THE STATISTICS would suggest Stanley should have been in the points on Tuesday - but the all-important scoreline said differently.
The Reds had 18 shots, forced 12 saves out of Lincoln keeper Alan Marriott and had most of the possession.
But the rejuvenated Imps had the only stat that counts - three goals - as they inflicted the 10th home league defeat of the season on the Reds.
Stanley just couldn’t find their scoring boots and the home fans showed their frustrations when the third goal went in on 75 minutes - the 16th goal the Reds have conceded in five games - by some leaving the FES early, one even having an words with manager John Coleman.
The Reds have now failed to score in four of their last six matches and, while the boss could understand that the fans were upset, he was bemused at their attitude.
"I am disappointed with the result, very much so, but not disappointed with the bulk of the performance," said Coleman.
"I thought the first hour was as good as we have played all season. It reflected how I want to play the game - passionate, good tackles and we created chances. The only thing that was missing was a goal.
"You scratch your head when you walk off as the best team lost.
"I know people are disappointed with the result, none moreso than me, but when you are walking off and some of our fans as spouting ‘that was rubbish’ . . . well, if that’s rubbish, I don’t know what’s good.
"Maybe I am seeing the game through rose tinted glasses but they haven’t been near our goal for an hour.
"I can understand people saying the result is rubbish as you shouldn’t be losing at home 3-0 especially when you have so much of the play. But the performance wasn’t rubbish."
Coleman was also up in arms with referee Anthony Taylor who was fussy for both sides, frequently blowing his whistle and stopping play.
There was also a dispute about a throw-in which went the Imps’ way and led to the first goal.
"I felt we were let down by the officials on numerous occasions," he said.
"They didn’t put the last two goals into the net but they game them a lift for the first.
"But I am not saying too much as I will be labelled by our fans as a moaner and I don’t want to do that.
"All we can do is take heart from that performance.
"You do make your own luck and Paul Mullin, Shaun Whalley and Andy Todd all had good chances to score and we didn’t take them. Lincoln did and fair play to them.
"I bet Lincoln can’t believe that they have won 3-0. We have been trying our hardest to get a clean sheet and it seems elusive at the moment and I have come away wondering how Lincoln have kept a clean sheet."
Stanley last kept out their opponents 15 games ago and, after they thought their luck had changed with Saturday’s win over Chester, it was back to normal as they again conceded another early goal.
Coleman stuck with the 4-4-2 formation which served them so well at the second half at the Deva Stadium.
Whalley got the nod on the left wing, with Todd on the right and midfielder Ian Craney continued to play up front with Mullin.
But the Imps are on a roll with three wins on the trot prior to Tuesday under new boss Peter Jackson and they made the perfect start on five minutes.
After the disputed throw-in, Lenell John-Lewis played in a tricky cross which took a deflection and fell to wily campaigner Mark Stallard at the far post who had the easy task of firing home his fifth goal of the season.
Then there were a list of Stanley’s chances but they could not find a way through. Todd was back to the winger of old and was terrorising the Imps’ backline. He played in a great cross for Mullin but the striker’s effort was inches wide of the goal.
A Craney free kick was saved by Marriott and then the midfielder chose to pass rather than shoot in a good position and the ball whisked across the face of goal and out.
On 34 minutes, it looked a certain Whalley goal when Todd’s cross was fumbled by Marriott.
It fell at Whalley’s feet four yards out but Paul Green got back and somehow the ball ended up bobbling back into the keeper’s arms instead of the back of the empty net.
Whalley was showing some nice touches, Craney was in the thick of things while Todd was pressurising Lee Ridley and it seemed only a matter of time before a goal came.
On the stroke of half-time, Andy Procter was unlucky as his effort was straight at Marriott while there was still time for a 30 yard effort from Whalley to hit the top of the crossbar.
It was harsh that the Reds went in trailing at the break but, after coming back against Chester, the belief would have been there they could repeat the feat against a team below them in the league.
Todd continued to torment the Imps defence and he could have opened his Stanley account for the season when he got the ball from a Mullin flick on and forced a wonder save out of Marriott.
Jay Harris had two long range efforts on goal and then, as their chances went begging, the visitors made Stanley pay and showed them how to finish.
Lincoln again broke down the right on 69 minutes with Stallard’s ball in once more evading everyone and it landed nicely at the far post for substitute Ben Wright who had only been on the pitch four minutes and he had an easy tap in.
Stanley didn’t give up with a Craney free kick seemingly heading for the top corner of the net a minute later only to miss by a whisker.
But then the visitors got another which sealed the three points and added to Coleman’s home woes.
A Louis Dodds’s corner into the danger area bounced off defender Phil Doughty and fell nicely for Lee Beevers to scuff it over the line.
That knocked the stuffing out of the Reds and Lincoln could have had a fourth but Ian Dunbavin came out and blocked a Dodds shot with his feet after the wideman had raced clean through.
Coleman decided against making any substitutions and, although the Reds did rally for a late revival, it was all over.
Procter almost got one back but Marriott again denied him on 90 minutes and, in injury time, Craney forced a good save out of the keeper and the ball fell for Mullin but his header looped over the empty net and the crossbar to sum up Stanley’s day.
"It was a tremendous performance," said Lincoln manager Jackson, who was in charge of Huddersfield when Stanley knocked them out of the FA Cup in 2003.
"Our keeper has been outstanding and he even made the save at the death to keep a clean sheet.
"If there was a table for attitude and desire we would be 10 points clear."