Vadaine Oliver and Nicky Nicolau both returned to the starting line-up for this Boxing Day clash against county neighbours Grimsby Town at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium as manager David Holdsworth looked to kick-start the double-header against the Mariners with a success on home soil.
Considering the amount of rain that had fallen in the build-up to Christmas, the pitch was in good condition as the Imps kicked off attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand.
It was a fast and frenetic start to the game with a knock to Gary Mills 90 seconds in giving both sets of players a breather before the City skipper returned to the fray rubbing the back of his head.
A superb challenge from Dan Gray on Marcus Marshall then saw the Grimsby man square up to the City full-back before referee Peter Bankes gave the Imps a free-kick before speaking to both players. Shortly afterwards, Oliver went in late on Aswad Thomas close to the corner flag and with the travelling Grimsby fans shouting for red, they quickly their attention to Mr Bankes when he produced a yellow before chatting to the two captains.
Jake Sheridan was then in the wars, coming off second best in a challenge inside the centre circle. Referee Bankes eventually waved Kev Oxby on so he could administer treatment, but only after the game had come to a halt for an offside in the visitors' favour.
Town striker Andy Cook then appeared to lead with an elbow on Tom Miller, who was left grounded holding his head but the officials spotted nothing untowards, much to the annoyance of City 'keeper Paul Farman who was quick to remonstrate.
When play resumed Cook went in late on Mills as the temperatures remained close to boiling point. A mistimed challenge from Gray on Marshall then brought about another free-kick on the Town left but after Oliver rose well to clear, a swift break saw Power release Taylor on the right with his low centre being prodded just wide by the on-rushing Oliver.
At the other end Cook headed a deep Craig Disley cross wide before the Mariners won the game's first corner in the 20th minute. After this was cleared Peter Gilbert was forced to clear a low Joe Colbeck drive behind with this one ending up with the Town man firing well wide.
Town defender Nathan Pond was forced off a couple of minutes later for treatment to a cut eye; Mills heading a Nicolau cross over whilst the visitors were down to 10 men. Taylor was then unlucky not to get a sight of goal after a chipped Miller ball over the top saw the striker get the ball under control before being crowded out.
City remained on the offensive with an offside flag against Gilbert after Oliver had flicked on a long Gray throw-in keeping the game goalless. Pond eventually returned in the 32nd minute and was quickly on the defensive with a spell of City pressure putting him and his colleagues on the back foot.
One such City break forward ended with the visitors winning possession but their quick counter-attack ended with Cook firing tamely at Farman. The big striker made amends shortly afterwards, however, when he blasted his side in front; the goal coming after Farman failed to hold a Colbeck cross with the former Barrow man on hand to drill into the top corner from 12 yards.
With the goal bringing the previously quiet travelling fans to their feet, City were forced to defend another ball into the box as the Mariners looked to add a quick second. Although the danger was dealt with on this occasion, it wasn't long before the visitors pressed again and when Disley was the recipient of a lucky bounce, he found Colbeck in space on the right with his low driven cross-cum-shot clipping the unfortunate Andrew Boyce before the ball nested in the bottom corner of the City net.
City came within inches of reducing the arrears in the second of three added minutes when Mills lifted a neat effort over the head of James McKeown only for the ball to hit the bar before bouncing to safety. A foul on Power then saw the midfielder denied by McKeown at full stretch for a corner which the Mariners somehow scrambled away.
HT: Imps 0 Grimsby 2
Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and the Imps were quickly out of the traps with Taylor having a shot deflect behind but Nicolau's corner, cleared back to him, was claimed well by McKeown.
City remained on the offensive and when Taylor flicked on a long Gray throw-in, the striker thought he'd reduced the arrears but referee Bankes had spotted a push by him on McKeown and the game remained 2-0 to the visitors.
