Late Bush goal sinks Lincoln
Seeds have doubt have been planted in the minds of some Lincoln fans after City suffered their second away loss in four games, with a 1-0 defeat at Hereford dropping them down to 10th spot in the Skrill Premier.
Former Imps loanee Chris Bush finally broke through a spirited Lincoln rearguard with just six minutes left on the clock to hand the Bulls their first win in five games, with Gary Simpson's men now having picked up just four points from their last five outings.
With Simpson restoring Todd Jordan and Jake Sheridan to the starting XI in place of Luke Foster and the injured Danny Rowe, Lincoln had a defensive look to them once more on the road, which was something of a surprise given Hereford's poor recent run, in which they had lost three of their previous four matches and were there for the taking.
Ben Tomlinson was again utilised as a lone striker, despite three forwards - Nick Wright, Waide Fairhurst and Bohan Dixon - sat on the bench, with Simpson choosing to pack the midfield, a tactic that ultimately failed as City struggled to create any clear-cut chances, with Bush popping up late on to deliver a hammer blow across the visitors' boughs.
Hereford, with former Imps Sam Smith and Paul Green also in their line-up, tested goalkeeper Paul Farman early on, with Smith seeing his effort well saved by the ex-Gateshead stopper. Tomlinson then spurned a chance for City, heading Jon Nolan's cross wide, but that was about it in the first 45 minutes for chances on goal. With both sides treading water in an attacking sense, the game was hardly one to set the pulses racing, with referee Dean Treleavan doing his best to make it even less of a spectacle by awarding numerous free-kicks - 16 in each half - while eventually booking five Lincoln players and one for Hereford.
Tomlinson was again running himself into the ground for the City cause and early in the second half he had an effort saved by home keeper Rhys Evans and then saw a header blocked from a Tom Miller delivery, before being replaced by Wright midway through the half.
Bulls sub Dan Walker, on for Richard Brodie, then almost became an instant hero but with just Farman to beat, he fired a shot over the bar. Fairhurst was then introduced for the ineffective Sheridan as Simpson chose to add a more attacking intent to City, with Dixon then replacing the injured Sean Newton.
But the changes, rather than spurring Lincoln on, seemed to have an effect on the home side, with Kingsley James seeing an effort charged down by Miller, before Danny Leadbitter shot wide. City just needed to hold on for the last few minutes and earn a valuable point, but the home side's pressure eventually told when Bush slammed a shot through a crowded box and into the net to hand Hereford the victory and leave City facing another disappointing coach journey home.