Fresh from the 1-0 midweek home win over Macclesfield Town, City welcomed Forest Green Rovers to Gelder Group Sincil Bank Stadium for their first Saturday fixture of the new campaign.
There were two changes to the City starting line-up with the injured Nick Wright being replaced by debutant Waide Fairhurst whilst Mo Fofana was recalled in place of Luke Foster who dropped to the bench. Also amongst the substitutes was Tom Miller, back in the fold following injury.
Forest Green got the game underway attacking the Stacey West Stand and were quickly on the attack, forcing a corner on the 60 second mark but Marcus Kelly's delivery was poor with the ball sailing well wide.
City's first attack came in the fifth minute when Ben Tomlinson intercepted a stray Rovers pass before advancing down the left. With nobody up in support, Tomlinson did well to hold up play with his eventual ball into the box finding Alan Power who won a corner. Newton's delivery was cleared though before Brown was penalised for a push when the ball came back in to the box.
Three minutes later Power drilled into the side netting from 20 yards out as the Imps pushed forward again playing into a strong breeze. A quiet spell ensued with a wild Fairhurst effort which flew over the bar being the only chance of note either side of the quarter hour mark.
Things changed in the 20th minute when the visitors took the lead in extremely fortuitous circumstances when midfielder Anthony Barry curled a ball into the box from long range and saw it fly past everyone including Paul Farman in the Imps goal before nestling in the bottom corner of the City net.
City's heads didn't drop though and seven minutes later they drew level when, after the Rovers' defence failed to deal with a Sean Newton free-kick, in nipped WAIDE FAIRHURST and, after he took a touch which wrong-footed his marker, planted a neat finish past the outstretched arms of Sam Russell.
The Imps kept up the pressure with a high boot from George Pilkington on Fairhurst seeing a free-kick cleared before a throw-in was won by Tomlinson; this then led to a great shout for a penalty after a Newton cross appeared to strike Hodgkiss on the arm. Referee Peter Bankes just awarded a corner though which ended up in a Rovers free-kick.
Rowe fizzed a right-footed drive inches wide from 25 yards from City's next attack in the 39th minute whilst a couple of minutes later a sliding challenge by Jon Nolan on Chris Stokes saw the City man see yellow despite the midfielder appearing to win the ball in the centre circle.
Two added minutes ended with Forest Green making it two corners apiece but City dealt with the danger to ensure it was level pegging going into the break.
HT: Imps 1 Forest Green 1
City restarted with the strong wind now at the backs but it was the visitors who were the first to press with Yan Klukowski nipping in to head over a cross whilst shortly afterwards an Andrew Boyce block on Kelly earned him a yellow card.
The Imps' respond saw Fairhurst hook wide following a long Gray throw in to the box before there was a break in play when Stokes hit the deck after appearing to collide with a team mate midway inside his own half. The full-back left the field somewhat gingerly once back on his feet, returning holding the side of his head.
In the 63rd minute Fairhurst had a snap-shot tipped over by Russell and after Rovers cleared the resultant corner Gray was booked for a trip on James Norwood.
As the game entered its final quarter, a long ball forward from Boyce was headed behind by Dale Bennett for a corner but Power's near post delivery was cleared before Rowe's follow-up effort was charged down.
A corner followed at the other end which City dealt with before the visitors made a change with Magno Vieira replacing Matthew Barnes-Homer up front.
Shots on target remained at a premium as the game wore on but this changed with four minutes remaining when, after left-back Newton went on a surging run forward, he picked out WAIDE FAIRHURST who took a touch before blasting an unstoppable effort into the top left corner of Russell's net.
Rovers responded with a double switch; Omar Koroma and Saul Williams replacing Norwood and Barry but City remained on the offensive with appeals for a penalty waved away after Fairhurst appeared to be bundled over in the box.
A minimum of four minutes was indicated by the Fourth Official and midway through these extra stages Luke Foster came on for goalscoring debutant Fairhurst.
A succession of throw-ins for the visitors saw the seconds elapse and after Stokes headed a cross well wide referee Bankes booked Tomlinson for a push on his marker before blowing for time.
FT: Imps 2 Forest Green Rovers 1
1 Paul FARMAN
15 Dan GRAY
5 Andrew BOYCE
23 Nat BROWN
3 Sean NEWTON
6 Mamadou FOFANA
19 Jon NOLAN
8 Alan POWER
9 Danny ROWE
11 Ben TOMLINSON
7 Waide FAIRHURST
2 Tom MILLER
12 Jake SHERIDAN
17 Bohan DIXON
27 Luke FOSTER (for FAIRHURST 90+2)
31 David PREECE
GOALS: FAIRHURST (27, 86)
BOOKINGS: NOLAN (42), BOYCE (51), GRAY (64), TOMLINSON (90+4)
FOREST GREEN ROVERS
1 Sam RUSSELL
2 Jared HODGKISS
6 Dale BENNETT
27 George PILKINGTON
3 Chris STOKES
4 Al BANGURA
23 Anthony BARRY
24 Marcus KELLY
7 James NORWOOD
8 Yan KLUKOWSKI
18 Matthew BARNES-HOMER
10 Magno VIEIRA (for BARNES-HOMER 73)
12 Ed ASAFU-ADJAYE
13 Matt BULMAN
20 Omar KOROMA (for NORWOOD 87)
25 Saul WILLIAMS (for BARRY 87)
GOAL: BARRY (20)
REFEREE: Peter Bankes
ASSISTANTS: Craig Grundy & Justin Hayes
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Chris Ward
ATTENDANCE: 2,290 (46 visiting supporters)