It was all Lincoln at the start of the second half with Taylor having another shot deflect behind after good play by Oliver and Sheridan; the corner ending with Miller seeing his downward header blocked by Thomas. The resultant throw-in by Gray saw referee Bankes at the centre of things as he spotted a hand ball by a Town defender with the official quick to award a penalty. Up stepped Alan Power and he neatly sent McKeown the wrong way for his sixth of the season.
A minute after the restart Power and Marshall were involved in some push and shove close to the touchline with both players being spoken to by the referee. Although City were still dominating play, it was the visitors who added to the scoreline when their first attack of the second period saw them regain their two-goal advantage.
The goal came after a ball into the box fell kindly for the Mariners as, after Cook had hooked an effort against the underside of the bar, there was skipper Disley to fire into the back of the net from the underside of the woodwork.
Gray needed treatment after appearing to fall awkwardly following a challenge midway inside his own half. The defender looked to be in some discomfort as he was helped to the touchline and he was quickly replaced by Scott Garner, with Miller moving to right-back. Adam Smith came on for Nicky Nicolau at the same time.
Grimsby's next attack saw them win a corner which ended up seeing Farman punch against Power and over the bar. The corner, taken by Colbeck, sailed over everyone in the box and with no City defender on the line and Farman rooted to the spot, the ball crashed against the net for a fourth Town goal.
As the game entered its final quarter, City won a corner which was met by Boyce only for Thomas to clear off the line and with the Imps still in the attacking third Taylor had a shot deflect over for a corner which was played straight out by Power.
Colin Larkin for Jake Sheridan was the third and final City substitution with 20 minutes on the clock whilst a couple of minutes later a swift Grimsby break, after Oliver failed to connect with a Smith centre, end with Greg Pearson heading a deep Colbeck cross against the post.
Pond was then cautioned for delaying the taking of a City goal-kick and as City broke a Smith cross was headed behind for a corner which ended up seeing Larkin denied a goal after his net-bound shot clipped a Town defender before going out for anoter corner.
Michael Rankine replaced Greg Pearson for the Mariners for the last 10 minutes but City continued to look for a second but the run of the ball continued to go the wrong way as the clock ticked on. Dayle Southwell then came on for Andy Cook as the Mariners ate some more seconds up.
Taylor was inches away from connecting with a Garner header following a Power free-kick into the box and Oliver was denied at the back post by McKeown as the game remained well beyond the reach of the Imps ahead of three additional minutes.
The last incident of the game saw Bradley Wood have a 30 second run out in place of Sam Hatton, although there was still time for Marshall to waste a chance of adding a fifth when he fired wide from a quickly-taken free-kick.
FT: Imps 1 Grimsby 4
City: Paul Farman, Dan Gray, Andrew Boyce, Tom Miller, Peter Gilbert, Gary Mills, Alan Power, Nicky Nicolau, Jake Sheridan, Jamie Taylor, Vadaine Oliver.
subs: Scott Garner (for Gray 62), Adam Smith (for Nicolau 62), Colin Larkin (for Sheridan 70), Conner Robinson, David Preece.
goals: Power (53)
bookings: Oliver (6)
Grimsby: James McKeown, Sam Hatton, Aswad Thomas, Ian Miller, Nathan Pond, Derek Niven, Craig Disley, Joe Colbeck, Marcus Marshall, Andy Cook, Greg Pearson.
subs: Shaun Pearson, Bradley Wood (for Hatton 90+3), Dayle Southwell (for Cook 86), Andi Thanoj, Michael Rankine (for G Pearson 80).
goals: Cook (37), Boyce (43 og), Disley (58), Colbeck (66)
bookings: Pond (73)
Referee: Peter Bankes
Assistants: Mark Hutchinson & Matt Walsh
Fourth Official: Chris Ward
Attendance: 5,702 (1,729 visiting supporters)
City: Farman, Gray, Boyce, Miller, Gilbert, Mills, Power, Nicolau, Sheridan, Taylor, Oliver.