Another week, another performance to frustrate and irritate Chester FC supporters and manager Steve Burr.
For the third time in four games, the Blues conceded three times and therein lies the biggest issue at present.
Lincoln could have been five goals to the good inside an hour but had to make do with 3-1, and then almost threw the three points away in a breathless finale.
Chester created enough chances to steal the win and will feel unfortunate not to have at least a point, but that would have been papering over the cracks and two victories from 10 games is concerning form.
Lincoln's direct approach won't please football purists but there's do disputing its effectiveness in the first-half. Chester struggled to cope with the strength of Matt Rhead and it was the big centre forward who opened the scoring on four minutes, climbing above the defence and heading into the bottom corner.
The Blues hadn't troubled the visitors but levelled in the 26 minute when Ross Hannah released Johnny Hunt and his cross reached Jordan Chapell, who slotted home at the back post.
Burr's team have developed a bad habit of conceding immediately after scoring and did so here inside three minutes. The ball wasn't cleared and fell for substitute Keegan Everington, whose shot ricocheted off a couple of bodies before rolling over the line.
Chester hadn't been able to gain a foothold in the game and the half-time whistle came as a relief for the restless supporters, at least giving the manager time to address things.
Burr made a tactical change at the break with Hobson pushed up front alongside Hannah but there was no real change in the pattern of the game.
Lincoln continued to dictate matters and got a third goal on 54 minutes, and one that was far too simple from a Chester perspective. Rhead knocked the ball into the path of Lee Beevers and his inviting cross found Power, whose thumping header gave Worsnop no chance.
Burr responded with a double change as George Thomson and Kane Richards replaced Ben Heneghan and Hobson, and his team went close on 63 minutes when Chris Bush headed John Rooney's attempt off the line.
Chester pulled a goal back four minutes later through Hannah, who picked up the ball 20 yards from goal, created space for a shot and curled his effort around Paul Farman and in off the post.
The goal turned the game on its head and suddenly it was the hosts forcing the issue and the Imps being pinned back.
Hannah thought he had a second but his deft flick rebounded off the crossbar before Rooney flashed a shot across the face of goal and inches wide.
Chester pushed hard in search of an equaliser as the Imps dropped further and further back with the visitors looking more and more vulnerable.
It was end-to-end stuff in the seven minutes of additional time but Lincoln just about held on to leave with the points.
Case for Heneghan in defence: The loss of Luke George has been a hammer blow and the midfield without him is too lightweight. However, whether utilising Ben Heneghan in the holding role is the best solution is questionable. He is the best central defender at the club and the goals against column shows the defence is not as strong without him there. Of course, taking Heneghan out of midfield leaves the problem of who to replace him with. Michael Kay has been used there before and Sam Hughes has shown promise, but there's no obvious fix and for that reason George's return can't come soon enough.
Season summed up in one match: For the best part of an hour, the Blues did not perform at the standard required and could well have been in a worse position than 3-1 down. Lincoln were stronger, faster and hungrier across the park. Steve Burr often makes the point that his team cannot afford to be less than 'full tilt' and there's no doubt he's right: this is a Chester side that possess talent but not so much that it can coast through games. Once Ross Hannah made it 3-2, the whole complexion of the game changed as the hosts came to life. The manager must be scratching his head at the reasons for his team's Jekyll and Hyde performances, but the season will be over before it has started unless it stops.
Chester FC: Worsnop, Higgins, Sharps, Kay, Hunt, Heneghan (Richards 59), Rooney, Shaw, Chapell, Hobson (Thomson 59), Hannah.
Subs: Forth, Hughes, Peers.
Goal: Chapell 26, Hannah 67.
Booked: Heneghan, Shaw, Higgins.
Lincoln City: Farman, Beevers, Waterfall, Howe, Bush, Stanley (Everington 11), Wood, Power, Hawkridge, Rhead (Hearn 80), Muldoon (Simmons 90).
Subs: Grant, Tempest.
Goals: Rhead 4, Everington 29, Power 54.
Booked: Rhead, Bush.
Referee: Tom Nield (Huddersfield)
It's hard to know how to assess a game that had such a huge swing in momentum with half an hour remaining.
There's no escaping the fact that for 60 minutes, Chester were not in the contest, even allowing for Jordan Chapell's goal midway through the first-half.
Lincoln, a far stronger and more imposing outfit than 12 months ago, seemed to have the points in the bag when Alan Power made it 3-1 with 54 minutes on the clock.
However, the introduction of George Thomson and Kane Richards provided an injection of pace that caught the tiring Imps out.
Ross Hannah could have had a hat-trick and there were chances for John Rooney and Thomson too, but the Blues had given themselves too much to do and not enough time to do it in.
There are two games now against sides struggling for points in Southport and FC Halifax Town, and anything less than a return of four points will leave Chester casting nervous glances over their shoulders.
And who would have thought they'd be in that position four games into the season.