CLEETHORPES Town continued their preparations for the new season with a dogged performance in a 4-2 defeat to Doncaster Rovers at a packed Bradley Community Stadium, in a match sponsored by Hendersons Insurance.
Chris Brown gave Rovers a half-time lead before Jordan Ball's penalty kick doubled the away side's advantage early in the second half.
Manager Dean Saunders then came off the bench to score a third for Doncaster and Ball added his second with time running out.
But Cleethorpes refused to lay down and scored twice late on through an own goal and a nicely-worked Darren Hanslip effort.
Boss Andy Liddle was back in the dugout for the match and he swayed from his usual favoured system to a 4-5-1 formation, with summer signing Marc Cooper starting on his own up front.
League One Doncaster Rovers, still recovering from their relegation from The Championship last season, named new signings David Cotterill and David Syers in their starting line-up but a lack of options meant management team Dean Saunders and Brian Carey started on the bench.
Rovers enforced their superiority over the Owls immediately after kick-off. After Kyle Bennett pulled a shot wide, Chris Brown poked the visitors in front after the ball squirmed through the arms of Miles Fenty six minutes in.
To their credit, the Owls refused to fold, and they matched their counterparts for much of the first half. After great hold-up play from Marc Cooper, Jonathan Oglesby could have equalised but he hesitated and his eventual shot was blocked by Liam Wakefield.
George Friend and David Syers both had half chances for Saunders' men but Cleethorpes were far from on the back foot. As the half neared its conclusion, last season's top scorer, Luke Mascall, embarked on a 70-yard run, exchanging passes with Darren Hanslip, before firing over the bar.
The second half saw Rovers employ a much quicker tempo in possession which Cleethorpes found more difficult to deal with.
Second half substitute Scott Drury made two fantastic saves early after the restart but, after Phil Cawley inadvertently handled the ball in his own area, he was forced to pick the ball out of the net after Jordan Ball tucked away the subsequent spot kick.
Mascall was thwarted by Rovers keeper Jon Maxted just before the hour mark and then had to be helped off after picking up an injury in a collision with Friend.
Clee were not being humbled by any stretch of the imagination and could have got on the score sheet with ten minutes to go but substitute Ricky Belding side footed straight at Maxted from eight yards out.
Rovers manager Dean Saunders introduced himself with nine minutes to go and was celebrating soon after when he poked home from close range to make it 3-0 - much to the delight of the travelling fans.
Jordan Ball scored a second soon after but Cleethorpes brought the deficit back to three goals when Darren Hanslip's cross was headed into his own net by Jake MCCORMICK.
And deep in stoppage time, HANSLIP got a goal of his own after playing an excellent one-two with Lee McFarland.
Marc Sawyer saw red late on for the Owls but it was the only negative point to a fantastic day which saw a record crowd of 752 at Bradley Community Stadium.
The Owls continue their pre-season campaign by travelling to Market Rasen Town on Tuesday.