City boss Chris Moyses had the luxury of naming an unchanged starting line-up for a sixth successive game for this Tuesday evening Vanarama National League fixture against fellow play-off chasers Dover Athletic at the Crabble ground.
It was a chilly and breezy night in Kent as referee Richard Martin led the two teams out of the tunnel and once the captains and the officials did the honours play got underway with the Imps kicking off.
Dover were quickly out of the traps and when Lee Beevers was penalised for a foul 25 yards out just two minutes in, Nicky Deverdics played the ball short to Stefan Payne who gave Paul Farman no chance with a fierce drive to open the scoring.
City's response saw Jack Muldoon head a Terry Hawkridge corner wide of the target whilst at the other end two more Dover free-kicks, in virtually the same place as the one from which their goal came from were fired into the City wall.
Good pressure from Muldoon in the 13th minute saw him force a second City corner on the left but this was headed over by Bradley Wood at full stretch whilst at the other end five minutes later a mis-hit back pass by Jamie McCombe gave Ricky Miller a chance but he fired wide as Farman narrowed the angles.
In the 25th minute Matt Rhead was felled by Sean Raggett but no advantage was given as Alan Power threaded ball through to Muldoon. The resultant free-kick found McCombe who picked out Muldoon at the back post but the offside flag went up bringing a halt to the move.
Ten minutes later Payne got the better of Wood and found Miller who fired well over from 10 yards and shortly afterwards Power deflected a Deverdics drive out for a corner which was cleared by Chris Bush.
Another Dover corner was cleared by Power at the near post whilst City's response saw McCombe cross deep for Rhead who headed well wide.
City were playing the better football as the half-time whistle approached and more pressure saw a Muldoon cross find Hawkridge who saw his centre into a packed area hurriedly cleared by the Dover defence.
HT: DOVER 1 IMPS 0
There was no changes in personnel as Dover restarted proceedings and the Imps were the first to press with a ball into the box almost finding its way to Hawkridge but the home defence nipped in to clear their lines.
City were forced to make a switch three minutes after the restart with George Maris replacing a hobbling James Caton and shortly after this change a Tempest cross-cum-shot was palmed over his bar by Dover 'keeper Mitch Walker. The flag-kick was played back to Tempest who saw his centre headed inches wide by McCombe at the back post.
A tug on Maris' shirt earned Deverdics a 55th minute yellow card and three minutes later a long punt forward was allowed to bounce and in nipped Miller to fire past an exposed Farman to double Dover's advantage.
Robbie McDaid replaced Greg Tempest a minute later but it wasn't long before Dover attacked again and when Murphy gained possession on the right he crossed for Payne who slotted home. City's appeals for offside were waved away, much to their frustration.
A superb goal-line block from Bush saw him deny Miller after the Dover attack swarmed forward again whilst at the other end Rhead and Power had efforts charged down before JACK MULDOON drilled past Walker to reduce the arrears.
Courtney Wildin replaced Jamie McCombe with Beevers moving inside as a result and an incident-packed few minutes continued when Farman was felled by Payne as he went to clear the ball. The City stopper was receiving attention as the Dover striker was being cautioned.
In the 68th minute Muldoon was blocked off the ball by Parkinson with Bush's long-range free-kick being held at the second attempt by Walker as Muldoon looked to capitalise.
Dover's response came four minutes later and after the offside flag stayed down again as Payne received the ball on the right he duly took his time and laid the ball back to Miller who fired home his second of the game from the edge of the box.
Jamie Grimes for Craig Braham-Barrett was Dover's first substitution with 74 minutes on the clock and four minutes later Rhead was booked for a tug on Raggett's shirt. Tyrone Marsh replaced Stefan Payne before the resultant free-kick was taken.
Muldoon dragged an effort wide from 20 yards as he looked for his second of the evening and good link-up play between Power and Wildin saw the former win a corner which was taken by Hawkridge and headed a foot wide by Rhead.
Another Hawkridge corner was tipped away by Walker before Beevers volleyed wide and in the 86th minute Harry Crawford replaced Ricky Miller for the hosts in order for the two-goal striker to receive the acclaim from the majority of the 743 attendance.
City kept pressing during four additional minutes with Rhead slicing an effort wide from the edge of the box and Maris having a powerful drive deflected out for a corner which ended up with Wood firing over.
FT: DOVER 4 IMPS 1
11 Naby DIALLO
15 Jamie GRIMES (for BRAHAM-BARRETT 74)
24 Mitchell PINNOCK
25 Harry CRAWFORD (for MILLER 86)
26 Tyrone MARSH (for PAYNE 78)
GOALS: PAYNE (3, 60), MILLER (58, 72)
BOOKINGS: DEVERDICS (55), PAYNE (65)