City were beaten 2-0 by high-flying Oxford United at a foggy LNER Stadium.
The Imps started on the front foot but were dealt an early blow when Ciaron Brown rose highest at the near post to nod home Cameron Brannagan’s corner kick.
Danny Mandroiu came close to mustering an immediate response, but after running the length of the pitch on the counter-attack, James Beadle made a low save to deny the Irishman.
A slick passing move from the visitors almost made it two but Stan Mills fired into the side netting with the aid of a slight deflection.
Ruben Rodrigues had a similar opportunity a couple of minutes later, with the forward also firing wide from the right of the 18-yard box.
City were battling hard to find an equaliser, but it was the U’s who created another chance as Lukas Jensen made a fabulous stop to deny Tyler Goodrham from the edge of the box.
After half-time the fog around the LNER Stadium continued to thicken, making the Imps’ task harder in their pursuit of a leveller - and chances were certainly at a premium.
Oxford extended their lead in the 65th minute when Stan Mills’ cross from the right found its way into the back of Jensen’s net.
City responded well and forced Beadle into action as Paudie O’Connor headed towards the top right corner.
Beadle then came to punch a long throw away but missed the ball with Adam Jackson lurking in front of goal, however a timely clearance from a covering defender denied Jackson from making contact.
Billy Bodin curled goalwards with ten minutes remaining, but his effort was too central to worry Jensen.
Jensen produced a fingertip save to deny Marcus McGuane after the winger showed good feet in the box to deny the visitors a third.
Imps: Lukas Jensen, Jack Burroughs (Dylan Duffy 79’), Alex Mitchell, Adam Jackson, Paudie O’Connor (c), Sean Roughan (Jovon Makama 60’), Ethan Erhahon, Ethan Hamilton, Lasse Sorensen, Danny Mandroiu (Ali Smith 59’), Jack Vale (Hakeeb Adelakun 60’).
Oxford: James Beadle, Sam Long (Stan Mills 8’), Ciaron Brown, Eillott Moore, Mark Harris, Tyler Goodrham (O’Donkor 86’), Greg Leigh, Cam Brannagan, Ruben Rodrigues (Billy Bodin 73’), Fin Stevens, Marcus McGuane (Josh McEachran 86’).
Goals: Brown (13'), Mills (65').
Attendance: 7,114 (446 visitors).
Referee: Scott Tallis.