Mo Fofana and Sean Newton returned to the starting line-up for this Skrill Premier game against Halifax Town at The Shay Stadium with the injured Tom Miller and the suspended Jake Sheridan the men missing out. Karl Cunningham and Jordan Thomas, meanwhile, were named on the bench.
Halifax got the game underway but the Imps were the first to press with Boha Dixon firing into side netting in the third minute following throw-in from Fofana, who began the game at right-back in Miller's absence.
The hosts's response saw ex-Imp Adam Smith have a shot deflect behind for corner which was headed well wide by Marc Roberts. Another Town corner was easily dealt with a couple of minutes later with play switching to the other end as Ben Tomlinson headed a Newton cross into Matt Glennon's gloves.
Play switched to the other end in the 12th minute when Alan Power appeared to get in a great block to deny Matt Pearson. Referee Anthony Backhouse deemed otherwise though and unbelievably awarded the home side a penalty; and then to make things worse dished out a straight red card to the Imps' skipper.
With the City fans understandably venting their frustrations at the official, Dan Gardner stepped up, hesitated for a while and fired past Paul Farman.
Pearson rattled the woodwork shortly after the restart as the Shaymen went for the jugular and as City responded Conner Robinson was flattened at other end only for the officials to wave play on.
More questionable officiating saw Mr Backhouse give a foul against Foster 25 yards out but justice was done when Josh Wilson blasted straight into the wall.
City's heads didn't drop though and in the 25th minute a quick break forward involving Dixon and Robinson saw the latter play a great through ball to Ben Tomlinson and he duly rounded the advancing Glennon before neatly tucking home from a narrow angle.
The response from Halifax was quick though and less than two minutes later they regained the advantage when, after he was released down the middle, Lee Gregory lifted over the advancing Farman to put his side in front for a second time.
Lois Maynard then forced Farman to a save low to his left before Gardner let fly with the City stopper palming clear again. As the half wore on Paul Marshall drilled wide after Dixon failed to clear his lines.
Tomlinson's frustrations saw him pick up his ninth booking of season for trip on Gardner just before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of two minutes were to be added on. The last half-chance of the half saw Tomlinson slice wide from 25 yards.
HT: Halifax 2 Imps 1
Jon Nolan replaced Conner Robinson prior to the start of the second half with the change seeing Dixon move to a role on the left.
Halifax were the first to press following the restart with Farman getting in a great point blank save to deny Gardner after he linked up with Gregory whilst a minute later the overlapping Scott McManus blazed well over.
At the other end Tomlinson appeared to be blocked off the ball but the officials didn't award anything as the assistant's flag stayed down after it first appeared to go up.
A knock to Fofana brought about a break in play in the 56th minute and he looked to be in some discomfort as he limped off. Waide Fairhurst was his replacement with Rowe dropping back to right-back.
A change for the home side saw Jon Worthington replace Paul Marshall in the 67th minute whilst a couple of minutes later Smith crashed an effort against the crossbar before the ball bounced to safety.
A late challenge on Dixon earned Maynard a 74th minute booking and although the resultant free-kick caused panic in the home defence the Shaymen still broke only for Gardner to waste the opportunity when through one-on-one with Farman.
Gardner was replaced by Reese Gray moments later but it was ex-Imp Adam Smith who increased his side's lead when, after latching on to a cross-field pass from Wilson, got past Rowe before firing into the top corner past Farman.
A third and final change for Town saw Joe Ironside replace Lee Gregory but it was fellow sub Worthington who got his name in lights with five minutes on the clock when he gained possession 25 yards out before unleashing a bullet which flew into the top corner to add to the misery.
That misery was compounded in the first of three added minutes when Gray curled a beauty past Farman to make it 5-1.
FT: Halifax 5 Imps 1