A first-half brace from Joe Ironside condemned City to defeat at Cambridge United in Sky Bet League One.
The Imps had the first effort on target as Tashan Oakley-Boothe played the ball to Ted Bishop from the left side who cut into the area and fired low into the gloves of Dimi Mitov.
Straight afterwards, Bishop had another chance to add to this season’s goal tally when Tom Hopper won the ball on the halfway line and played through the midfielder whose effort was comfortable for the goalie.
The intense start to the match continued after Shilow Tracey got the better of Paudie O’Connor as he raced towards the byline before fizzing a ball across the face of goal, but Cambridge couldn’t apply the finishing touch.
Mark Bonner’s side threatened once again in the 17th minute after the ball came to Tracey on the edge of the box who went at goal before slicing his shot into the side netting of Carl Rushworth’s goal.
The U’s pressure paid off in the 24th minute when Paul Digby’s initial goalbound shot from just inside the box was deflected by Regan Poole into Joe Ironside’s path who struck it home on the turn.
Three minutes later, Cambridge doubled their lead when Harvey Knibbs found space in behind the City defence on the left to square it to Ironside who tapped in to score his second of the afternoon.
Following a break in play for a Cambridge head injury, City almost pulled one back when Sean Roughan’s dangerous cross from the left had to be headed over the bar by a defender to prevent Ben House or Jack Diamond from nodding in.
The Imps started the second period brightly and created their first chance of the half in the 52nd minute as Poole picked up the ball on the right wing and floated a cross towards Tom Hopper whose downward header was caught by Mitov.
Both sides failed to create any big openings as the second half went on, with the next best effort coming in the 78th minute when Ironside peeled away from his defender at the back post to glance a cross wide of the post.
Vernam looked to put his side back into the contest with five minutes remaining as his initial cross from the byline came back to his feet for him to lash a shot into the goalie’s gloves from six-yards out, leaving Cambridge to take all three points.
Cambridge: Dimi Mitov, George Williams, Paul Digby © (Greg Taylor 86’), Lloyd Jones, Joe Ironside, Sam Smith (Saikou Janneh 86’), Harrison Dunk, Jubril Okedina, Shilow Tracey (James Brophy 66’), Adam May (Liam O’Neil 66’), Harvey Knibbs (Jack Lankester 75’). Subs (not used): Will Mannion, Fejiri Okenabirhie.
Goals: Ironside (24’, 27’).
Imps: Carl Rushworth, Regan Poole, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Tom Hopper ©, Ted Bishop (Charles Vernam 64’), Paudie O’Connor, Ben House, Lasse Sorensen (Matty Virtue 46’), TJ Eyoma (Joe Walsh 46’), Sean Roughan, Jack Diamond. Subs (not used): Jordan Wright, Jamie Robson, Jay Benn, Oisin Gallagher.
Attendance: 5,677 (1,014 away).
Referee: Sam Allison.