Luke Waterfall returned from suspension and Liam Hearn was back in the starting line-up as the Imps entertained Dover Athletic in their first home fixture of 2016. Waterfall replaced Callum Howe in the centre of defence and Hearn was in for Greg Tempest whilst new loan signing Robbie McDaid joined Howe and Tempest on the bench.
Martin Coy was the man in the middle and after the pre-match formalities with the captains was done and dusted, Sincil Bank rose as one to pay tribute to City great Percy Freeman who sadly passed away earlier in the week.
Dover get the game underway and it was a very quiet opening to the game as both teams take their time to settle into proceedings; in fact it took until the ninth minute for the first real threat to come along with a deep Terry Hawkridge cross being headed wide by Waterfall at the back post.
In the 13th minute a deflected Matt Rhead effort was claimed by Dover 'keeper Andy Rafferty whilst at the other end good defending from Lee Beevers saw him clear a dangerous cross from the Dover left.
The first corner was won by Hearn for City in the 20th minute and Hawkridge whipped in a great delivery which saw both Rhead and Waterfall come close before the ball went out for another flag-kick. This ended with skipper Alan Power firing over from 25 yards.
A late trip on Jack Muldoon by Sam Magri gave City a 28th minute free-kick on the left but this came to nothing before Power had a shot from the edge of the box charged down. Hawkridge then had a drive blocked by Tyrone Sterling before another corner was cleared by the Dover defence.
City's next corner saw them break the deadlock as after the ball was played back to taker Hawkridge, he skipped past his marker, whipped in a pacy cross and there to head home at the back post was LUKE WATERFALL.
With rain starting to fall, appeals for a Dover penalty at the other end as Bradley Wood went in on Ricky Miller were waved away before City cleared a corner to safety.
Three minutes before the break Miller tried his luck with a snap-shot from the edge of the box and he saw the ball skid off the greasy surface and trickle over the line after squirming through Farman's gloves.
City ended the half on the attack with a deflected Power effort leading to a corner and Dover keeper Rafferty forced to claim a low Hawkridge cross under pressure from Hearn.
HT: IMPS 1 DOVER 1
There were no changes as the Imps restarted proceedings and City were quickly out of the traps, forcing two corners in the opening minute.
There was a delay before second was taken as referee Coy spoke to a couple of Dover players and when the ball was played back to taker Hawkridge he sent in a deep centre which was superbly headed back across the box by Rhead. And there to capitalise was LIAM HEARN who bagged his 11th of the season from close range.
A couple of minutes later a late challenge on Power earned Jack Parkinson a yellow card but it was a decision in the 54th minute that upset the City fans; Ricky Modeste going down very easily under a Beevers challenge in the area with referee Coy pointing to the spot. Nicky Deverdics duly netted from the spot.
When play restarted Miller was booked for a nasty lunge on Power and just before the hour mark Rafferty did well to hold a powerful back header from Richard Orlu as Hearn put him under pressure.
Rafferty then pulled off a superb save to keep out a Rhead header following an excellent Muldoon cross. Jamie Grimes for Sam Magri was Dover's first substitution.
A couple of minutes later the visitors got their noses in front when former Boston man Miller created space for himself on the right of the box and from a narrow angle netted his second of the game via the inside of the post.
In the 69th minute Miller fired over after getting the better of Beevers and a minute later Robbie McDaid came on for his debut with Terry Hawkridge making way. Power then picked up booking following a challenge on Deverdics.
With 12 minutes on the clock Dover full-back Aswad Thomas was booked for taking an age over a throw-in before Conner Robinson replaced Jack Muldoon for the Imps.
Patrick Brough was the second City player to see yellow after Modeste fell over his outstretched leg. Farman then denied Murphy whilst at the other end Robinson was pulled back for a City free-kick. Before this was taken both Rhead and Raggett were booked following an off-the-ball incident which left the Imps striker grounded.
With two minutes on the clock a deflected Hearn effort was claimed on the line by Rafferty whilst at the other end Farman tipped behind a deflected Miller shot as the Fourth Official indicated a minimum of five additional minutes.
A second Dover change saw Naby Diallo replace Tom Murphy before a City corner - with Farman up in support - and a McDaid cross were cleared. As Dover broke Farman was booked for a foul on Diallo.
The game ended with the Imps forcing two more corners but Dover stood firm to emerge with the points.
FT: IMPS 2 DOVER 3
3 Greg TEMPEST
14 Conner ROBINSON (for MULDOON 79)
19 Robbie McDAID (for HAWKRIDGE 70)
26 Callum HOWE
13 Aidan GRANT
GOALS: WATERFALL (36), HEARN (47)
BOOKINGS: POWER (73), BROUGH (80), RHEAD (86), FARMAN (90+4)
11 Naby DIALLO (for MURPHY 90+2)
14 Duane OFORI-ACHEAMPONG
15 Jamie GRIMES (for MAGRI 63)
24 Mitchell PINNOCK
1 Mitchell WALKER
GOALS: MILLER (42 & 65), DEVERDICS (55 pen)
BOOKINGS: PARKINSON (49), MILLER (57), THOMAS (78), RAGGETT (86)