Andy Butler (C)
15. Joe Wright
24. Harry Middleton
7. Rodney Kongolo
22. Alfie Beestin
27. Issam Ben Khemis
14. Liam Mandeville
11. Andy Williams
8. Niall Mason
36. Declan Ogley
32. Cody Prior
35. Keegsn Townrow
30. Jacob Fletcher
21. William Longbottom
35. Lewis Scattergood
Referee Mike Jones
Attendance: 862 (319)