Dale found themselves a goal behind after 23 minutes as a surging run from Eric Lichaj set up Chris Herd to net his first goal for Lincoln.
But Rochdale had the majority of possession and it was no surprise when they levelled after 33 minutes, when Scott Wiseman beat defender Nathan Baker down the flank before crossing for Chris O’Grady to score with a first time shot.
Lincoln then held out until a minute before the break when Dale defender Craig Dawson headed home a corner from Tom Kennedy to give his team the lead.
The Imps found it difficult to create anything in the second half and were badly caught out by a 58th minute free-kick. The home defence was left standing as Rochdale worked the ball to Chris Dagnall, whose cross was tapped in at the far post by Joe Thompson.