Conner Robinson replaced Liam Hearn who was absent due to a virus for this Vanarama National League game at table-topping Forest Green Rovers. Bradley Wood and Alex Simmons, meanwhile, returned to the squad and were named amongst the substitutes.
It was a lovely late August afternoon as referee John Brooks led the two teams out on to a pitch which had undergone a heavy pre-match watering courtesy of the New Lawn sprinkler system.
The Imps were the first to settle into proceedings and in the third minute a Chris Bush free-kick clipped the heels of Matt Rhead forcing home stopper Jonny Maxted to reposition and claim the ball to his right.
Rovers' response saw Aaron O'Connor head well wide after a cross came in from their attacking right before his strike partner Kurtis Guthrie dragged an effort well wide from 25 yards.
In the 14th minute Keanu Marsh-Brown skipped past a couple of challenges before firing a foot wide whilst at the other end a clumsy challenge on Rhead by Aarran Racine led to a City free-kick which came to nothing.
After a quiet five minutes a foul on O'Connor by Jon Nolan gave the home side a free-kick on their right but Paul Farman easily claimed James Jennings' inswinging delivery. Shortly afterwards Callum Howe slid on on Guthrie and clearly won the ball only for referee Brooks to deem otherwise and after awarding a free-kick, brandished a yellow card to the City centre-back.
Although this free-kick came to nothing another one a minute later did with the delivery into the box bouncing straight into the path of Jennings who duly fired home the opener from 10 yards.
City's response saw Jack Muldoon force the game's first corner but Craig Stanley's delivery was poor with the ball sailing straight out for a goal-kick. The Imps' next fory forward saw a Muldoon cross headed away by Dale Bennett under pressure from Rhead.
In the 36th minute Rhead had a chance when a blocked ball fell into his path but the City striker saw his effort claimed at full stretch by Maxted. Before play resumed Bennett needed attention after appearing to fall awkwardly.
At the other end Luke Waterfall got in a timely interception to deny Marsh-Brown following good work by Guthrie and it wasn't long before Rovers were pressing forward again. Again a big slice of luck fell their way with a blocked shot in the 40th minute falling straight to O'Connor who doubled his side's advantage.
Robinson forced a second City corner in the final minute of the opening period but Matt Sparrow's delivery was claimed well by Maxted under pressure from Muldoon. In the second of two additional minutes another Imps' corner, taken by Nolan, was headed over by Howe.
HT: FOREST GREEN 2 IMPS 0
Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second half so it was as you were as the Imps restarted proceedings.
City started the second half brightly with Muldoon winning a free-kick on the right flank but Bush's delivery was too deep and sailed over a packed box and out for a goal-kick.
A double change in the 51st minute saw Alan Power and Bradley Wood replace Matt Sparrow and Chris Bush, this coming before Rhead was barged in the back by Racine for a City free-kick which was cleared before Marsh-Brown wasted the resultant counter-attack.
A cynical challenge on Robinson earned Jennings a 57th minute caution but again nothing came from the resultant free-kick, taken by substitute Wood and missed completely by keeper Maxted.
Wood denied Sinclair a sight of goal as the hour mark passed whilst at the other end a Beevers cross was flicked goalwards by Robinson only for Maxted to fling himself to his right and palm the ball away to safety.
Referee Brooks had words with Beevers and O'Connor following an off-the-ball tussle in the 64th minute adn two minutes later the man in black deemed that Guthrie was upended by Waterfall in the box. Justice was duly served though with O'Connor superbly denied by Farman who kept the spot kick out with his legs.
City' response saw Rhead volley over from 25 yards before Alex Simmons came on for Jack Muldoon. Simmons was quickly in the action, winning a free-kick inches outside the box and when Power played in a dangerous delivery from the set-piece, the ball bounced around the box before finding SIMMONS who blasted home his first for the Imps from the edge of the six-yard box.
Rovers' response saw them throw on ex-Imp Delano Sam-Yorke in place of O'Connor and he quickly won a corner on the home right which was headed away by Beevers. Home defender Racine then saw yellow for persistent infringement in the 77th minute.
With eight minutes on the clock Sam-Yorke was spoken to by the referee following a off-the-ball incident before he was shown a yellow card and shortly afterwards a swift City attack saw Robinson prod a Simmons cross wide of the target.
Nolan was the next name in the book following a foul on Jennings; this coming before Simmons fired just over with an effort on the turn after he was found by Nolan. Jon Parkin then replaced Elliott Frear for the home side.
Rovers regained their two goal advantage in the 88th minute when some neat interchange play on the edge of the box between Sam-Yorke and Marsh-Brown ended with the latter chipping over the advancing Farman.
Clovis Kamdjo was given a run out at the expense of Rob Sinclair in the final minute whilst in the first of four additional minutes Waterfall headed a Power corner wide. Rovers saw out the remainder of the game by winning a succession of free-kicks and throw-ins on the right flank.
FT: FOREST GREEN 3 IMPS 1
4 Charlie CLOUGH
12 Clovis KAMDJO (for SINCLAIR 90)
15 Delano SAM-YORKE (for O'CONNOR 73)
20 Jon PARKIN (for FREAR 87)
13 Paul WHITE
GOALS: JENNINGS (24), O'CONNOR (40), MARSH-BROWN (88)
BOOKINGS: JENNINGS (57), RACINE (77), SAM-YORKE (82)