Alan Power replaced the suspended Elliott Whitehouse as the Imps welcomed their Boxing Day conquerors Guiseley to a soggy Sincil Bank Stadium.
Chris O'Donnell was the man in charge for this New Year's Day clash and once he had completed the formalities with the match officials, play got underway with Guiseley kicking off.
City enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, although the first 10 minutes were littered with stoppages, the majority of which being in the visitors' favour, although the only effort at goal being a long-range Simon Walton free-kick which flew well over Paul Farman's bar.
The deadlock was broken in the 12th minute when City were undone by a quick Guiseley counter-attack and when Jake Cassidy gained the ball on the left his cross into the danger area was sliced into his own net by the unfortunate Sam Habergham.
Three minutes later visiting striker Adam Boyes picked up a deserved yellow card following a late challenge on Terry Hawkridge whilst the first corner went City's way following good play between Hawkridge and Nathan Arnold but nothing came from the flag-kick.
In the 33rd minute Power was booked following a mistimed tackle on Will Hatfield and a minute later Rhead released Robinson down the middle but he delayed his shot and the chance of a leveller went begging.
A scrappy first half continued, and indeed ended with chances at goal at a premium.
HT: IMPS 0 GUISELEY 1
No changes were made during the break and the first incident of note afetr plat restarted saw Bradley Wood go down clutching the back of his neck. Referee O'Donnell eventually brought play to a halt so physio Mike Hine could come on to the pitch with play restarting a good two minutes later.
Guiseley's Marcus Williams picked up a 51st minute booking for taking an age over a throw-in and a minute later Hawkridge picked out Raggett from a corner but the centre-back saw his header go wide.
Ten minutes into the second period Adam Marriott was brought on for Theo Robinson and this switch paid immediate dividends as within seconds Marriott was upended in the box by Ashley Palmer.
Referee O'Donnell was up with play and was quick to point to the spot before booking the Guiseley defender. ALAN POWER duly made no mistake from the spot to level matters with his first league goal of the season.
On the hour mark Guiseley stopper Jonny Maxted pulled off wonder save to keep out a Rhead header following a Wood cross, although it turned out the offside flag was up anyway so the effort wouldn't have counted.
Hawkridge was booked following a 62nd minute tussle with Hatfield and with City dominating possession, a rasping drive from Arnold nine minutes later fizzed a foot wide of the left-hand upright.
A 76th minute body check on Preston earned Wood a yellow card whilst a minute later a sweeping City attack ended with Woodyard heading over after Rhead kept a Habergham cross alive at the back post.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 80th minute when a dive in the box earned Boyes a second yellow and subsequent red card and three minutes later a low skidding Power drive was tipped behind by Maxted.
Jack Muldoon came on for Alan Power shortly afterwards and with five minutes on the clock clever footwork from Marriott saw him win a free-kick just outside the 'D'. Arnold could only drill the set-piece at the wall.
With the clock ticking down Arnold had another shot deflect behind for another corner and when the ball was delivered into the mix Waterfall headed goalwards before SEAN RAGGETT bundled ball over the line after it was blocked on the line.
Before play restarted Danny Lowe was dismissed for Guiseley and their manager Adam Lockwood was also told to head towards the dressing room area after voicing his opinions.
The drama wasn't finished there, however, as in the final minute Marriott had a shot blocked before NATHAN ARNOLD drilled the loose ball home from just inside the box
Alex Purver and former City youngster Elliot Green had late run outs in place Simon Walton and Jordan Preston and in the second of six added minutes Callum Howe came on for Matt Rhead for the Imps.
City easily saw out the extra stages and in the end the never say die attitude saw City return to the top of the table with Tranmere losing at Macclesfield and Forest Green sharing 10 goals at home to Torquay.
FT: IMPS 3 GUISELEY 1
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
5 Luke WATERFALL
8 Alan POWER
9 Matt RHEAD
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
31 Theo ROBINSON
6 Callum HOWE (for RHEAD 90+2)
7 Jack MULDOON (for POWER 84)
10 Adam MARRIOTT (for ROBINSON 55)
14 Taylor MILES
21 Richard WALTON
GOALS: POWER (57 pen), RAGGETT (88), ARNOLD (90)
BOOKINGS: POWER (33), HAWKRIDGE (62), WOOD (76)
26 Jonny MAXTED
2 Connor BROWN
3 Danny LOWE
8 Will HATFIELD
9 Adam BOYES
15 Ashley PALMER
19 Jordan PRESTON
20 Marcus WILLIAMS
24 Simon WALTON
29 Jake CASSIDY
31 James WESOLOWSKI
10 Oli JOHNSON
22 Alex PURVER
32 Joel LOGAN
33 Elliot GREEN (for PRESTON 90+1)
17 Dan ATKINSON
GOAL: HABERGHAM (12 og)
BOOKINGS: BOYES (15), WILLIAMS (51), PALMER (56)
SENDINGS OFF: BOYES (80), LOWE (89)
REFEREE: Chris O'Donnell
ASSISTANTS: Lee Freeman & Adam Burgess
FOURTH OFFICIAL: David Hunt
ATTENDANCE: 5,148 (101 visiting supporters)