Lincoln City have now failed to win in their last 8 games in League Two after slipping to a narrow 1-0 defeat at Bury on Good Friday.
The Imps remain in 20th position in League Two still six points above the relegation zone but have played a game more than all those below them.
Steve Tilson’s side travelled to Gigg Lane knowing a win would help them reach the 50-point safety barrier set by the ex-Southend boss. But despite a spirited performance against promotion chasing Bury, Tom Lees’ second half header proved to be the decisive goal.
Tilson was forced into making two changes from the side that earned a hard-fought point at Crewe last weekend. Cian Hughton replaced Julian Kelly at right-back after he returned to parent club Reading at the end of his loan spell and Josh O’Keefe was reinstated in midfield after Clark Keltie picked up an injury in training.
The game came too soon for defender Adam Watts who failed to recover from illness in time so Paul Green continued at centre-back alongside Danny Hone. There were also starts for Tom Kilbey and Luke Howell while Ben Hutchinson continued in attack.
In a quiet first half it was the home side who were first to test the Imps’ resistance with Nicky Ajose curling just wide of Elliott Parish’s far post in the 10th minute.
City soaked up the early pressure and nearly stole a march on their opponents when Cian Hughton’s surging run forward found Tom Kilbey but his effort was palmed away by Shakers’ stopper Cameron Belford.
As the half time interval approached Ben Hutchinson had a goal ruled out for offside by referee Trevor Kettle in stoppage time and both sides headed for the break deadlocked.
The teams re-emerged for the second half and Bury soon started to test City’s backline. And with 56 minutes on the clock Lincoln’s defence wilted allowing Bury centre-half Tom Lees to head home Peter Sweeney’s corner.
Lincoln refused to lie down after this setback and Luke Howell was adjudged to be standing in an offside position when he hit the foot of the post from Gavin McCallum’s centre. Tilson brought on Mustapha Carayol for Josh O’Keefe in the 71st minute but it was Bury who went closest with Sweeney firing just over Parish’s crossbar.
Former Imp Lenell John-Lewis came on for Bury while Tilson’s last-gasp attempt to salvage a point saw Drewe Broughton and Scott Spencer thrown on for the final five minutes.
Neither could make an impact and the Imps played the last few minutes with 10 men with Carayol limping off the field of play.
Bury comfortably saw the remaining seconds out and edged closer to automatic promotion. Lincoln on the other hand were left looking over their shoulders in League Two with none of the sides directly below them in action today.
They entertain Cheltenham Town at Sincil Bank on Easter Monday in their penultimate home game of the season.Tweet