With striker Delano Sam-Yorke shrugging off an ankle injury, City boss Gary Simpson had the luxury of naming an unchanged squad for this Skrill Premier game against Chester at Gelder Group Sincil Bank Stadium.
City kicked off attacking the Stacey West Stand but it was Chester who were the first to press with Nat Brown forced to head a John Rooney cross behind for a corner; this was duly cleared by Brown before ex-Imp Joe Heath fired well over.
A quiet spell ensued with chances at goal at a premium whilst in the 12th minute a late challenge on Ben Tomlinson earned ex-Imp Joe Heath an early yellow card.
The Imps' first real attack of note came a couple of minutes later with Alan Power and Todd Jordan exchanging passes before the former's cross was cleared out for a throw-in. Tom Miller hurled the ball in from the touchline and after it found its way through a packed box, there to prod home the back post was DELANO SAM-YORKE.
Heath, who seemed to pick up a knock in attempting to defend the above throw-in, was replaced at left-back by Matty Mainwaring in the 20th minute and shortly before Todd Jordan fizzed a drive inches wide from the edge of the box.
Two Newton corners then caused problems for visiting 'keeper Aaron Chapman before the full-back tested the giant stopper with a 25-yard effort following a sweeping move from right to left.
Chester's response saw Lewis Turner cut in from the right before forcing Townsend to palm his effort away. Miller cleared the loose ball for a corner which ended up seeing Rooney blaze well off target.
Four minutes before the break Jordan fired wide again after another Miller throw caused problems for the Chester back-line whilst at the other end Townsend got down well to block a low Rooney centre.
Two added minutes were spent camped in the Chester half but the Imps were forced to settle for the solitary goal advantage as they went in for the breather.
HT: IMPS 1 CHESTER 0
Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second period, although Sam-Yorke was wearing a numberless shirt having taken a blow to the face during first half added time.
A scrappy start to the second period was interrupted in the 52nd minute when Matty Taylor gained possession on the left flank. He got the better of Thierry Audel and after advancing forward he drilled past Townsend for the leveller.
Shortly afterwards Matthew Brown headed a Rooney set-piece a foot over and as the Imps responded, Sheridan was tripped for a free-kick on the left. This, however, came to nothing.
City were given a great chance to regain the lead shortly after the hour mark when a long Miller throw was handled by Bond under pressure from Sam-Yorke but Chapman flung imself to his right to keep out Power's spot kick.
Conner Robinson replaced a limping Jake Sheridan a couple of minutes later whilst from Chester's next attack, Ross Killock met a Rooney corner only for Townsend to push his header away.
Jamie Menagh replaced Craig Mahon for Chester as the game approached its final quarter whilst Taylor saw yellow for kicking the ball out of Townsend's hands as he prepared to take a drop-kick.
Charlee Adams drilled a long-range effort over the bar for the Imps whilst substitute Menagh tested Townsend for Chester as the game suddenly burst into life with 15 minutes remaining.
Chester continued to look the more likely to add to the scoring with Rooney firing just over whilst at the other end Sam-Yorke muscles his way forward only to scuff his shot which Chapman easily held.
With five minutes on the clock a surging run forward from Miller was curtailed by Brown who was deservedly cautioned. Newton's free-kick landed straight in Chapman's gloves though.
A couple of minutes later Townsend tipped a Rooney effort onto the post before the ball bounced back into his gloves. Chester kept up the pressure, forcing a corner in the last minute which was cleared.
In the second minute of the three added on, Nat Brown volleyed over after Chapman dropped a Miller throw-in whilst the last action saw Adams fire wide from long range.
FT: IMPS 1 CHESTER 1