Grimsby Town’s Leasing.com Trophy campaign ended in defeat as Leicester City U21 came from behind to win at Blundell Park.
The Mariners battled well against the Premier League club’s youngsters and went in ahead at half-time through a Moses Ogbu header.
But they were not to end their Northern Group A programme on a high as substitute Josh Eppiah brought the young Foxes level before scoring a superb winning goal in the last minute.
Town boss Michael Jolley named a strong starting XI, with goalkeeper Sam Russell protected by a defence of Elliott Hewitt, Harry Davis, Mattie Pollock and Liam Gibson.
Harry Clifton, Jake Hessenthaler and Ethan Robson were the midfielders, with Harry Cardwell and Ahkeem Rose either side of Ogbu in attack.
Youngsters Ollie Battersby, Joe Starbuck, Cameron Painter and Joseph Hope were all given places on the bench, along with Sebastian Ring, Jordan Cook and Charles Vernam.
Leicester’s development squad made the journey from the East Midlands fresh from a 3-0 league win against Southampton on Friday, at the same time as their first team were enjoying a record beaking nine-goal victory against the same club.
After a quiet first 10 minutes, the visitors caam to life through Thakgalo Leshanbela, who showed good pace to get down the left but could only send his low cross into the side-netting for a goal kick.
A Leicester corner from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on the right was headed away by Cardwell, before the striker found himself in action at the other end but his shot was saved by keeper Viktor Johansson.
Another corner came on 19 minutes after good build-up play down the right and after it was half-cleared, the visitors worked the ball back and had it in the net but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Town won a corner of their own when a long throw into the box was put behind but the ball was eventually prodded wide by Rose after Hessenhaler had played it back to Hewitt from the flag.
A foul by Hewitt gave the visitors a free kick on the left but George Thomas’ low ball into the penaly area was cleared.
Cardwell got a cross in after a run through the middle by Ogbu but the low ball was cleared.
Seconds later though, the deadlock was broken and it was the Mariners who took the lead. Good play by Clifton released Cardwell down the rightt and his cross was met by OGBU, who headed it into the net off the underside of the bar.
A foul by Robson on Darnell Johnson gave Leicester an opportunity to create some danger. George Thomas opted to shoot from it but the ball bounced through to Russell.
Another free kick came in a similar area after George Hirst was brought down but again, the chance was not taken as Thomas fired wide.
Three added minutes were played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, Town retained their one-goal advantage at the interval.
Josh Eppiah replaced Leshanbela for Leicester before the restart and after Gibson hit a cross-shot wide at one end, Hirst’s header was comfortably caught by Russell at the other.
Cardwell was shown the first yellow card of the evening for a foul on Calvin Ughelumba, before Clifton saw a 20-yard drive saved by Johansson after he had been found by Hessenthaler.
A Leicester corner from the right on 54 minutes was comfortably caught by Russell, then an opportunity came for Town four minutes later when Hewitt crossed from the right but Rose’s diving header was stopped by Johansson.
Hirst fired over the bar at the other end after creating the space to shoot from inside the box, before Gibson was booked.
Vernam replaced Cardwell and Cook came on for Robson as the Mariners made a double substitution on the hour.
Leicester created the next chance when Admiral Muskwe cut inside from the right but his shot was well held by Russell.
A cross from Callum Wright was put behind for an away corner on 65 minutes but Davis did well to block one shot from it and another one was also kept out before the danger eventually came to an end when Filip Benkovic sent the ball over the bar.
Town were playing some good football and they won a corner but could not turn it intto a goalscoring opportunity.
Soon afterwards, Leicester were back on level terms after a pacy run through the middle by Hirst. He couldn’t make it count but after Town failed to clear their lines, substitute EPPIAH beat Russell with a good finish from a narrow angle.
The visitors immediately went in search of another goal and they won a corner on the left but after it was played low to the edge of the box, Dewsbury-Hall fired well over the bar.
The final Grimsby change saw Ring replace Gibson at left-back with 16 minutes to go and soon afterwards, Vernam cut in from the right but could only find the back of the Pontoon Stand after shooting from 20 yards.
Leicester went close to taking the lead when a free kick frrom the right found its way through to Hirst but his header was tipped around the post by Russell for a corner. The flag-kick led to a scramble inside the Town box but the pressure eased when a free kick was given to the home side.
Clifton was booked on 79 minutes for a foul on Benkovic, then a Town corner came four minutes later when Ring’s cross was put beehind by Ughelumba. Hewitt’s ball into the box was headed clear.
Muskwe was replaced by Dempsey Arlott-John, before Wright worked the space for a shot but could not beat Russell.
Town had played well but they were eventually undone by a fantastic goal in the last minute as EPPIAH got the ball 35 yards out and rifled an unstoppable shot past Russell.
The Mariners were unable to find a reply in the added time so they finish with no points from their three group games, despite good performances in each of those matches.
The focus now switches back to the league programme and the long trip to Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
Town: Russell, Hewitt, Gibson, Davis, Pollock, Hessenthaler, Clifton, Robson, Rose, Cardwell, Ogbu.
Subs: Battersby, Hope, Ring, Cook, Painter, Starbuck, Vernam.
Leicester City: Johansson, Clark, Ughelumba, Johnson, Benkovic, Dewsbury-Hall, Thomas (C), Leshabela, Wright, Muskwe, Hirst.
Subs: Stolarczyk, O’Connor, Thomas, Leathers, Felix-Eppiah, Tee.
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Attendance: 341 (22)