City ended 2023 with a narrow defeat at home to Northampton Town.
It was an even start to the match, with early shots from Marc Leonard and Lasse Sorensen both troubling to test either goal as the two sides battled hard to gain a foothold.
The next best chance of the game arrived in the 29th minute after a long throw into the box popped out to Northampton’s Marc Leonard who forced a save from Lukas Jensen at full stretch to tip the effort past the top right corner.
The Cobblers took the lead a minute later after Marc Leonard sent an inviting ball into the area for Jon Guthrie to rise up and head past an onrushing Jensen to break the deadlock.
City looked for a response and it almost came five minutes later after Hakeeb Adelakun got the better of goalkeeper Max Thompson following a neat through ball, but was unable to find a way past some last ditch defending from Guthrie.
The Imps began the second half on the front foot and Lasse Sorensen looked to take advantage of this with an audacious effort from the centre of the pitch which caused Thompson to backtrack and catch.
Adelakun was next up to test the resilience of Thompson after his surging run forward was followed by a fierce effort from the edge of the box which stung the palms of the keeper.
Jon Brady’s side doubled their lead against the run of play after a neat bit of build up play resulted in Kieron Bowie sending a bending effort which nestled just inside the far post.
The Imps kept battling and almost found a way back into the contest after Bishop picked out Adelakun with a neat ball through, however the frontman could only strike into the legs of the goalie.
Michael Skubala’s side pulled one back moments later after Ethan Hamilton delivered an inviting corner into the area which was turned home by TJ Eyoma from close range.
City were then reduced to 10 men in the 77th minute after Paudie O’Connor was adjudged to have used his elbow when going up for a header against Simpson.
Skubala made a triple change in the closing stages in the hope of rescuing an equaliser but the visitors stood firm to see out the win and collect all three points.
Imps: Lukas Jensen, Jack Burroughs (Jovon Makama 59’), Paudie O’Connor ©, Adam Jackson, TJ Eyoma, Sean Roughan, Ethan Erhahon (Mide Shodipo 72’), Ted Bishop (Ali Smith 85’), Lasse Sorensen (Dylan Duffy 85’), Ethan Hamilton, Hakeeb Adelakun (Jack Vale 85’). Subs (not used): Jordan Wright, Alex Mitchell.
Goals: Eyoma (61’).
Northampton: Max Thompson, Aaron McGowan, Jack Sowerby, Jon Guthrie © (Manny Monthe 80’), Mitch Pinnock, Jordan Willis, Tyreece Simpson, Kieron Bowie (Akin Odimayo 61’), Marc Leonard, Will Hondermarck (Danny Hylton 82’), Patrick Brough. Subs (not used): Lee Burge, Harvey Lintott, Peter Adimbola, Max Dyche.
Goals: Guthrie (30’), Bowie (58').
Referee: Matt Corlett.
Attendance: 8,661 (926 away).