Lincoln City were narrowly beaten by Eastleigh in their last home game at Sincil Bank this season.
An expectant home crowd had been hoping for a positive send off for the campaign, but will go into the summer disappointed.
Before kick-off, both players and fans observed a minute’s silence in memory of the 56 that lost their lives in the Bradford fire 30 years ago.
Eastleigh started the better of the two sides, forcing goalkeeper Paul Farman into a smart save after an ambitious volley from Harry Pell in just the 1st minute.
The visitors continued their early dominance through a series of corners that challenged the Imps defence, with Bencherif frequently clearing well.
Lincoln had a rare sight at goal midway through the first half, after a superb Jordan Cranston through ball fell kindly for Ben Tomlinson whose efforts forced Eastleigh’s Ross Flitney to produce an excellent double save.
Much of Eastleigh’s away supporters had made the journey in fancy dress, with a banana and a wizard attracting most of the attention, after a spell short of real scoring opportunities.
The away side then took the lead just before the break, with clever one touch football outside the Imps box and a brilliant trick pass falling to the feet of Jack Midson who knocked the ball past an onrushing Farman.
The half-time whistle was accompanied with some drama, after Bencherif appeared to kick out at Eastleigh striker James Constable, with replays showing the Imps man was lucky to remain on the pitch after the incident.
Moyses had reshuffled his personnel at the break, with the home side now lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in the hope of breaking through a resolute Eastleigh defence.
A slow second half was then shot into life with a powerful effort from Tomlinson finishing up in the roof of the net, after an Alan Power free kick wasn’t cleared and the Imps front man pounced.
The parity didn’t last long, Eastleigh took advantage of slack marking and a pull back across the box found Craig McAllister in masses of space, whose scuffed finish ended up in the back of the net.
The away side sat on their narrow lead, fending off rare chances from Lincoln who struggled to perform consistently all game and Eastleigh ran out deserved victors.
A disappointing day for Lincoln City, who in defeat, failed to avenge the 4-0 loss to Eastleigh earlier in the campaign.
After the match, goal scorer Ben Tomlinson said on Lincoln’s poor form of late: “It’s so disappointing, the fans come here week in week out and we haven’t given them too much to cheer about but, we’ve just got to keep digging in and take it onto the last game next Saturday.”
The forward also confirmed he has spoken to Manager Chris Moyses regarding his future at the club, but is unsure of his plans for next season: “As of yet I don’t really know, obviously I’ve got a personal life as well and I’ve got to do what’s right for me. I like it here and I’ve enjoyed my 2 years here but we’ll see what happens.”
By Samuel Gilbert
Farman; Caprice, Miller, Bencherif, Cranston; Keane; Everington, Wallace; Power; Tomlinson, Sam-Yorke
Lincoln Subs: Diagne, Burrow, Nolan, Robinson, Grant.
Flitney; Spence, Turley, Evens, Partington; Reason, Strevens, Pell, Midson; McAllister, Constable.
Eastleigh Subs: Beckwith, Stanley, Howard, Walker, Burton.
Eastleigh: 37 Midson
Lincoln: 58 Tomlinson
Eastleigh: 61 McAllister
Referee: Adrian Holmes
Attendance: 2,132 including 113 visiting fans.