The Imps progressed to the Papa Johns Trophy quarter finals with an entertaining 4-2 win against Everton U21 at the LNER Stadium.
City almost took an early lead as Danny Mandroiu’s 20-yard free-kick deflected off the wall to force Zan-Luk Leban into a reaction save to parry the ball wide.
Everton’s first shot on target came in the 13th minute when a driven cross from the right found Owen Barker whose first-time strike was comfortably saved by Jordan Wright.
The Imps enjoyed large spells of possession in the first half which saw them open the scoring as Jack Diamond squeezed a pass through to Regan Poole whose first touch took him past a defender to allow space to score beneath the goalie.
Mark Kennedy’s side looked to add another shortly after going ahead when Mandroiu’s lofted free-kick towards the back post was met by Adam Jackson who could only send his header over the crossbar.
The young Toffees brought on Francis Okoronkwo after the restart and he made an immediate impact by getting on the end of Tom Cannon’s sweeping cross into the box to level up the scores.
Okoronkwo repaid the favour two minutes later when he played Cannon into space whose high shot across goal just beat Wright in the City goal who got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.
City soon found themselves level again after Tom Hopper was brought down inside the area and the referee awarded a penalty. Jack Diamond stepped up and calmly placed the spot kick into the bottom left corner to score his sixth goal of the season.
The visitors had a big chance to put themselves back in front in the 66th minute when Cannon went through on goal but fired his effort narrowly wide of the right post.
The Imps retook the lead in the 72nd minute when a well-weighted cross by Poole from the right set up Sean Roughan at the back post to convert from a few yards out and net his first City goal.
Wright helped retain the Imps’ marginal lead as Stan Mills went on a mazy run to the edge of the box before rifling a powerful effort at goal to sting the palms of the ‘keeper.
Deep into second-half stoppage time Everton threw their goalie forward in search of a late leveller, which eventually saw Diamond race up the other end of the pitch to score into an empty net to confirm victory for his side.
City: Jordan Wright, Regan Poole, Adam Jackson, Tom Hopper © (Ben House 73’), Paudie O’Connor, Danny Mandroiu (Jordon Garrick 69’), Lasse Sorensen (Max Sanders 69’), TJ Eyoma, Sean Roughan (Jamie Robson 87’), Matty Virtue, Jack Diamond. Subs (not used): Carl Rushworth, Charles Vernam, Elicha Ahui.
Goals: Poole (33’), Diamond (54’ pen, 90+8), Roughan (72’).
Everton: Zan-Luk Leban, Tom Cannon, Kyle John (Liam Higgins 82’), Seb Quirk, Joe Anderson ©, Stan Mills, Mackenzie Hunt, Isaac Price (Luke Butterfield 66’), Reece Welch, Katia Kouyate (Ishe Samuels-Smith 66’), Owen Barker (Francis Okoronkwo 46’). Subs (not used): Jack Barrett, Elijah Campbell, Halid Djankpata.
Goals: Okoronkwo (48’), Cannon (50’).
Attendance: 1,306 (80 away).
Referee: Andrew Kitchen.