Second half Harry Anderson strike secures three more points on the road...
Sam Habergham, Rob Dickie, Nathan Arnold and Ollie Palmer replaced Sean Long (injury), Luke Waterfall (bench), Matt Rhead (bench) and Matt Green (suspension) for this Tuesday night Sky Bet League 2 game against Forest Green Rovers and a rain and wind-swept New Lawn.
The travelling City supporters stood on the open terrace were set for a soaking as referee Graham Salisbury led the teams out from the corner of the ground and once the two captains - Alex Woodyard and Liam Noble - had done the necessary in the centre circle play got underway with the Imps kicking off into the strong wind.
In the opening minute Palmer forced Bradley Collins into the first save of the game whilst at the other end a clash of heads between Sean Raggett and Christian Doidge saw both players require treatment after referee Salisbury awarded the hosts a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Over seven minutes had elapsed before both players got to their feet, with Raggett appearing to come off worse with physio Mike Hine spending ages trying to stem the blood coming from the centre-back's head. Both eventually returned, complete with bandages, before Scott Laird curled the free-kick well wide.
On the quarter-hour mark Arnold tested Collins with a low effort and when the home stopper pumped his drop-kick forward, he saw his wind-assisted punt bounce a foot over Paul Farman's bar.
A quiet and scrappy spell ensued before Farman was pulled up for taking too long over a 22nd minute drop-kick; referee Salisbury awarding the hosts an indirect free-kick inside the City box as a result. The Imps' wall stood firm though and kept out Noble's drive.
At the other end a long Neal Eardley ball held up in the wind and as Billy Knott got in front of Lee Collins, the City man was dragged to the deck by the Rovers' centre-back who earned himself a deserved 26th minute yellow card. Knott took the kick himself but fired over.
Raggett was forced off again a couple of minutes later as blood started to stream from his earlier wound and as he returned a dangerous Knott cross was cleared for the game's first corner. Knott picked out Raggett with a deep centre and he saw his goalbound header superbly tipped over by Collins.
With Raggett needing more strapping, a good spell of City pressure ended with Arnold - having switched flanks with Harry Anderson - having a cross claimed by Collins, who then did well to get down to claim a skidding Anderson effort.
Shortly after a minimum if seven minutes was indicated, Raggett was off the pitch yet again as more claret tricked down the side of his head and midway through the added stages, Palmer drilled over from a narrow angle.
HT: FOREST GREEN 0 IMPS 0
Matt Rhead replaced Nathan Arnold prior to the start of the second half and the Imps were quickly on the offensive following the restart with a Woodyard cross from the right landing on the roof of the Rovers net.
A tug on Luke James' shirt earned Raggett a 51st minute caution and Rovers' first shot on goal came shortly afterwards as Farman held a low Noble drive which came through a crowd of players.
Dickie joined Raggett in the book seven minutes later after a trip on Doidge and home midfielder Charlie Cooper also saw yellow for a blatant foul on the advancing Palmer. Anderson then headed an Eardley cross over the bar.
Josh Ginnelly replaced Palmer in the 63rd minute and two minutes a long ball out of defence by Knott was missed by Dale Bennett and in nipped HARRY ANDERSON who flicked the ball past the advancing Collins before rolling it into an unguarded net to give the Imps the lead.
Omar Bugiel replaced James for the hosts before Anderson forced a corner on the City left. Rhead was unable to keep Ginnelly's deep delivery in, however, and play restarted with a Rovers goal-kick.
A timely challenge from Eardley on Will Randall saw Raggett get in a superb header to clear the resultant corner. Shortly afterwards Bostwick was caught in possession by Noble who set up Doidge who saw his goalbound drive tipped over by Farman.
With 12 minutes of normal time remaining Toni Gomes for Randall was the hosts' second change and three minutes later Ginnelly had a shot charged down by Bennett. Appeals for handball were waved away before Ginnelly's corner came to nothing.
Elliott Whitehouse replaced Billy Knott in the 87th minute and a great piece of skill from Anderson led to a City corner before Whitehouse had chance to get his boots dirty.
Before the flag-kick could be taken, an off-the-ball incident saw Rhead go to ground and once he was back on his feet he was spoken to along with Lee Collins by referee Salisbury. The corner led to another on the opposite flank which was cleared before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of five minutes were to be added on.
Jordan Stevens for Shamir Mullins was Rovers' final throw of the dice before a handball decision against Bostwick saw home keeper Collins go up for the free-kick. The stopper stayed forward as the free-kick led to a corner but was unable to rescue a point for his side as referee Salisbury blew for time once the danger was cleared.
FT: FOREST GREEN 0 IMPS 1
1 Paul FARMAN
3 Sam HABERGHAM
8 Ollie PALMER
11 Billy KNOTT
15 Rob DICKIE
16 Michael BOSTWICK
23 Neal EARDLEY
25 Sean RAGGETT
26 Harry ANDERSON
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE (for KNOTT 87)
5 Luke WATERFALL
7 Josh GINNELLY (for PALMER 63)
9 Matt RHEAD (for ARNOLD h/t)
12 Ellis CHAPMAN
14 Jordan MAGUIRE-DREW
21 Josh VICKERS
GOAL: ANDERSON (65)
BOOKINGS: RAGGETT (51), DICKIE (58)
FOREST GREEN ROVERS
1 Bradley COLLINS
2 Dale BENNETT
3 Scott LAIRD
5 Lee COLLINS
8 Liam NOBLE
9 Christian DOIGE
14 Shamir MULLINS
15 Charlie COOPER
19 Will RANDALL
21 Mark ROBERTS
33 Luke JAMES
4 Drissa TRAORE
10 Reece BROWN
11 Omar BUGIEL (for JAMES 67)
20 Alex IACOVITTI
25 Toni GOMES (for RANDALL 78)
35 Jordan STEVENS (for MULLINS 90+1)
24 Harry PICKERING
BOOKINGS: L COLLINS (26), COOPER (60)
REFEREE: Graham Salisbury
ASSISTANTS: Kevin Howick & John Farries
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Andrew Fox
ATTENDANCE: 1,887 (321 City supporters)
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