With Luke Foster out injured and Koby Arthur dropping to the bench, Thierry Audel and Ben Tomlinson both returned from suspension for this Good Friday Skrill Premier game against second-placed Cambridge United at Gelder Group Sincil Bank Stadium.
Glorious sunshine greeted the two teams as they were led out of the tunnel by referee Darren England and once play started the Imps were quickly on the offensive with skipper Alan Power having a shot charged down after the United defence failed to clear a long Tom Miller throw-in.
The bright start continued with City winning two corners in quick succession either side of the five minute mark whilst shortly afterwards Kris Bright was inches away from connecting with a Alan Power chipped centre.
A third City corner came along in the 20th minute with Newton's deep delivery curling inches past the post as the heads flew in and five minutes later appeals for handball were waved away after Brown's header from a Miller throw crashed against a United defender.
Seconds later Tomlinson had a stabbed effort hacked off the line as City continued to dominate and the striker's next effort at goal, in the 31st minute, saw the ball crash against Tom Bonnera's arm with referee England this time having no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Tomlinson duly slotted home from the spot.
Cambridge's response saw them press for the first time with Ryan Donaldson being upended by Charlee Adams who picked up a caution for his troubles. The resultant free-kick clipped Miller for a corner which was easily dealt with.
A minute before the the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of three minutes were to be added on Tomlinson latched on to a Bright flick-on only to be denied by a superb Norris save and when the ball was half-cleared, Ashley Chambers was booked for a tough challenge on Newton. The resultant free-kick flew past a packed area as the legs went out in a bid to connect.
In the second of the added minutes Donaldson was booked for diving before the half came to a close with the Imps fully deserving of their half-time lead.
HT: IMPS 1 CAMBRIDGE 0
Whilst the Imps emerged unchanged following their well-earned breather, Kevin Roberts and Delano Sam-Yorke replaced Ashley Chambers and Harrison Dunk prior to the start of the second half.
City continued where they left off with the opening stages of the second period being spent in the Cambridge half, with Norris forced to claim a number of balls into the box.
Tomlinson won a corner 13 minutes after the restart but this was headed well over by Brown and in the 63rd minute Matthew Barnes-Homer replaced Tom Elliott for Cambridge.
A dangerous Newton cross led to another City corner and when the full-back whipped in a low delivery from the quadrant, the ball was flicked on by Bright before being stabbed inches wide by Tomlinson.
Arnaud Mendy then had an effort charged down after Norris dropped a cross whilst at the other end Sam-Yorke's persistence saw him force a corner off Audel. Bright was back to clear the flag-kick though.
The tireless Sheridan picked up a 77th minute booking for kicking the ball away after running it out for a throw-in. Three minutes later the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Donaldson went in high on Adams - referee England having the easy task to produce a second yellow before a deserved red.
Sheridan received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Koby Arthur as the clock ticked into its 83rd minute. Two minutes later Danny Rowe came on for Charlee Adams.
Rowe's first touch saw him release Tomlinson who won an unproductive corner whilst in the final minute Bright was denied by a fine low save by Norris after good play by Arthur.
Three added minutes was indicated by the Fourth Official and these passed without further incident with the Imps fully deserving of the excellent reception shown by the fans at the final whistle.
FT: IMPS 1 CAMBRIDGE 0
30 Nick TOWNSEND
2 Tom MILLER
23 Nat BROWN
5 Thierry AUDEL
3 Sean NEWTON
26 Charlee ADAMS
24 Arnaud MENDY
8 Alan POWER
12 Jake SHERIDAN
11 Ben TOMLINSON
18 Kris BRIGHT
7 Koby ARTHUR (for SHERIDAN 83)
9 Danny ROWE (for ADAMS 85)
15 Dan GRAY
19 Jon NOLAN
31 David PREECE
GOAL: TOMLINSON (32 pen)
BOOKINGS: ADAMS (34), SHERIDAN (77)
13 Will NORRIS
3 Greg TAYLOR
5 Tom BONNER
6 Ian MILLER
7 Ryan DONALDSON
10 Tom ELLIOTT
11 Harrison DUNK
14 Richard TAIT
17 Liam HUGHES
18 Luke BERRY
23 Ashley CHAMBERS
2 Kevin ROBERTS (for CHAMBERS h/t)
19 Delano SAM-YORKE (for DUNK h/t)
24 Nathan ARNOLD
29 Josh GILLIES
39 Matthew BARNES-HOMER (for ELLIOTT 63)
BOOKINGS: CHAMBERS (44), DONALDSON (45+2)
SENDING OFF: DONALDSON (80)
REFEREE: Darren England
ASSISTANTS: Alix Pashley & Ian Johnston
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Sean Richardson
ATTENDANCE: 2,535 (546 visiting supporters)