Whilst City boss Chris Moyses named an unchanged starting line-up for this Vanarama Conference game at Bristol Rovers, there was one switch on the bench with loanee Tom Davies replacing Alex Simmons.
Rovers kicked off and were the first to press with a dangerous cross from the right being headed well wide by Andy Monkhouse for the hosts in the third minute. Three minutes later Paul Farman pushed away a Tom Parkes header following a free-kick into the City box.
The home side won the first corner of the game in the ninth minute and when it was played in Matty Taylor crashed an effort against the underside of the bar before City cleared their lines.
A quiet spell ensued as the Imps started to get themselves into the game, although a 19th minute lapse from Jon Nolan gave possession away cheaply, giving Lee Brown the chance to curl a 25-yard effort over the bar.
Good work from Adam Dawson saw him win a corner but City stood firm and when the ball was played forward a shocking challenge from Lee Mansell on Delano Sam-Yorke in the centre circle saw the Rovers man pick up a deserved yellow card.
After Farman pulled off a good save to deny Taylor in the 28th minute, City had a great chance to open the scoring but Ben Tomlinson volleyed a Jake Caprice cross inches wide of the target with the striker probably having more time to set his sights than he thought.
Shortly afterwards a Nolan cross was headed goalwards by Arnaud Mendy but home stopper Steve Mildenhall claimed to his right whilst at the other end Taylor was denied again by Farman after Marshall was robbed of possession.
The resultant corner saw Farman pull off a point-blank save before Mendy hooked clear to the edge of the box where the home side were awarded a free-kick. Up stepped Lee Brown who duly drilled in a low effort which flew past Farman for the opening goal.
Four minutes later Rovers doubled their advantage when, after Sam-Yorke was bundled over by McChrystal, fairly in the eyes of the referee, a long punt forward saw Taylor gain possession and with the City defence caught square he set up Nathan Blissett who scored with ease.
The half ended following two additional minutes of play.
HT: BRISTOL ROVERS 2 IMPS 0
City made a change at the break with Tom Davies replacing Sean Newton. Davies cam on at right-back with Caprice switching flanks to the left.
A good block from Bencherif denied Dawson a cross three minutes in whilst shortly afterwards Brown curled a free-kick against the post after Tomlinson was penalised for a foul on Lockyer 25 yards out.
Jordan Burrow replaced Delano Sam-Yorke up front for the Imps in the 55th minute whilst a minute later Mendy was clearly pushed over in the box by Parkes but nothing was given by referee Lee Swabey.
At the other end Taylor dragged a low effort well wide with City's response seeing Tomlinson winning a corner on the left but Nolan's delivery was poor and cleared at the near post.
Mendy picked up a 67th minute booking for delaying the taking of a Rovers free-kick and two minutes later debutant Davies joined him following a clumsy challenge on Dawson.
With 16 minutes on the clock Tyrell Waite replaced Marcus Marshall for City and he was quickly in the action, putting McChrystal under pressure only for the ball to run away from him.
After a quiet spell Mendy needed treatment after he was left grounded following a challenge close to the touchline but the Frenchman was able to resume duties. Shortly afterwards a Taylor header was cleared off the line by Brown.
As the clock ticked towards its final minute Tomlinson had an effort charged down before Burrow headed a Waite cross wide. Ellis Harrison then replaced Blissett for the home side.
Jake Gosling and Angelo Balanta replaced Dawson and Taylor before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of four minutes were to be added on. These passed without further incident so the Imps were left to reflect on a disappointing four-minute spell towards the end of the opening period which ultimately sent them to defeat.
FT: BRISTOL ROVERS 2 IMPS 0
1 Paul FARMAN
17 Jake CAPRICE
23 Nat BROWN
5 Hamza BENCHERIF
3 Sean NEWTON
20 Charlee ADAMS
12 Arnaud MENDY
14 Jon NOLAN
22 Marcus MARSHALL
11 Ben TOMLINSON
15 Delano SAM-YORKE
9 Jordan BURROW (for SAM-YORKE 55)
18 Kegan EVERINGTON
25 Tyrell WAITE (for MARSHALL 74)
28 Tom DAVIES (for NEWTON h/t)
30 Aidan GRANT
BOOKINGS: MENDY (67). DAVIES (69)
1 Steve MILDENHALL
2 Daniel LEADBITTER
3 Lee BROWN
4 Tom LOCKYER
5 Mark McCHRYSTAL
6 Tom PARKES
7 Lee MANSELL
10 Matty TAYLOR
23 Andy MONKHOUSE
27 Nathan BLISSETT
28 Adam DAWSON
11 Jake GOSLING (for DAWSON 90)
14 Josh WAKEFIELD
17 Ellis HARRISON (for BLISSETT 89)
29 Angelo BALANTA (for TAYLOR 90)
25 Will PUDDY
GOALS: BROWN (36), BLISSETT (40)
BOOKING: MANSELL (24)
REFEREE: Lee Swabey
ASSISTANTS: Jon Hollier & Mat Eva
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Adam Ricketts
ATTENDANCE: 6,528 (248 City supporters)