Honours even in a game of few chances...Nathan Arnold replaced Terry Hawkridge as the Imps returned to Vanarama National League matters with a home game against Eastleigh at Sincil Bank Stadium. Joining Hawkridge amongst the substitutes was new signing Elliott Whitehouse.
City kicked off attacking the Stacey West Stand and forced an early corner which caused panic in the visiting box before a Harry Anderson cross was blocked by Ryan Bird for a throw-in.
The Imps kept up the pressure in the fifth minute with Anderson having an effort blocked before Rhead hooked over from a narrow angle. Five minutes later Anderson skinned Michael Green who sent him flying - the officials were happy to let play carry on though, much to the annoyance of birthday boy Danny Cowley on the sidelines.
After a second City corner failed to unlock the Eastleigh defence Theo Robinson was inches away from getting on the end of an Arnold throughball with visiting stopper Ryan Huddart quickly off his line to smother.
In the 17th minute Eastleigh's first attack ended with Bird firing wide from the edge of the box whilst at the other end an inswinging Sam Habergham free-kick bounced just wide of the right-hand upright.
As the half-hour mark approached an Eastleigh corner was punched away by Paul Farman before Habergham was penalised for a push on Reason. City dealt with the danger from the set-piece but the resultant counter-attack ended with Anderson being penalised for a foul on Green.
After a quiet spell in the hame there was a half chance for Robinson following a slip by Partington but the City striker fired over. The opening period ended after an additional two minutes of play.
HT: IMPS 0 EASTLEIGH 0
Neither side made any changes as Eastleigh got the second half underway and the visitors were quick to win a corner when a long throw was cleared by Raggett. As the ball comes in referee Nield spotted a push on Waterfall by Cresswell and the game restarted with a City free-kick.
In the 53rd minute Eastleigh 'keeper Huddart dropped a cross but after Rhead kept the ball alive Arnold saw his goalbound effort blocked by Johnson inside the six-yard box and on the hour mark Anderson fired over from the edge of the box.
Rhead released Robinson through the middle in the 64th minute but a very questionable offside flag went up against the Imps and three minutes later a City attack ended with Cresswell chesting a Rhead cross behind for a corner. Although the corner came to nothing City stayed on the attack with Arnold crossing for Anderson who fired over
Elliott Whitehouse replaced Matt Rhead for City in the 68th minute and three minutes later Jake Howell for Mikael Mandron was Eastleigh's first switch of the game.
With a quarter of an hour on the clock a Robinson cross was cleared off Whitehouse's head by a covering defender and out for a City corner and as the Imps kept the ball in the attacking third Arnold fizzed in a low drive which goes inches wide.
Jack Muldoon replaced Harry Anderson in the 77th minute and a couple of minutes later Jason Taylor went straight through the back of Muldoon for the game's first yellow card.
The resultant free-kick lead to a City corner which Huddart failed to hold; Raggett's header was then cleared off the line before Huddart claimed Waterfall's looping effort. James Constable then replaced Ryan Bird for the Spitfires.
With three minutes remaining Arnold had an effort saved by Huddart following good work by Wood on the right whilst at the other end there was a booking for Raggett following a clumsy challenge on Constable.
It took a great saving header on the line by Waterfall when the resultant free-kick was played into the mix to preserve the clean sheet with the game coming to a close following an additional two minutes of play.
FT: IMPS 0 EASTLEIGH 0
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
5 Luke WATERFALL
9 Matt RHEAD
12 Harry ANDERSON
18 Lee BEEVERS
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
31 Theo ROBINSON
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE (for RHEAD 68)
7 Jack MULDOON (for ANDERSON 77)
8 Alan POWER
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
27 Jamie McCOMBE
BOOKING: RAGGETT (88)
13 Ryan HUDDART
2 Joe PARTINGTON
3 Michael GREEN
8 Andy DRURY
10 Jai REASON
15 Luke COULSON
19 Mikael MANDRON
25 Ryan CRESSWELL
26 Ryan BIRD
27 Reda JOHNSON
28 Jason TAYLOR
6 David PIPE
9 James CONSTABLE (for BIRD 81)
12 Jake HOWELL (for MANDRON 71)
17 Adam DAWSON
30 Jamie CURETON
BOOKING: TAYLOR (79)
REFEREE: Tom Nield
ASSISTANTS: Alex Guy & Martyn Holmes
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Hallam Cutmore
ATTENDANCE: 3,180 (74 visiting supporters)