There were three changes to the City starting line-up for this Skrill Premier game at Southport with Dan Gray coming in for the suspended Tom Miller at right-back whilst Mo Fofana replaced Todd Jordan in midfield and new loan signing Chris Sharp came in for Nick Wright up front.
It was a chilly mid-November evening on the coast as referee Ben Toner led the teams out and once he'd completed the necessary formalities with the captains in the centre circle, play got underway with Southport kicking off.
It was a scrappy opening with both sides taking their time to settle into proceedings, although the Imps enjoyed the better of things possession-wise as the opening 10 minutes passed without incident in either box.
The first half-chance came along on the quarter-hour mark when Alan Power latched on to a forward ball only to be sent wide by keeper David Stevenson before a Gray cross evaded both Ben Tomlinson & Andrew Boyce in the six-yard box after a throw-in was played back to taker Gray.
A Jackson strike then forced Stevenson into a low save as the Imps pushed forward again and after another quiet spell the hosts forced the game's first corner when Danny Hattersley saw a shot deflect off Sean Newton.
City dealt with the danger when the ball came into the mix but were forced to defend a free-kick on the half-hour mark when the back-tracking Tomlinson ran into Paul Rutherford. Jamie Milligan's set-piece led to another corner which was duly cleared.
The Imps' next foray forward saw Newton skip past a couple of markers before seeing his ball into the mix fly just over Tomlinson. Debutant Sharp was then just beaten to a through ball by Matty Brown as the half entered its last five minutes.
HT: Southport 0 Imps 0
Neither side made any changes during the break so it was as you were as the Imps restarted proceedings.
City started the half brightly with Nolan winning a free-kick on the left but Newton's delivery was poor before Jackson blazed well wide from range.
The Imps kept pressing as they looked for the breakthrough with the first 10 minutes of the second period being spent in the Southport half; a Sharp effort on the turn which flew just wide being the best effort at goal.
A ball across the box was then prodded just wide by Jackson before Paul Rutherford was replaced by Osayamen Osawe for the home side. A City free-kick was then diverted out for a goal-kick by Newton before a Power corner was cleared.
In the 66th minute a Jackson cross was headed inches wide by Tomlinson at the back post whilst a minute later a Sharp cross was smothered at Power's feet by Stevenson.
City kept pressing with Tomlinson going to ground under a couple of challenges in the box only for referee Toner to let play continue on both occasions. At the other end Osawe blazed well over from 20 yards.
With 20 minutes remaining a clumsy challenge on Sharp by Challoner gave the Imps a free-kick which ended up seeing Jackson have a low effort claimed by Stevensons whilst at the other end a deflected Hattersley cross lead to a corner which Farman punched clear.
With 15 minutes on the clock the Imps had Nat Brown to thank as he got in a superb interception and clearance to deny Hattersley and the Imps immediately went on the counter-attack with Nolan on the end of it, pulling the trigger following a Newton centre with a clinical finish to break the deadlock.
A couple of minutes later a Newton cross somehow eluded both Sharp and Tomlinson in the six-yard box whilst in the 80th minute Sharp was replaced by Nick Wright whilst Bohan Dixon replaced Marlon Jackson at the same time.
A Southport switch then saw Steve Akrigg come on for Jamie Milligan and the substitute's first touch saw him whip in a cross which was cleared for a corner. Shortly afterwards Osawe fizzed a low drive wide whilst at the other end Tomlinson fired a shot inches over as the Imps pressed for a killer second.
Good work by Wright saw him create space before seeing his cross flick a home defender for a corner which was taken after Luke Foster replaced Alan Power in the middle of the park.
Shortly after four additional minutes was indicated by the Fourth Official, home defender Scott Brown was booked for a foul on Dixon before Tomlinson ate some seconds up close to the corner flag before winning a throw-in.
City kept possession well during the remaining stages and when referee Toner blew for time the players left the field thoroughly deserving of the maximum haul following excellent second half performance.
FT: Southport 0 Imps 1