There were four changes to the City starting XI for this Blue Square Bet Premier game against Gateshead at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium.
Goalkeeper David Preece came in for his debut with former Gateshead stopper Paul Farman dropping to the bench whilst the injured Dan Gray (knee) was replaced by Paul Robson at right-back. David Morgan for Nicky Nicolau was a change in midfield whilst in attack top scorer Jamie Taylor was rested in place of Colin Larkin.
On a greasy surface following a rainy afternoon, City kicked off attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand and they were quickly on the offensive when a quickly taken free-kick from skipper Gary Mills seeing Larkin come close to connecting in the area but the ball skidded out for a goal-kick.
A late challenge by Liam Henderson on Peter Gilbert in the fifth minute forced the left-back to receive attention from Kev Oxby but with the tackle being deemed fair by the officials, all that came of it was a throw-in to the Imps, much to the annoyance of the Imps players close to the action.
Four minutes later a pacey Alan Power free-kick was met by Vadaine Oliver who saw his stooping header fizz a foot wide of the left hand post whilst shortly afterwards the Imps had Andrew Boyce to thank as he produced a superb saving challenge to deny Jamie Chandler.
Chandler had a glorious chance to put his side in front after he was released through the middle by Henderson but, after he rounded Preece he decided against slotting into an unguarded net and took the ball on. This gave Boyce the chance to slide across and preserve the clean sheet.
A late challenge on Oliver by Ben Clark earned the Gateshead skipper a 17th minute yellow card before the game entered a scrappy period with the game littered with stoppages; this changed when Jake Sheridan won the first corner in the 23rd minute but a second knock to Gilbert forced a delay in its taking.
It was soon apparent that the experienced full-back was struggling and Scott Garner came on as his replacement. This enforced change saw Robson switch to left-back, Miller to right-back with Garner partnering Boyce in the middle.
It took Gateshead a few minutes to test the new-look back-line and when Henderson escaped the offside flag, he saw his chipped effort clip the top of Preece's bar before bouncing out for a goal-kick.
It was Mills' turn to receive treatment in the 34th minute when he was left on the deck after sliding to block a ball forward in front of the visiting dug out. A stretcher was called for as the skipper remained sprawled on the wet grass and Mills looked to be in some discomfort as he was helped to the dressing rooms. Conner Robinson came on as his replacement three minutes later with Alan Power dropping back into midfield.
Appeals for a Gateshead penalty after a cross from the left appeared to hit Garner on the arm but referee Whitton spotted nothing wrong with the incident and as the Imps pressed in response Larking was upended on the left for a free-kick in a dangerous position. The set-piece ended, however, with Boyce firing over after Power's delivery was half-cleared to the centre-back.
Four added minutes was indicated by the Fourth Official and midway through these extra stages Sheridan was upended by both Clark and Paddy Boyle before a free-kick was eventually given. The free-kick led to a City corner which ended up with Garner penalised for a push.
HT: Imps 0 Gateshead 0
Gateshead restarted proceedings and within the opening stages of the second half Oliver required treatment after taking a knock to the head whilst four minutes in a superb turn from Sheridan saw him create space only to blaze his effort over.
City were the dominant side in the first 10 minutes of the second half as they looked for a way past Adam Bartlett in the Gateshead goal; Boyce coming close from a Power free-kick being the first real effort.
Despite this possession and pressure, it was the visitors who took the lead shortly after the hour mark when Preece was harshly adjudged to have dragged Magnay to the deck despite the experienced stopper appearing to connect with ball rather than player. The referee's assistant was quick to raise his flag though with Josh Gillies blasting into the roof of the net from the resultant penalty. Preece was duly booked for kicking the ball away in frustration.
Gateshead's lead lasted less than two minutes though as, following good perseverance from Oliver saw him follow up a blocked effort and when his header ran into the path of Robinson, the teenager clinically fired home his third of the season from 15 yards.
Shortly after the restart a Power corner was met by Oliver who saw his downward header superbly palmed away by Bartlett and as the Imps kept up the pressure the visiting 'keeper was forced to claim a back post Sheridan header.
As the half approached its midway point Larkin was upended by Boyle just outside the box but Power's delivery was cleared as Sheridan prepared to get on the end of the ball.
Yemi Odubade for James Marwood was Gateshead's first switch in the 73rd minute as the visitors looked for a different attacking option whilst hopes of a second City goal were dashed on a number of occasions with referee Whitton quick on his whistle bringing about a stop-start period of play.
A jinking run forward from Ryan Donaldson ended with his shot being deflected into Preece's gloves whilst at the other end Oliver headed over after failing to get over a looping centre.
Time was quickly running out if the Imps were to snatch a winner and more seconds elapsed when Donaldson was booked for a tantrum after conceding a throw-in. Jamie Taylor then came on for Colin Larkin before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of three minutes were to be added on.
A foul on Morgan midway through these extra stages gave Power the chance to launch a free-kick into the danger area but, not for the first time, referee Whitton blew for an infringement in the packed penalty area.
FT: Imps 1 Gateshead 1
City: David Preece, Paul Robson, Andrew Boyce, Tom Miller, Peter Gilbert, Gary Mills, David Morgan, Jake Sheridan, Alan Power, Colin Larkin, Vadaine Oliver.
subs: Scott Garner (for Gilbert 24), Adam Smith, Jamie Taylor (for Larkin 90), Conner Robinson (for Mills 37), Paul Farman.
goals: Robinson (63)
bookings: Preece (61)
Gateshead: Adam Bartlett, Carl Magnay, James Curtis, Ben Clark, Paddy Boyle, Jamie Chandler, Phil Turnbull, Josh Gillies, James Marwood, Ryan Donaldson, Liam Henderson.
subs: Yemi Odubade (for Marwood 73), Micky Cummins, James Brown, Glenn Wilson, Jordan Nixon.
goals: Gillies (61 pen)
bookings: Clark (17), Donaldson (89)
Referee: Rob Whitton
Assistants: Stuart Pawley & Tom Harty
Fourth Official: Sean Feerick
Attendance: 1,906 (82 visiting supporters)