Grimsby Town reserves lost 3-2 to Doncaster Rovers reserves in the Central League at Blundell Park, despite a late rally from the Mariners.
Town had a mix of youth and first-team players, with Emil Powles, Jock Curran, Brandon Buckley, Charles Vernam, JJ Hooper, Louis Robles, and Wes Thomas among the starters.
Sam Russell, Luke Hendrie, Oli Saunders, and Tom Jamieson also made up the starting XI.
Thomas looked lively up front on his return to action for Town, as well as substitute Ahkeem Rose and youth-team midfielder Curran shining for the Mariners.
Grant McCann’s side took the lead on five minutes as Alex Kiwomya poked it home from close-range, before Hendrie equalised for Town with a superb solo effort 10 minutes later.
But the visitors regained their lead on 66 minutes as Alfie Beestin smashed it home from inside the area, after Russell had initially made a good save to keep Doncaster out.
And Doncaster made it 3-1 with five minutes left to play as Paul Taylor’s powerful strike from 30 yards darted into the top corner.
But Vernam gave the Mariners a glimmer of hope as he successfully converted a penalty on 88 minutes, after Rose was brought down in the area.
And Town had a couple of chances late-on through the creativity of Rose, Vernam, and Max Wright, but it was too late as the visitors hung on for the 3-2 win.
Town’s subs were Rose, Wright, Rumarn Burrell, Kyle Richardson, and Ollie Battersby.