TOWN went down 3-2 at Sheffield Wednesday because of a penalty which never was and one which wasn’t given.
While Derek Dooley’s Owls celebrated after going top of Division II (now the Championship) Town manager Ian Greaves and skipper Alan Gowling were left frustrated.
Skipper Gowling, who gave Town a flying start with a first-minute goal, insisted his 65th-minute shot had been handled on the line by Wednesday captain John Holsgrove.
But Lincoln referee John Thacker waved away the appeals, and instead of having the chance to go 3-1 up, Town found themselves back on level terms when Willie Henderson netted after 73 minutes.
To rub salt into the wounds, Gowling was then penalised for handball, with Tommy Craig clinching the home side’s win from the spot.
It was tough on Town, who produced one of their best displays of the season so far in league game number 10, watched by 22,185.
“Holsgrove definitely scooped the ball away with his hand, and when they got their penalty, I simply slipped and accidentally touched the ball,” insisted Gowling.
The summer signing from Manchester United slotted his fourth goal of the season after latching onto David Smith’s header.
And buoyed by their bright start, Town set about taking a grip in midfield, with Owls old boy Graham Pugh to the fore.
He and Jimmy Nicholson struck up a solid partnership, with Craig and Peter Eustace hardly getting a look in before the break.
Pugh twice came close to extending the lead before a piece of magic from former Glasgow Rangers ace Willie Henderson earned the home side their equaliser.
He weaved his way through from the right and sent in a low cross for Mick Prendergast to convert with a close-range shot.
Town continued to attack in the second half, however, and Les Chapman put them back in front with a sizzling 25-yard shot after Nicholson touched a free-kick to the side.
Had the penalty been awarded and scored, Wednesday would have found it hard to get back into the game.
But when Dave Lyon tried to squeeze a pass between two home men, Eustace intercepted and freed Henderson, who beat Gary Pierce with a piledriver.
A point was the least Town deserved, but they lost out when Gowling was adjudged to have handled – and Craig counted.
Wednesday: Grummit, Rodrigues, Clements, Mullen, Holsgrove, Craig, Henderson, Eustace, Joicey, Prendergast, Sissons. Sub not used: Sunley.
Town: Pierce, Clarke, Hutt, Pugh, Lyon, Nicholson, D Smith, Dolan, Gowling, Lawson, Chapman. Sub not used: Krzywicki.