Mo Fofana and Jake Jones replaced Todd Jordan and Jamie Taylor in the starting line-up for this final Blue Square Bet Premier game of the season at Hyde. Jordan and Taylor were both amongst the substitutes.
It was a pleasant sunny April afternoon as referee Darren Handley led the two teams out on to the pitch with the travelling Imps' fans out in their droves as City went in search of the point needed to guarantee Conference National status for next season.
City kicked off and it was a cagey opening to the game on what looked to be a bobbly playing surface; the first half-chance coming in the third minute when good work from Oliver down the left saw him skin his man but his square pass to Paul Turnbull saw the midfielder volley wide.
Hyde's response saw Liam Tomsett win the game's first corner which ended up with a free-kick to the Imps following a push on Nat Brown by Luke Ashworth; the home player needing treatment after colliding into a team mate at the same time.
In the 10th minute Fofana was spoken to for a foul on ex-Imp Louis Almond who gave his physio another run out as the stop-start beginning to proceedings continued with another free-kick.
A deflected Alan Power effort led to the Imps' first corner eight minutes later and this ended with Nicky Nicolau having a drive palmed away by David Carnell before Oliver's follow-up effort was deflected behind. This second flag-kick ended with Nicolau firing wide.
A corner followed at the other end when Brown blocked a cross from the home right but Paul Farman commanded his area well and claimed confidently.
Play switched to the opposite end shortly afterwards and, after Carnell failed to old on to a back header from his defence and when Jones picked up the pieces he was sent flying by Ben Dennis with referee Handley quick to award a penalty. Skipper Alan Power, as he did last weekend against Tamworth, did the honours from the spot and neatly sent Carnell the wrong way to sent the majority of the crowd into celebration.
Almond fired a foot wide as Hyde looked for a response 10 minutes later whilst at the other end a Nicolau free-kick was dropped by Carnell but the home keeper smothered when the ball ran loose. A City corner was then cleared out for a throw-in which was taken by Gray only for Oliver to head wide.
As two minutes of additional time was indicated by the Fourth Official Sheridan did well to win a corner and when Power whipped in from the quadrant, his centre was met by the head of Mo Fofana who saw his effort clip the underside of the bar before nestling in the net for his first City goal.
HT: Hyde 0 Imps 2
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and an early offside flag robbed Sheridan of a sight of goal 60 seconds in after Power played a neat ball over the top of the Hyde defence.
It wasn't long though before the Imps pressed forward again and when Sheridan was released by Turnbull, he sprinted past his marker, swung in a peach of a cross and there to meet it was Vadaine Oliver who duly headed past Carnell at the back post to extend the lead.
Hyde looked for a quick response, winning a corner two minutes later, and when Jamie Milligan picked out Ashworth who headed past Farman at his near post. Before play restarted Milligan and Louis Almond were replaced by Phil Jevons and Scott Spencer.
Spencer's first taste of the action saw him bundled over by Brown before Sheridan was cautioned for kicking the ball away following an offside decision against the Imps. City's next attack saw Oliver go inches wide with header following a Gray throw-in.
Farman did well to keep out a low Tomsett drive with his legs and as the ball was cleared, drama ensued as, after Fofana was sent tumbling by Alex Brown who was booked for his troubles. Jones, as he looked to get hold of the ball, was then sent to the deck by Ashworth who appeared to push him in the face. Referee Handley deemed the incident to only be worthy of a yellow, and much to Jones' disbelief, he was also booked.
The free-kick, when it was eventually taken, was lofted in by Gray and in went Oliver who bravely beat Carnell to the ball before seeing his header nestle in the net for his second and the Imps' fourth of the game.
Five minutes later Nicolau saw yellow for a trip on Spencer, who appeared to dive under the full-back's challenge, Spencer then drilled well over from the edge of the box as he looked to reduce the arrears.
With the game in its final quarter hour good work from Oliver saw him win a corner which ended up with the ball in Carnell's gloves whilst Jamie Taylor and Todd Jordan were given a six minute run-out at the expense of Jake Jones and Jake Sheridan. Shay McCartan replaced Matthew Blinkhorn for the hosts at the same time.
Neither of the City substitutes had time to touch the ball before the Imps added a fifth with Oliver completing his hat-trick in style; the big striker being released by Miller and after he out-sprinted his marker, slotted past the advancing Carnell.
A couple of minutes later David Preece replaced Paul Farman between the City sticks but the action was at the other end with Taylor lifting an effort over Carnell only for the ball to bounce wide.
Four minutes of added time was then indicated and these passed without further incident so Oliver's hat-trick helped the Imps secure Conference National status for next season courtesy of the biggest win of the campaign.
FT: Hyde 1 Imps 5
City: Paul Farman, Dan Gray, Tom Miller, Nat Brown, Nicky Nicolau, Mamadou Fofana, Paul Turnbull, Alan Power, Jake Sheridan, Jake Jones, Vadaine Oliver.
subs: Todd Jordan (for Jones 84), Scott Garner, Jamie Taylor (for Sheridan 84), Craig Hobson, David Preece (for Farman 88).
goals: Power (27 pen), Fofana (45+1), Oliver (48, 62, 85)
bookings: Sheridan (56), Jones (61), Nicolau (68)
Hyde: David Carnell, Josh Brizell, Andrew Fitzgerald, Ben Dennis, Luke Ashworth, Alex Brown, Liam Tomsett, Jamie Milligan, Matthew Blinkhorn, Scott Hogan, Louis Almond.
subs: David Poole, Scott Spencer (for Almond 51), Phil Jevons (for Milligan 51), Chris Sedgwick, Shay McCartan (for Blinkhorn 84).
goals: Ashworth (50)
bookings: Brown (60), Ashworth (61)
Referee: Darren Handley
Assistants: Stuart Richardson & Steve Swallow
Fourth Official: Natalie Walker
Attendance: 1,390 (977 City supporters)