After an early scare when Josh O’Keefe headed Albert Jarrett’s fourth-minute corner over the crossbar, Rotherham made the perfect start.
Last season’s leading scorer Adam Le Fondre opened the scoring after eight minutes. Kevin Ellison’s volleyed attempt was cleared off the line but supreme poacher Le Fondre was on hand to slam home the loose ball.
Referee Rob Shoebridge had to keep the lid on some robust tackles with three bookings before the break.
Rotherham debutant Tom Elliott twice went close with headers and just before the half-time whistle Ellison should have doubled Rotherham’s lead but his piledriver from Elliott’s pull back was blocked.
Lincoln equalised eight minutes into the second half thanks to the pace of Mustapha Carayol out on the left. Goalkeeper Joe Anyon picked him out with a long goal-kick and Carayol’s pace won him the ball before he turned inside his marker and fired across Andy Warrington and into the far corner.
Rotherham’s determination finally paid off four minutes from the end. The home side threw men forward at every opportunity, and when Nicky Law forced over a cross from the right, skipper Ryan Cresswell headed home to mark his debut with a goal.