Colin Larkin was recalled to the starting line-up for this Tuesday night Blue Square Bet Premier game against Mansfield Town at The One Call Stadium. Larkin came in for David Morgan whose absence in midfield saw Nicky Nicolau move inside as manager David Holdsworth reverted back to a 4-4-2 formation. Gary Mills, meanwhile, returned to the bench having served his three-match suspension for his sending off at Tamworth.
Karl Evans was the man in charge and once he'd exchanged pleasantries with the two captains, things got underway with the Imps kicking off.
Both sides were the recipients of early free-kicks with the respective defences able to clear on both occasions. A timely interception from Peter Gilbert, meanwhile, denied Jake Speight a sight of goal following a long ball forward and as an end-to-end opening continued, Andrew Boyce headed a long Dan Gray throw-in wide.
The Stags won the first corner of the game in the seventh minute when a Matt Rhead cross was deflected behind by Boyce and after City cleared this danger, Rhead left his foot in on Gray for an Imps' free-kick on the half-way line.
Rhead was pulled up on a number of occasions early on and in the 14th minute earned himself a caution for a late challenge on Nicolau. A couple of minutes later Speight flicked a header well wide of the target following a cross from the home right.
City's response saw Peter Bore win a first corner which was taken low by Nicolau who saw the ball crash against the foot of the near post and as the Stags replied Matt Green won a corner for his side which Mamadou Fofana cleared before the ball went out for a goal-kick.
A succession of stoppages saw a stop-start first quarter continue whilst an off-the-ball incident saw Gray and Town skipper Adam Murray earn a ticking off from referee Evans. Fofana was then booked for a mistimed challenge on Roberts.
An audacious chip from Taylor saw him come close shortly after the half-hour mark after the striker looked up and spotted Liam Mitchell off his line when he gained possession a good 45 yards from goal. Smith then won a corner which was duly drilled wide by Gray.
A scrappy half continued with neither goalkeeper troubled as shots on target remained at a premium, although a deep Larkin corner forced defender Ryan Tafazolli to clear behind for a City corner as the 45 minute mark approached. Nicolau's delivery was missed by everyone with the ball going straight out for a goal-kick.
HT: Mansfield 0 Imps 0
Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and it was a fast paced opening with Smith stumbling at the wrong time in the Town box whilst at the other end Farman punched an Andy Todd cross clear before Speight was denied by Boyce.
A quickly-taken free-kick then forced Farman to tip over a Rhead header over the bar with City dealing with the resultant corner; a superb block by Smith then denied Green with the Imps' man coming off worse in the incident, being forced off for treatment before returning to the fray.
City's response saw Taylor win the ball off Ritchie Sutton only to see the ball escape his control as he sprinted into the area. On the hour mark Murray was booked for a sliding challenge on Smith who was upended as he sprinted down the left flank.
Chances remained at a premium as the game approached its final quarter, although following a slight scare in the City box which saw Farman a cross to safety, Smith tested Mitchell was a rasping drive; the subsequent corner, however, was flicked over by taylor at the near post.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Murray was felled inches outside the City box but Roberts fired the free-kick straight at the Imps' wall before Miller cleared.
Jake Sheridan for Peter Bore was the first change in a stright swap on the right before the Stags won a corner which ended up seeing Farman claim Green's overhead kick. Conner Robinson then came on for Colin Larkin up front.
Sheridan's first taste of the action saw him pick up a yellow card for delaying the taking of a Mansfield free-kick whilst a couple of minutes later Roberts drilled over from range with Farman happy to watch the ball fly off target.
Farman was then forced to sprint across his area before tipping a looping Rhead header behind for a corner which was easily dealt with. Speight was then denied by Farman who suddenly found himself called into action with the game in its final five minutes.
City were in possession and winning a succession of throw-ins when the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of three minutes added on these extra stages elapsed without further incident and it was the Imps who left the field to the better reception from their supporters; applause from the travelling faithful compared to jeers from the natives.
FT: Mansfield 0 Imps 0
City: Paul Farman, Dan Gray, Andrew Boyce, Tom Miller, Peter Gilbert, Mamadou Fofana, Nicky Nicolau, Adam Smith, Peter Bore, Colin Larkin, Jamie Taylor.
subs: Paul Robson, Gary Mills, Jake Sheridan (for Bore 73), Conner Robinson (for Larkin 77), Jake Turner.
bookings: Fofana (25), Sheridan (78)
Mansfield: Liam Mitchell, Ritchie Sutton, Ryan Tafazolli, John Dempster, Colin Daniel, Gary Roberts, Adam Murray, Andy Todd, Jake Speight, Matt Green, Matt Rhead.
subs: George Pilkington, Lindon Meikle, Louis Briscoe, Lee Stevenson, Solomon Taiwo.
bookings: Rhead (14), Murray (60)
Referee: Karl Evans
Assistants: Joe Simpson & Darren Strain
Fourth Official: Ian Johnston
Attendance: 2,325 (334 City supporters)