Ben Tomlinson went from hero to villain as Lincoln City were held to a 1-1 draw against Hereford United.
The Imps’ striker, so often the attacking spark for Lincoln this season, opened the scoring before later being shown a straight red card for a rash challenge.
In a heated second half, Hereford made their one-man advantage count towards the end as midfielder Frankie Artus fired in an equaliser.
Both teams came into the game on Saturday November 23 hovering in mid-table in the Football Conference with just four points between them.
In a largely uneventful first half, Lincoln City made the brighter start on a chilly afternoon at the Sincil Bank Stadium with Tomlinson looking lively.
Hereford United then started get a grip on the game after a shaky first five minutes and started to cause the Imps some problems.
Frankie Artus had a 25-yard drive flicked marginally over the bar by Dominic Collins as Lincoln goalkeeper Paul Farman could only stand and watch.
This was the only real chance in a cagey opening half hour where both streams struggled to stamp their authority on the game.
The crowd had to wait until the two minutes of added time at the end of the first half to see the first clear-cut chance.
Lincoln City striker Nick Wright twisted and turned well in the area before firing a low right-foot shot towards goal. The effort was easily gathered by Hereford stopper Daniel Lloyd-Weston however.
The second half proved to be much more eventful and the Imps set the tone straight from the whistle. Just a couple of minutes into the half, Tomlinson was released through on goal and planted the ball confidently into the bottom corner. It was the Imps top scorer’s sixth league goal of the season.
The goal appeared to inject confidence into Lincoln and they went close to doubling their advantage as Nick Wright was denied by some excellent defending after Tomlinson had headed across goal.
The Imps were looking particularly vulnerable from set pieces though and this showed when a long throw-in caused mayhem in the home side’s box. Hereford centre-half Rodney Mcdonald was almost the beneficiary as he nodded a header against the bar.
As the game wore on a lot of clumsy challenges started to fly in, one of which proved to be the turning point in the game. Tomlinson undid a lot of his earlier hard work by going into a dubious challenge with Hereford right-back Daniel Leadbitter studs-up.
After all 22 outfield players surrounded referee Jason Whiteley, he went on to show the Imps goal scorer a straight red card for the challenge – much to the anger of the home crowd.
As Hereford pushed for an equaliser they eventually made their extra man advantage pay late on in the 89th minute. Lincoln failed to deal with another long throw into the box and Hereford playmaker Frankie Artus was on hand to power in a low left-footed effort.
The final whistle came soon after which met with angry jeers from the home fans, aimed at the referee and Hereford‘s Leadbitter.