Aden Baldwin was dismissed in the second half as we exited the Carabao Cup at the hands of League One Lincoln City.
The defender was shown a second yellow card with the score at 2-0 after Sean Roughan and Lasse Sorensen had netted either side of the break.
Luke Williams decided to rotate his squad following Saturday’s disappointing opening-day defeat at Sutton United.
Aidan Stone was sent off in that match and therefore forced to serve a one-match suspension as Sam Slocombe claimed his place between the sticks.
Williams also switched to a back four of Adam Chicksen, Kyle Cameron, Baldwin and Richard Brindley, with Geraldo Bajrami and Jim O’Brien shielding them in holding midfield.
Ahead of them was a three-pronged attack of Sam Austin, Dan Crowley and Tobi Adebayo, with Cedwyn Scott playing up front.
There was a heart-in-mouth moment inside five minutes as Baldwin turned into trouble inside his own area, breathing a sigh of relief as Cameron was able to block Reece Hackett’s shot and clear the danger.
We then had a lengthy stoppage for Bajrami, who appeared to fall awkwardly after attempting a challenge near the touchline. He managed to get to his feet, but had to be replaced by John Bostock.
The sides exchanged chances on 21 minutes as Slocombe saved from Tyler Walker after seeing his attempted clearance blocked, before his opposite number Lukas Jensen could only parry Crowley’s cross to Austin, with the keeper managing to save the winger’s volleyed effort.
But we were behind two minutes later as the ball was delivered low into the box from a corner, with Paudie O’Connor’s shot being prodded over the line by Roughan.
Hackett saw an effort palmed over the bar by Slocombe as the Imps continued to look the more likely side to score, but 1-0 was how it stayed going into the interval.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the League One side to double their lead after the break as Sorensen was first to a loose ball inside our area before finding the perfect low finish.
It was so nearly three moments later as a shot cannoned off the inside of the post and into Slocombe’s grateful grasp.
Our response came in the shape of an Adebayo cross which was half-cleared to Crowley, who saw his shot blocked.
But any realistic hopes of a comeback were extinguished seconds later when Baldwin, who had already been booked for his part in an off-the-ball collision in the first half, received a second yellow for pulling back his runner as a ball was lofted over the top.
Slocombe was kept busy in the aftermath as the visitors looked to wrap up the tie but we managed to settle the game down after that, with Adebayo heading a decent chance over from a Jodi Jones cross after he’d replaced Crowley.
Junior Morias and Ollie Tipton replaced Scott and Brindley as the clock ticked down, with Jones seeing a deflected shot loop wide of the near post following Bostock’s lay-off.
But, despite us creating several decent openings in the game's dying embers, there was to be no way through as the Imps progressed to round two.
STARTING XI: Slocombe; Chicksen, Cameron, Baldwin, Brindley (Tipton 77'); Bajrami, O'Brien; Austin, Adebayo, Crowley (Jones 68'); Scott (Morias 76')
SUBSTITUTES: Rawlinson, Nemane, Bostock, Langstaff
YELLOWS: Baldwin 29' 56', O'Brien 44'
REDS: Baldwin 56'
ATTENDANCE: 6,468 (1,744)