Alan Power and new team captain Gary Mills were both passed fit for this 2012/13 season opener against Kidderminster Harriers at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium having been doubts in the build-up to the game due to injury.
Boss David Holdsworth was handed a selection blow, however, with Peter Bore ruled out through injury so in came new signing Luke Daley who joined on a non-contract basis 24 hours before kick-off. In addition to Mills and Daley, summer signings Paul Farman, Dan Gray, Andrew Boyce, Tom Miller, Adam Smith and Rob Duffy were all handed starts.
It was a muggy afternoon as referee Karl Evans led the two teams out of the tunnel and once the pre-match formalities were done and dusted, play got underway with the Harriers kicking off.
New boy Daley was quickly in the action, being dumped to the deck on the right flank before Mills saw his free-kick headed clear whilst in the fifth minute Miller was caught by a bad challenge by Callum Gittings on the half-way line. Miller seemed to be in some discomfort as he received treatment whilst offender Gittings was also left grounded and when he got to his feet was rewarded with a yellow card.
The resultant free-kick ended up seeing the ball bounce to Jamie Taylor in the area but he was unable to get the ball under control and Harriers' keeper Danny Lewis was able to gather.
The visitors won the first corner of the game in the 11th minute but Farman easily claimed and the subsequent counter-attack saw City win a flag-kick of their own but when Smith floated the ball in Taylor was penalised for a foul on Lewis.
City's next attack saw Daley do well to dig out a cross and after Smith helped it back in Taylor had a shot blocked by Exodus Geohaghon. Taylor then won another corner as the Imps kept up the pressure; this ending with Boyce seeing his looping header land on the roof of the net.
Duffy's first real taste of the action saw him fire a spectacular volley over the bar following a Daley cross before the game entered a quiet spell with play concentrated mainly in the middle third.
In the 33rd minute Smith won a corner on the left and when the winger laid the ball into the path of Mills he saw his rasping drive fly inches past the right hand upright. A knock to Mills then gave players from both sides the chance to get some valuable fluid on board.
When play resumed, Taylor had a couple of efforts blocked as the ball bounced around in the box but he went one better in the 39th minute when a long forward pass from Gray saw Taylor get the better of his marker and as Lewis advanced off his line, the City striker neatly lifted the ball over him for the first goal of the season.
Kidderminster responded by winning a corner which was headed well over by Keith Briggs and as City responded the lively Taylor was denied by Lewis who came out quick to smother at his feet.
A long Geohaghon throw-in then caused problems for the City defence and after the ball was sliced clear, Ryan Rowe crashed a shot against the post. Before Farman took the resultant goal-kick, Duffy and Boyce squared up to each other as passions started to run high.
Midway through four minutes' added time Taylor was booked for delaying the taking of a Kidderminster free-kick with referee Evans bringing the half to a close with the visitors on the offensive.
HT: Imps 1 Harriers 0
Whilst City emerged unchanged, a switch for Kidderminster saw Jack Byrne come on for Mickey Demetriou.
The first chance of the half came 60 seconds in when a foward ball from Miller saw Taylor get the better of Ryan Austin only for the ball to bounce away from the City striker and when Austin got in a challenge, Lewis smothered when Taylor managed to get in a shot. Both sides then won a corner apiece with the Imps' being hurriedly cleared by a panicky Harriers defence.
Eight minutes into the second period a foul by Boyce on Rowe gave the visitors a chance from a free-kick 25 yards out but Farman was well positioned and got down well to superbly hold Austin's powerful low drive.
A second Kidderminster substitution saw Marvin Johnson replace Callum Gittings but it wasn't long before City pressed forward again with Taylor winning a corner after sprinting down the right flank. Smith's delivery, however, was headed over by Duffy.
Johnson's first taste of the action saw him bundled to the deck by Power and when Danny Pilkington floated in a deep free-kick, City had Farman to thank as he pushed away a downward header from a clutch of players at the back post.
City's first changes came in the 64th minute with Vadaine Oliver and Jake Sheridan replacing Luke Daley and Adam Smith. Oliver went to the left with Sheridan slotting in to a role just behind the front two, although Taylor seemed to drift to the right in Daley's absence. A couple of minutes later Geohaghon was booked for delaying a City free-kick, which was curled just wide by Power.
Mills was in the wars again as the game entered its final quarter and when he was back in the fray, a scramble in the City area saw the Imps eventually hack clear after Rowe had a shot blocked by Boyce.
Anthony Malbon for Ricky Shakes was Kidderminster's final change before Boyce headed a Mills free-kick wide. Referee Evans then had words with Geohaghon following a block on Sheridan with the Harriers skipper given a final warning having already been booked.
With 11 minutes on the clock Farman did well to deny Johnson at his near post and from the visitors next attack good defending from Miller saw him flick a cross out for a corner which ended up seeing City benefit from an offside flag.
Substitutes Sheridan and Oliver combined at the other end five minutes later with the former crossing for the latter who was denied by Lewis.
Nicky Nicolau replaced Rob Duffy as the game entered its final minute of normal time. There were, however, six minutes left with a collective gasp going around the ground when the Fourth Official held up the board.
City comfortably saw out the first four of these extra minutes, keeping the ball at the right end of the pitch and when Harriers did push forward with 30 seconds remaining Malbon blazed well over from long range.
Referee Evans still found time to add on an additional 90 seconds so once he eventually brought things to a close, the City fans rose as one to celebrate a hard-earned, yet well deserved opening day success.
FT: Imps 1 Harriers 0
City: Paul Farman, Dan Gray, Andrew Boyce, Tom Miller, John Nutter, Gary Mills, Alan Power, Adam Smith (Jake Sheridan 64), Luke Daley (Vadaine Oliver 64), Rob Duffy (Nicky Nicolau 90), Jamie Taylor.
subs: Graham Hutchison, Jake Turner.
goal: Taylor (39)
bookings: Taylor (45+3)
Harriers: Danny Lewis, Mickey Demetriou (Jack Byrne 46), Exodus Geohaghon, Ryan Austin, Mike Williams, Ricky Shakes (Anthony Malbon 71), James Vincent, Keith Briggs, Danny Pilkington, Ryan Rowe, Callum Gittings (Marvin Johnson 55).
subs not used: Kyle Storer, Nathan Vaughan.
bookings: Gittings (7), Geohaghon (66)
Referee: Karl Evans
Assistants: Chris Francis & Jonathan Burridge
Fourth Official: Graham Kinnear
Attendance: 2,112 (169 visiting supporters)