Paul Robson and Dan Gray replaced the injured Peter Bore (calf) and Gary Mills (groin) in the starting line-up for this Blue Square Bet Premier game against Stockport County at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium.
City went into the game looking to extend the unbeaten run to five matches and once referee John Hopkins had tossed up with the two captains, things got underway with the Imps kicking off attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand.
There was a distinct nip in the air with a strong breeze swirling around City started well with Jamie Taylor getting the better of James Tunnicliffe before seeing his low centre hacked out for a throw-in. Gray's subsequent deliver ended with Adam Smith winning a corner and after this found its way back to the winger, his driven ball into the danger area crashed against a Stockport defender.
County's response saw Craig Hobson volley well over before the tall striker forced Andrew Boyce to concede a ninth minute corner. When this was cleared City attacked and when a ball over the top found Jake Sheridan fired against Tunnicliffe. The resultant corner ended up seeing County 'keeper Ian Ormson claim a downward Tom Miller header.
A foul on Taylor by Tunnicliffe then saw Alan Power
curl a free-kick over the bar whilst at the other end Hobson headed a free-kick well wide of Paul Farman's left-hand upright. Skipper John Nutter then warmed Ormson's hands with a skidding drive after good hold-up play by Taylor created the half-chance for the left-back.
City had another chance to create something from a set-piece when Power was bundled over by Jordan Fagbola but Ormson got his angles right and easily claimed Smith's effort. Sheridan then won a third corner and Smith a fourth as the Imps continued to dominate play.
The pressure eventually paid off on the half-hour mark as after Sheridan gained possession on the left, he cut in and curled in a superb right-footed centre and there to meet it in between the two big central defenders was Jamie Taylor, who saw his clever header fly past Ormson's despairing dive for his seventh of the season.
The visitors looked for a quick response with Paul Turnbull having a shot deflect off Mamadou Fofana behind for a corner, which was claimed by Farman who was pushed anyway with play restarting with a free-kick.
At the other end a clumsy challenge on Taylor by Fagbola saw Smith fire a free-kick straight at the wall whilst Stockport's response saw Hobson drill goalwards but Farman pushed the ball out strongly.
The opening half closed following an additional minute so the Imps went in to the break with a deserved advantage.
HT: Imps 1 Stockport 0
Whilst City emerged unchanged, there was a double switch for Stockport with Tom Collins and Joe Connor replacing Sam Sheridan and Andy Halls.
Stockport were quickly out of the traps, winning a corner in the opening minute; this was taken deep and when the ball was knocked back across, defender Jordan Fagbola prodded goalwards with Farman and Robson unable to stop the ball from crossing the line. Referee Hopkins checked with his assistant as to whether the ball had gone in and with the Imps' defence appealing for a foul in the build-up, a goal was given.
City were forced to defend another County corner five minutes later but they rallied and after putting together their best move of the game, Power advanced into the box where he was crudely upended by Ormson as he rounded him. Whilst referee Hopkins was quick to award a penalty, he decided that the visiting 'keeper wasn't the last man and didn't even speak to him, let alone brandish a card.
When things calmed down Power picked himself up but the midfielder blazed the spot kick well over with the chance of the lead gone begging.
Whilst Ormson escaped punishment, City defender Tom Miller wasn't so fortunate on the hour mark as his complaints to the assistant were deemd to strong by Mr Hopkins and out came the yellow card.
County then hit the crossbar from a scambled effort from inside the six yard box and as City responded, Taylor found himself one-on-one with Ormson but fired straight at the man in pink. He was made to pay shortly afterwards as, after Collins picked up the ball on the right, he squared for the unmarked Hobson to drill his side in front.
The Hatters' lead didn't last long, however, as after Power was tripped 25 yards from goal, up stepped John Nutter to fire a pin-point free-kick past Ormson and into the bottom left corner of his net.
Colin Larkin and Vadaine Oliver were immediately brought on for Paul Robson and Adam Smith. This double change saw Gray drop to right-back and with Power moving back into midfield, Oliver partnered Taylor whilst Larkin was a swap for Smith on the right.
Oliver was quickly in the action, flicking on a Gray throw-in for Miller to head into Ormson's gloves and when the ball was pumped clear, Sheridan and Turnbull clashed with both players seeing yellow, despite the Stockport man appearing to introduce his hand to Sheridan's face.
An action-packed half continued with Farman spreading himself well to deny Hobson but County kept the ball in their attacking third and when a ball was played into the danger area, there was Turnbull, lucky to be on the pitch following his earlier altercation with Sheridan, to spectacularly fire in an overhead kick
The drama continued 13 minutes from time when Matty Mainwaring left a foot on on Power, leading to an almighty melee in front of the City dugout. Once things calmed down, Mainwaring was booked, as was Oliver for his part in the incident.
Power was then booked for a foul on Collins before Tom Eckersley replaced Dean Whitehead for County and Nicky Nicolau came on for Jake Sheridan for City. With County happy to kill time when in possession, Ormson eventualy picked up a caution, for delaying the taking of a free-kick in the 87th minute
City kept probing away as the game headed into four added minutes with Oliver heading a Gray cross over the bar before Ormson spilled a nicolau cross and Connor flicked a cross off Oliver's head. This late spell of sustained pressure eventually paid off when another Gray centre wasn't dealt with and when the ball ran to the edge of the area, there was Taylor to rifle an unstoppable drive through a crowd of players to earn his side a deserved point.
Before play restarted for a further 30 seconds, Boyce became the fourth City man to see yellow after he kicked the ball away in celebration of the Imps' goal!
FT: Imps 3 Stockport 3
City: Paul Farman, Paul Robson, Andrew Boyce, Tom Miller, John Nutter, Dan Gray, Mamadou Fofana, Jake Sheridan, Adam Smith, Alan Power
, Jamie Taylor.
subs: Vadaine Oliver (for Smith 68), Nicky Nicolau (for Sheridan 83), Graham Hutchison, Colin Larkin (for Robson 67), Jake Turner.
goals: Taylor (30, 90+4), Nutter (65)
bookings: Miller (60), Sheridan (72), Oliver (79), Power (82), Boyce (90+4)
Stockport: Ian Ormson, Andy Halls, James Tunnicliffe, Jordan Fagbola, Sean Newton, Danny Whitehead, Alex Kenyon, Matty Mainwaring, Paul Turnbull, Craig Hobson, Sam Sheridan.
subs: Joe Connor (for Halls 46), Tom Collins (for Sheridan 46), Danny Rowe, Tom Eckersley (for Whitehead 83), Lewis King.
goals: Fagbola (47), Hobson (62), Turnbull (75)
bookings: Turnbull (72), Mainwaring (79), Ormson (87)
Referee: John Hopkins
Assistants: Chris Ward & Alix Pashley
Fourth Official: Steve Wade
Attendance: 1,873 (253 visiting supporters)