Whilst City boss Danny Cowley named an unchanged starting XI for this Vanarama National League home game against Sutton United, Terry Hawkridge was named amongst the substitutes for the first time this season. Callum Howe was the man making way for him.
On the back of a 6-1 midweek success over North Ferriby United, confidence was high as referee Simon Barrow led the two teams out of the tunnel; City captained again by Bradley Wood.
Sutton got the game underway attacking the Stacey West Stand and they were the first to press with a long throw leading to a corner which ended up with Roarie Deacon firing well wide from range.
City's response saw them win a corner at the other end and when this was cleared Wood was penalised for a foul on Deacon who needed treatment before returning to the fray.
A ninth minute snap-shot from Matt Rhead flew a foot wide before Sutton's Nicky Bailey went down and after attention looked a bit groggy when he got back to his feet.
There was a worrying sign for City in the 16th minute when Matt Rhead went down holding his left leg. The big striker hobbled off after treatment and was replaced by Adam Marriott shortly afterwards.
Good work from Jack Muldoon saw him win a corner on the right but Nathan Arnold's delivery was well claimed by Ross Wormer and when the visiting keeper pumped the ball forward, Sean Raggett was booked for a block on Maxime Biamou. Dan Wishart set his sights from the set-piece and curled his effort over the wall and past Paul Farman to give his side a 23rd minute lead.
Another free-kick to Sutton, this time for a Waterfall challenge on Biamou, was cleared before Wishart upended Woodyard. Shortly afterwards play was brought to a halt as Deacon rolled around on the deck following an off-the-ball scuffle with Wood. The officials had a chat and the outcome was a red card for the City number two and a yellow for the Sutton man.
Ten minutes before the break Ross Stearn went in hard on Lee Beevers but nothing was given by referee Barrow, who then awarded Sutton a free-kick, which was taken after Farman needed attention as the drama continued.
In the 42nd minute Dean Beckwith fouled Jonny Margetts before flattening the City striker for a second time in front of the referee's nose. Only a free-kick given though which leads to a corner. The flag-kick came to nothing.
In the fourth minute of added time Beevers was left grounded by Biamou following an aerial challenge but the Sutton man escaped a caution and just before the whistle went after a 52 minute half, Woodyard was booked after a free-kick went Sutton's way.
HT: IMPS 0 SUTTON 1
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half so it was as you were as the Imps restarted proceedings.
The first chance after the break saw Woodyard fire over from 25 yards and with the Imps keeping up the pressure, the leveller arrived; and what a leveller it was - SAM HABERGHAM spotting 'keeper Worner off his line and curling a spectacular 45-yard effort over his head and into the net.
Five minutes Ryan Burge replaced Simon Downer for Sutton and shortly afterwards Worner dropped a Habergham cross under pressure from Beevers before Margetts fired the loose ball against the post. Worner needed treatment after hitting the deck heavily before he was able to take the resultant goal-kick.
A second Sutton substitution saw Joe Morrell replace Bedsente Gomis and in the 65th minute a City corner was claimed by Worner who then set his side on the counter-attack. This ended with a Beevers foul on Wishart earning him a yellow card.
Chris Dickson for Maxime Biamou was United's third and final switch in the 68th minute whilst City's second came four minutes later after Muldoon had a cross deflect behind for a corner; Terry Hawkridge coming on for Nathan Arnold.
Another City corner ended with Waterfall firing over after his initial shot was blocked whilst at the other end Farman pulled off a superb one-handed save to block a downward Beckwith header.
With eight minutes on the clock a deflected Stearn effort went out for a Sutton corner and when the ball was played in deep, Collins got in front of Waterfall to head his side in front
A trip on Muldoon earned substitute Morrell a yellow card before Jamie McCombe replaced Lee Beevers. McCombe, on up front, was then booked for leaving a foot in on Wishart.
A City corner in the first of four added minutes saw Farman go forward in support only for an offside flag to come to Sutton's rescue as City kept the ball in the attacking third.
The Imps were then hit on the counter-attack with substitutes Dickson and Burge combining before Deacon netted from six yards out to wrap up the points for his side.
FT: IMPS 1 SUTTON 3
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
5 Luke WATERFALL
7 Jack MULDOON
9 Matt RHEAD
13 Jonny MARGETTS
18 Lee BEEVERS
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
10 Adam MARRIOTT (for RHEAD 18)
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE (for ARNOLD 73)
16 Alex SIMMONS
17 Elliot HODGE
27 Jamie McCOMBE (for BEEVERS (85)
GOAL: HABERGHAM (51)
BOOKINGS: RAGGETT (22), WOODYARD (45+7), BEEVERS (66), McCOMBE (89)
SENDING OFF: WOOD (30)
1 Ross WORNER
2 Kevin AMANKWAAH
3 Dan WISHART
4 Dean BECKWITH
6 Jamie COLLINS
8 Bedsente GOMIS
11 Ross STEARN
16 Nicky BAILEY
21 Roarie DEACON
24 Maxime BIAMOU
27 Simon DOWNER
10 Dan FITCHETT
19 Chris DICKSON (for BIAMOU 68)
22 Shaun COOPER
23 Ryan BURGE (for DOWNER 57)
25 Joe MORRELL (for GOMIS 61)
GOALS: WISHART (23), COLLINS (83), DEACON (90+3)
BOOKING: DEACON (30)
REFEREE: Simon Barrow
ASSISTANTS: Jonathan Burridge & Sam Lewis
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Alistair Wilson
ATTENDANCE: 3,195 (81 visiting supporters)