New loan signings Jordan Keane and Kieran Wallace both went straight into the starting line-up for this game against Vanarama Conference play-off contenders Forest Green Rovers at Sincil Bank Stadium.
Keane slotted into midfield with Hamza Bencherif dropping to centre-back and Tom Miller moving to right-back at the expense of Jake Caprice to was on the bench. Wallace, meanwhile replaced the injured Jon Nolan in midfield.
Blustery conditions welcomed the two teams as they were led out of the tunnel by referee Karl Evans and once the pre-match formalities were completed Forest Green kicked off attacking the Stacey West Stand.
An early clash of heads between Tom Miller and Kurtis Guthrie saw the latter come off worse and in need of treatment and this was the only highlight of the opening five minutes as both teams took their time to settle into proceedings.
It was the visitors who settled first though and when Jon Parkin flicked on a Dale Bennett cross, Elliot Frear nipped in front of Miller to head powerfully past Paul FArman from seven hards out.
City looked for a quick response with a deep Keane cross leads to City corner but after this was cleared, Nat Brown sold Bencherif short with a cross-field pass and after the block-tackle on the latter was deemed fair, it gave Guthrie the chance to break down the middle.
Farman was quickly off his line and as Guthrie went to the right hit the ground very softly under the keeper's challenge; referee Evans first awarded a penalty before dishing out a yellow card to Farman. Bencherif required attention before Parkin slotted home from the spot a good three minutes after the penalty was awarded.
In the 19th minute a questionable decision against Brown after James Norwood backed into him led to Farman pushing away a dangerous Marcus Kelly free-kick and the frustrations amongst the supporters continued to grow with further decisions going against the Imps.
City's first half-chance came in the 26th minute when Keane skipped past a couple of challenges following a Cranston free-kick into the mix but saw his effort at goal blocked by a visiting defender.
The Imps pressed again three minutes later with a long Miller throw causing problems for Arnold who opted to stay on the deck to calm things down. When he was back on his feet a Tomlinson snap-shot hit Burrow before deflecting out for a goal-kick.
A Cranston slip let in Guthrie eight minutes before the break and he duly wento ground again as Power got in what looked to be a well-timed tackle. It wasn't though according to referee Evans but justice was done when Farman kept out Parkin's powerful penalty with a superb save with his feet.
Keane picked up a 44th minute caution after he left Guthrie on the floor again with a mistimed challenge before the half ended after three additional minutes of play.
HT: IMPS 0 FOREST GREEN 2
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and the Imps were the first to press with a Miller header held by Arnold.
Cranston was in need of treatment five minutes in after taking knock following a spell of City pressure in the Rovers box; the ball running in Rovers' favour after both Robinson and Wallace had efforts charged down.
After a quiet spell visiting defender Aarran Racine picked up a 64th minute booking for a cynical off-the-ball block on Keane. Two minutes later Jake Caprice replaced Kieran Wallace with Caprice slotting in at right-back, Miller moving across to centre-back and Bencherif forward in midfield. John Marsden replaces Conner Robinson shortly afterwards.
City were given a chance to reduce the arrears after a lunge by Kamdjo on Tomlinson in the area saw referee Evans make the easiest decision of the game. After booking the Rovers man, ALAN POWER sent Arnold the wrong way from the spot.
A minute after the restart Racine, already on a booking, sent Marsden tumbling with the free-kick ending with Tomlinson testing Arnold from 25 yards. As the clock ticked on a Miller throw was flicked on by Burrow but Arnold gathered.
In the 89th minute Tom Bender for Elliot Frear was Rovers' first change before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of four minutes were to be added on.
The majority of these extra stages saw the Imps camped in the Rovers box with Farman up for four corners but none of them came up with the elusive equaliser that the second half showing deserved.
FT: IMPS 1 FOREST GREEN 2