Dayle Southwell and Billy Knott were both handed home debuts as the Imps returned to Vanarama National League action with a game against Woking at Sincil Bank Stadium.
Woking kicked off but it was the Imps who carved out the first half chance with Southwell dragging a low 25-yard effort wide of the target in the third minute.
City kept up the pressure and six minutes later Nathan Arnold and Alex Woodyard broke up play and pressed and when the ball was fed wide to Bradley Wood he swung in a peach of a cross and there in front of his marker was MATT RHEAD to power home a header from eight yards.
The visitors' response was immediate though and when Fabio Saraiva floated in the game's first free-kick, there was Gozie Ugwu to head past Paul Farman to level the scores.
In the 13th minute Farman tipped a dipping Saraiva free-kick behind for a corner and shortly aferwards a City counter-attack ended with Kane Ferdinand tugging back Knott as he released the ball forward. Ferdinand was booked as the City players questioned the lack of an advantage from referee Sam Allison.
At the other end ex-Imps Jake Caprice and Macauley Bonne combined with the former crossin for the latter who somehow prodded wide from six yards as an action-packed few minutes continued.
As the midway point in the opening period approached, Rhead was dragged to the deck as he went up for a cross. Referee Allison was up with play and awarded the Imps a penalty before he brandished a yellow card in the direction of both Joey Jones and Ismail Yakubu so it wasn't clear who was actually cautioned.
Loanee Southwell took the responsibility from the spot but saw Michael Poke pull off a superb save to keep the ball out. A City corner quickly followed but an unmarked Alex Woodyard could only head over Sam Habergham's delivery.
In the 31st minute Southwell got the better of Terell Thomas but was denied by the feet of Poke at his near post whilst three minutes later a slip from Caprice let in Arnold but he saw his right-footed effort go a foot wide
City kept on the offensive with a bullet of a drive by Knott being kept out by Poke but had to be content with a 1-1 half-time scoreline as the opening period came to a close after two added minutes.
HT: IMPS 1 WOKING 1
Josh Ginnelly replaced Terry Hawkridge for the Imps ahead of the start of the second half and his introduction paid immediate dividends as just five minutes after entering the field of play he drilled home from the edge of the box with a slight deflection off Thomas seeing the ball beat Poke.
Ginnelly was booked for his goal celebrations before play restarted and a few minutes later he won a corner on the City right which ended up with Poke smothering on the line under pressure from Sean Raggett.
As the hour mark approached Ugwu netted a header for Woking but referee Allison spotted a push and awarded the Imps a free-kick. Within 30 seconds the ball was at the other end and when Knott fed MATT RHEAD the big man did the rest, twisting and turning past his marker before slotting home his second of the afternoon.
Saraiva fizzed a powerful free-kick a foot over the City bar as Woking looked for a way back into the game and in the 67th minute Charlie Carter for Kieran Murtagh was the visitors' first switch.
Two minutes later Elliott Whitehouse replaced Dayle Southwell and his first touch saw him head wide after Waterfall had helped on a Habergham free-kick into the danger area
Woking then brought on Max Kretzchmar for Kane Ferdinand and he was quickly in the action, forcing Farman to tip behind at full stretch before going down in the box with referee Allison awarding the visitors a penalty as a result. Saraiva netted clinically from the spot to reduce the arrears.
Before play restarted Alan Power came on for Billy Knott in the middle of the park and for the final eight minutes Luke Kandi came on for Ismail Yakubu for Woking. A minute later a City corner was headed goalwards by Whitehouse but the ball was hacked off the line by a defender.
With 85 minutes played there was a break in play as Ginnelly received treatment following a high boot to the face and when he was back up and in the action again he forced a corner on the Imps' left.
In the first of five added minutes Rhead was pulled up for a foul 25 yards from his own goal but Kretzschmar fired the free-kick straight at the City wall. City were hanging on throughout the extra stages with Caprice fizzing a powerful effort wide of the City goal in the closing stages.
FT: IMPS 3 WOKING 2
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
5 Luke WATERFALL
9 Matt RHEAD
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
31 Dayle SOUTHWELL
34 Billy KNOTT
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE (for SOUTHWELL 69)
8 Alan POWER (for KNOTT 76)
10 Adam MARRIOTT
12 Sean LONG
36 Josh GINNELLY (for HAWKRIDGE h/t)
GOALS: RHEAD (9 & 60), GINNELLY (51)
BOOKING: GINNELLY (52)
1 Michael POKE
2 Jake CAPRICE
3 Terell THOMAS
4 Joey JONES
6 Ismail YAKUBU
8 Kieran MURTAGH
9 Gozie UGWU
14 Fabio SARAIVA
22 Kane FERDINAND
23 Macauley BONNE
26 Chris ARTHUR
12 Charlie CARTER (for MURTAGH 67)
15 Max KRETZSCHMAR
16 Dennon LEWIS
21 Luke KANDI (for YAKUBU 82)
18 Brandon HALL
GOALS: UGWU (10), SARAIVA (75 pen)
BOOKINGS: FERDINAND (14), YAKUBU (22)
REFEREE: Sam Allison
ASSISTANTS: Jon Block & Callum Walchester
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Chris Francis
ATTENDANCE: 5,553 (64 visiting supporters)