City go top of the table following an incident-packed encounter at Sincil Bank...Elliott Whitehouse replaced Alan Power as the Imps welcomed Wrexham to Sincil Bank Stadium for their latest Vanarama National League fixture.
City, looking to extend their unbeaten league and cup run to 14 matches, were once again skippered by Luke Waterfall, and were up against a Wrexham side full of confidence following a weekend win over league leaders Forest Green Rovers.
Wrexham kicked off but it was the Imps who were the first to press with Theo Robinson winning a first minute corner. Taken by Sam Habergham, the flag-kick was headed over by Sean Raggett.
A third minute Nathan Arnold snap-shot from the edge of the box was held by Wrexham stopper Luke Coddington before Robinson forced another corner which ended with Arnold screwing a drive across the box.
City had a glorious chance to open the scoring in the 10th minute when a deep cross from Bradley Wood ended with Matt Rhead getting bundled over in the box by Kai Edwards.
Referee David Rock was up with play and was quick to point to the spot before brandishing a yellow card at the Wrexham defender. Rhead, however, saw his penalty saved by Coddington low to his right.
It wasn't long before the Imps were on the attack again, however, with a looping Habergham cross being tipped over by Coddington. Arnold's delivery caused problems for the visiting defence and when the ball ran free there was ELLIOTT WHITEHOUSE who found the corner of the net via a deflection.
Before play restarted both Hamza Bencherif and keeper Coddington were booked for airing their views at the referee whilst four minutes after the goal there was another shout for a City penalty as Robinson appeared to be flattened by Coddington as he went up for a Wood free-kick. Nothing was given on this occasion though.
At the other end a 24th minute Wrexham corner was well claimed by Paul Farman, making his 200th league & cup game for the Imps, whilst City's response saw Rhead fire inches over after exchanging passes with Terry Hawkridge.
There was drama three minutes later when a Sean Raggett challenge on Rob Evans was deemed worthy of a straight red by referee David Rock. Both benches looked on bemused by the decision and a good three minutes elapsed before the free-kick could be taken as Farman needed treatment to his left ankle.
Callum Howe came on for the unfortunate Terry Hawkridge as a result of Raggett's dismissal before Mr Rock was at the centre of things again, harshly penalising Robinson who appeared to be pushed in an aerial challenge in the Wrexham half.
Seven minutes before the break an excellent point-blank save by Farman saw him keep out a header before Robinson was poleaxed by the ball midway inside the City half. Play was halted with the visitors in possession, leading to a heated moment in the visiting dugout before Wrexham boss Dean Keates was spoken to by referee Rock, who also chatted to the Cowley brothers before play resumed.
There was a sarcastic ovation when referee Rock awarded the Imps a free-kick following a foul on Robinson and midway through four additional minutes a ball into the box was headed just wide of the City goal.
HT: IMPS 1 WREXHAM 0
Both teams emerge unchanged for the start of the second half with the Imps restarting things attacking the Stacey West Stand.
A clever pass from Rhead almost let in Robinson shortly after things got underway again whilst at the other end Wrexham skipper Rob Evans fired well over from the angle.
It was a bright start to the second period by Wrexham as Edwards had a low bouncing effort held by Farman before a lunge on Whitehouse by Gerry McDonagh saw the offender pick up a yellow card despite the challenge being very similar to Raggett's in the first half.
This did, however, turn out to be McDonagh's last taste of the action as he was replaced by Jordan White shortly afterwards before Bencherif, already on a yellow, flattened Rhead from behind. Habergham curled the resultant free-kick inches wide from 25 yards.
Anthony Barry for Kai Edwards was Wrexham's second switch in the 63rd minute whilst five minutes later a Wrexham corner bounced around the box before Farman shouted and claimed.
Brave goalkeeping from Farman saw him claim a ball before getting pushed and winning a free-kick and with a quarter of an hour to go the City crowd were certainly doing their bit to rally the troops in red and white.
With 11 minutes on the clock persistence from Robinson forced a City corner which was punched clear by Coddington. Both sides then made a change; Callum Powell for John Rooney for Wrexham and Alan Power for Matt Rhead for the Imps.
In the 84th minute Carrington blazed over after Waterfall blocked a shot which left Farman grounded and a couple of minutes later Jack Muldoon came on for Theo Robinson.
A tame header from White went well wide of the City goal whilst in the first of four added minutes Curtis Tilt saw yellow for a push on Muldoon.
Play continued with Woodyard appearing to be upended in the box following a surging run forward but in the end it was Whitehouse's first half effort the proved enough to extend the unbeaten run to 14 matches and put the Imps top of the table at the midway point in the season.
FT: IMPS 1 WREXHAM 0
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE
5 Luke WATERFALL
9 Matt RHEAD
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
31 Theo ROBINSON
6 Callum HOWE (for HAWKRIDGE 31)
7 Jack MULDOON (for ROBINSON 86)
8 Alan POWER (for RHEAD 83)
10 Adam MARRIOTT
12 Harry ANDERSON
GOAL: WHITEHOUSE (14)
SENDING OFF: RAGGETT (27)
26 Luke CODDINGTON
4 Hamza BENCHERIF
6 Curtis TILT
10 John ROONEY
11 Rekeil PYKE
12 Kai EDWARDS
13 Mark CARRINGTON
14 Paul RUTHERFORD
15 Rob EVANS
16 Jordan EVANS
20 Gerry McDONAGH
5 Martin RILEY
7 Anthony BARRY (for EDWARDS 63)
9 Jordan WHITE (for McDONAGH 59)
17 Callum POWELL (for ROONEY 82)
1 Shwan JALAL
BOOKINGS: EDWARDS (9), BENCHERIF (14), CODDINGTON (14), McDONAGH (56), TILT (90+1)
REFEREE: David Rock
ASSISTANTS: Joshua Few & Andy Humphries
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Martin Chester
ATTENDANCE: 3,344 (75 visiting supporters)