Exeter City were far from their best in slipping to a 1-0 defeat at Lincoln City in Sky Bet League One.

The defeat followed on from the 3-0 home reverse to Derby County and the Grecians will be fully aware that a repeat of the dismal run that overshadowed the club in the build up to Christmas could see them sucked into a relegation scrap.

A long trip to Lincoln is never an easy task and City survived a couple of early scares in a game lacking in quality chances. Daryl Duffy fired narrowly wide with a free-kick for the hosts and the same Imp also volleyed off target from a good position.

Exeter City did have some presence in forward areas, Jack Aithcison going closest with a strike against the crossbar, which will go down as a top save from the home ‘keeper Lukas Jensen, who tipped the ball on to the bar.

Yanic Wildschut also had a near-post drive blocked by Jensen but Lincoln resumed control with Ben House forcing an excellent double save from City custodian Vili Sinisalo.

The game was decided on 67 minutes when a clever pass released Joe Taylor, on loan at Lincoln from Luton Town, and he calmly clipped a confident finish over an advancing Sinisalo to seal the three points.

Manager Gary Caldwell told the club website: "We had the best chance of the game before they scored, but I don't think we performed well at all.

"We were poor and we looked slow when we passed, and didn't look like we wanted to fight and win duels. We lost too many duels and got outbattled and lost the game.

"I tried to put players on the pitch with energy and speed and those who trained well, but when you are given those opportunities you have to take it. I could have made more changes, I could have made less, that is something I will have to look at.

"Ultimately, I pick the team and I take responsibility for that."

City welcome Fleetwood Town to St James Park this weekend.