An early first half goal from Regan Poole at the LNER Stadium consigned Bristol Rovers to a fourth league defeat in a row.
In a bright opening start for the home side, their first chance fell to Jack Diamond, whose shot was blocked and Ellery Balcombe gathered easily.
Ted Bishop then swung in a deep free-kick which was headed on by Paudie O’Connor but Balcombe tipped the dipping attempt over the crossbar.
The home side take did take the lead on 14 minutes, when Rovers failed to deal with a corner into the box. Imps’ captain Regan Poole found himself unmarked at the back post and made no mistake with the finish to put the hosts a goal ahead.
Rovers could have gone two down soon after, following some good play from Bishop again. He turned and pivoted inside the box, but Balcombe got down to make the save and then again to deny Poole on the follow-up at the near post.
Rovers were struggling to gain a foothold in the game but some nice interplay down the right between Josh Coburn and Aaron Collins, captaining Rovers for the first time, saw the ball worked down the line, but Collins couldn’t dig out a cross and the ball sailed behind.
Midway through the first half, Rovers had their best chance. Coburn robbed Lewis Montsma on the halfway line and played a through ball to Collins. The number 10 raced away but Rushworth stood strong to palm the ball clear and Coburn saw his goalbound follow-up shot blocked from close range.
Things got worse for the Gas with five minutes to play in the first half as they were reduced to ten men. Chasing after a long ball over the top, Ryan Loft made a challenge on Rushworth which saw referee Tom Reeves reaching for his pocket to send him off.
In added time, Ben House found space in the box and turned and fired a low shot that Balcombe again got down to keep out as Rovers trailed by one goal heading into the break.
The first chance of the second half fell the way of Rovers when they were awarded a free-kick in a central position after Collins drew a foul. Antony Evans stepped up to take and was only denied by Rushworth diving full-length across his goal to claw the ball away.
A mistake from Jarrell Quansah allowed Diamond to go in on goal but the defender did well to get back and make a last-minute recovery challenge, aided by Balcombe coming off his line, to prevent a second goal for Lincoln
Heading into the final twenty minutes, substitute Harry Anderson played the ball out wide to Collins. The Welshman did brilliantly to cut inside his man and get a shot off, although it lacked power and was comfortable for Rushworth.
Up the other end, Luke Plange picked up the ball in a dangerous position inside the area but his shot was too powerful and cleared the crossbar.
The Imps then had a second chance in quick succession as Bishop found himself in virtually in the same position as Plange minutes earlier, but he, too, could only fire over.
Lamare Bogarde and John Marquis were brought on by Joey Barton in a final roll of the dice to try and get his side back into the contest. The two were involved almost immediately as Bogarde played a smart ball through to Anderson. Anderson then crossed into the box where Marquis was lurking but the ball just wouldn’t fall for him inside the six-yard box.
In a frenetic finish at the LNER Stadium, the Gas piled on the pressure to try and force an equaliser. The referee waved away a penalty appeal after Collins went down in the box and on the counter-attack, Plange cut infield and his deflected shot nearly squeezed in.
Late on, the Lincoln box came under siege with a series of long throw-ins from Anderson, yet the Gas couldn’t take advantage as they fell to defeat.
Next up for Rovers is a Sky Bet League One game at The Mem on Tuesday 14th February against Ipswich Town.
Rovers: Ellery Balcombe, James Connolly, Lewis Gordon, Jarell Quansah, Grant Ward, Aaron Collins (c), Ryan Loft, Anthony Evans, Luke McCormick, James Gibbons, Josh Coburn.
Subs: James Belshaw, Scott Sinclair, John Marquis, Lamare Bogarde, Luca Hoole, Harry Anderson, Calum McDonald.
Lincoln City: Carl Rushworth, Regan Poole (c), Lewis Montsma, Adam Jackson, Ted Bishop, Mide Shodipo, Ethan Erhahon, Paudie O’Connor, Ben House, Sean Roughan, Jack Diamond
Subs: Jordan Wright, Harry Boyes, Charles Vernam, Luke Plange, Danny Mandroiu, Lassa Sorensen, TJ Eyoma
Referee: T Reeves
Attendance: 8025 (552 away)