City were unchanged for this Skrill Premier game against Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn with Tom Miller for Luke Foster on the bench being the only change to the squad that was on show at Southport in midweek.
After a minute's applause in memory of former Rovers manager Roy Hillman, play got underway with the the hosts kicking off against an Imps' side who were in red and white for the first away game this season.
City were the first to press with good play by Chris Sharp seeing him win a corner in the opening minute with Alan Power's whipped in delivery flying past the back post as Sharp threatened.
At the other end Paul Farman got down well to gather a low Marcus Kelly drive whilst in the seventh minute, and from the game's first challenge of note, Mo Fofana was harshly cautioned for a trip on the former Tamworth midfielder.
A second City corner came along in the 11th minute with home keeper Sam Russell punching clear before James Norwood drilled a low shot wide as the home side responded by going on the attack.
Norwood got his sights correct in the 21st minute though as, after he turned Andrew Boyce and created space for himself, he blasted an unstoppable drive past Farman to edge his side in front.
City's response saw them win a corner which ended up seeing Boyce have a header diverted behind whilst at the other end, and on the half-hour mark, Yan Klukowski headed a Norwood cross well over.
The Imps won corners number five, six and seven shortly afterwards as they pressed for the leveller but they were made to pay for their lack of firepower eight minutes before the break when ex-Imp Paul Green met a Danny Wright cross to head home his side's second of the game.
City replied immediately and after another corner was played back to Newton, he whipped in a deep centre which was headed across the box by Boyce and there to help it home was Chris Sharp who bagged his first goal in City colours.
Boyce thought he'd grabbed an equaliser four minutes later when he blasted home following another Newton ball into the box but the offside flag was quickly raised and ruled out his effort.
Midway through two added minutes Marlon Jackson advanced before firing over for the last action of the opening period.
HT: Forest Green 2 Imps 1
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half with the Imps the first to press; a Newton cross being tipped over by Russell at full stretch.
Whilst nothing came from the corner, City's next foray forward saw the ball reach Power following a Gray throw-in and he curled in a peach of a cross which was met by Boyce only for him to see the ball crash against the crossbar as he powered in a header.
Sharp picked up a 52nd minute booking despite being a foot away from his opponent who went to ground very easily whilst three minutes later Ben Tomlinson went to ground following an aerial challenge with Ed Asafu-Adjaye, needing treatment from Kev Oxby as a result.
City's 10th corner of the game came along in the 58th minute but came to nothing whilst at the other end a Wright shot was well held by Farman.
Bohan Dixon and Nick Wright replaced Marlon Jackson and Chris Sharp for City's first changes of the game in the 67th minute and a minute later the Imps' 12th corner of game saw Russell claim Newton's delivery.
City's failure to make their possession and pressure count came to haunt them in the 74th minute when a hopeful punt forward from the home defence saw Norwood advance before he neatly chipped over Farman for his second of the game.
With 13 minutes remaining Waide Fairhurst replaced Mo Fofana before Nolan drilled over from 25 yards. Kieron Forbes then came on for Al Bangura for the hosts.
Forest Green won their first corner in the 82nd minute and this saw a Danny Wright header force Farman into a decent save low to his right and six minutes later Dixon was booked for late challenge on Klukowski.
In the final match home 'man of the match' Jamie Turley swept home a Green free-kick to run salt in the City wounds; the centre-back's volley from the edge of the box giving Farman no chance between the sticks.
Midway through three added minutes Matty Taylor replaced James Norwood for Rovers; the latter receiving a standing ovation following his two-goal appearance. A home free-kick then saw Farman scoop the ball over his bar under pressure from Wright before referee Dan Cook brought a disappointing game to a close.
FT: Forest Green 4 Imps 1