STAGS and Lincoln City fought out a tight goalless first half with few real chances at the One Call Stadium tonight.
Matt Green did have an effort ruled out for offside and also headed another opportunity wide.
But defences were largely on top and home debutant keeper Liam Mitchell was rarely troubled.
There were a few boos from the home fans as Holdworth strolled across the pitch before kick-off.
Tafazolli headed clear a Nicolau free kick into the box in the opening minute.
Miller then slid in to rob Speight before he could shoot on the edge of the box after a long Mitchell clearance was helped on.
With no Geohaghon for Stags, it was City who carried the long throw threat with Gray, whose first effort from the right picked out Boyce who planted his header wide.
Rhead was booked on 14 minutes as he went down under a challenge, presumably the official thinking he had taken a dive.
Green almost snatched Stags the lead with a far post header from Todd’s pinpoint cross from the right, but he guided the effort wide.
Nicolau took City’s first corner on 17 minutes which actually curled and struck the near post before being cleared.
Stags won their second corner soon after which was half cleared and then headed back wide of goal by Tafazolli.
Smith wasn’t too far over the top with a 25 yard free kick in the 20th minute as Lincoln threatened again.
Green blazed over after a great move involving Roberts and Rhead, though an offside flag was up.
Tempers were starting to boil with a succession of decisions going against Stags until Fofana was booked on 25 minutes for hacking down Roberts.
Miller wasn’t too far off with an audacious attempt from distance after spotting Mitchell off his line, though the keeper did seem to have it covered anyway.
Stags were the almost caught napping when a corner when pulled back towards Gray, who had made a late run to the edge of the box only to fire low and wide.
On 36 minutes a superb ball over the top from inside his own half offered Green a very difficult first time volley on the run opportunity which he couldn’t connect with properly and bundled the ball tamely to Farman,
Stags did have the ball in the Lincoln net on 37 minutes as a superb pass by the energetic Todd picked out the run of Green, who was offside as he applied the killer finish.