City suffered a frustrating late defeat at in-form Shrewsbury Town, but the result paled into insignificance compared to another head injury to Adam Jackson.
The centre-back, who has had two concussions already this season, came off with an apparently similar injury after a brave challenge to stop a Shrewsbury counter-attack.
And to compound the frustrations for City, Cohen Bramall pulled up later in the match with a hamstring injury.
Michael Appleton made two changes to the starting line-up, with Morgan Whittaker and Ted Bishop returning to the XI. Captain Liam Bridcutt was also able to take a place on the bench for the first time since Boxing Day after recovering from injury.
Whittaker was the first to get a shot away after being allowed to twist and turn just outside the area, but his low shot was wide of the post.
The Imps had started confidently, with a sublime John Marquis pass sending Bramall running away down the byline after 10 minutes - Shrews goalkeeper Marko Marosi held the left-back’s cross at the second attempt.
Marquis was again lurking 10 minutes later when he was close to getting on the end of a deep cross from Regan Poole. Again Marosi, a former team-mate of Marquis’ at Doncaster, was out well to confidently collect the ball.
Bramall will have been disappointed to see his free-kick blocked by the Shrewsbury wall shortly afterwards, before a lengthy break in play when the cleared ball from Tyrese Fornah resulted in a crunching collision between Jackson and Daniel Udoh.
Jackson, who has had two concussions already this season, was left in a heap on the ground after both players fully committed to winning the ball - with physics from both teams checking on him. He was unable to continue in the game, but was thankfully able to walk off the pitch.
Once play resumed the next opportunity fell the way of City, with a deep free-kick from Chris Maguire somehow being forced behind for a corner despite the best efforts of the lurking Poole.
Jordan Wright was out quickly to collect the ball from the feet of Udoh, whose first-touch allowed the Imps goalkeeper an opportunity, while Josh Vela fired over for the home side after Ryan Bowman was squeezed out.
Poole needed to be at full stretch to deny Ethan Ebanks-Landell a goal-scoring opportunity, before the visitors had a late flourish before the break which saw Ted Bishop have a shot blocked then curl an effort just wide with Marosi left rooted to the spot.
Shrewsbury started the second half brightly with Bowman just unable to sort his feet out and get a shot away from Joshua Daniels' lay-off.
Moments later Bowman was shown the yellow card after deliberately pulling Maguire down to stop a counter-attack.
Bramall threatened down the left after 54 minutes, but after getting past two Shrews defenders he pulled up quickly with what looked like an injury to his right hamstring as he tried to get past a third.
That prompted a second reshuffle of the day for City, with Jamie Robson coming on to slot in at left-back. City's work-rate never dropped on a sunny day in Shropshire, but the injuries disrupted play.
Wright was perfectly-placed to hold Luke Leahy's shot from distance when he will have only been partially sighted due to the amount of bodies in the way, while Bennett's shot from distance was blocked by Robson.
A deep right-wing cross from Hopper was too high for his strike partner Marquis, while Whittaker also saw a shot deflected behind.
The Shrews took the lead with six minutes to go, after a long ball to Bowman who knocked the ball down into the path of Udoh. The in-form frontman took a quick snapshot which quickly found its way into the bottom-left corner.
That was a sucker punch for a City side who had worked hard throughout the day and enjoyed far more possession than the hosts.
The game was stretch in the final period as the Imps pushed for a leveller and the home side threatened to counter.
In the end the best chance to draw level was a quick counter from City led by Maguire. He played the ball out to Marquis before pausing and to time his run into the area - Marquis' cut-back was just behind the number 10.
Attendance: 6,791 (471 away)
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