Chris Sharp replaced the suspended Ben Tomlinson and there were recalls for Marlon Jackson and Jake Sheridan for this FA Carlsberg Trophy first round tie against Stalybridge Celtic at Gelder Group Sincil Bank Stadium.
The visitors kicked off with the bright sun setting behind the Bridge McFarland Stand and it was a stop-start opening with a number of free-kicks doing nothing to aid the flow of the game.
Ex-Imp Conal Platt had the game's first attempt at goal with Paul Farman easily gathering his fifth minute shot from the edge of the box whilst at the other end a trip on Sharp by Andy McWilliams gave City the chance to whip a ball into the danger area; visiting 'keeper Arron Jameson tipping Sean Newton's inswinger behind for a corner.
Shortly afterwards Nat Brown headed a long Tom Miller throw-in wide of the target before Jackson had a header hacked away after another Miller throw caused problems for the Celtic defence.
On the quarter-hour mark Sharp drilled a low effort a foot wide whilst a couple of minutes later Brown met a Miller cross only to see his powerful header superbly kept out by Jameson at full stretch.
City's pressure paid off in the 19th minute when MARLON JACKSON did well to latch on to a forward ball and after shaking off a couple of challenges had a shot blocked by Jameson before rifling the loose ball into the net from six yards out for his first goal in Imps' colours.
Four minutes later Jackson was in the action again, sprinting forward past a static Celtic defence and when he looked to play the ball across, it struck Joel Bembo-Leta on the arm with referee Mike George quick to point to the spot. Bembo-Leta was booked before ALAN POWER doubled the advantage from 12 yards.
It wasn't long before Power made it 3-0 with the skipper on the end of a forward ball before flicking it over a back-tracking defender and past Jameson with a neat finish.
A minute after the restart Foster was harshly booked for a foul on McWilliams and from the free-kick, Conal Platt got in a flick header which was brilliantly tipped behind by Paul Farman.
City pressed forward again with Nolan bundled over 25 yards from goal but Newton drilled straight at the wall before Power sliced his follow-up effort well wide. Power then released Jackson down the middle but the striker lifted his effort over after going through one-on-one with Jameson.
The half ended after two added minutes with the Imps leaving the field to a deserved reception following their three-goal opening period.
HT: Imps 3 Stalybridge 0
Whilst the Imps emerged unchanged, Stalybridge made a switch at the break with player/manager Keith Briggs coming on for Lewis Hatch in midfield.
It was a scrappy opening to the second half but this livened up in the 56th minute when a Power free-kick missed everyone in the box with the ball nestling in the back of the net for his hat-trick goal.
Changes for City in the 61st minute saw Nick Wright and Waide Fairhurst come on for Chris Sharp and Power, who left the field to an excellent reception following his inspirational hour-long showing.
The changes continued five minutes later with Stalybridge bringing on Alex Munisu and Phil Marsh for Kristian Platt and Conal Platt and shortly afterwards a City corner was headed away by Briggs.
Marsh's first touch saw him pull a goal back as, after Fofana's shoulder barge on Anorou was deemed worthy of a penalty by referee George, the substitute blasted past Farman from the spot.
Dan Gray for Luke Foster was the Imps' last change of the game with Tom Miller moving inside to partner Nat Brown at the back.
A foul on Marsh earned Brown an 80th minute caution before Marsh had a shot deflect behind for a corner which was duly wasted by the visitors. At the other end Fairhurst was denied by Jameson after rifling the ball goalwards from 20 yards.
Nolan was then bundled to the deck after taking a high boot and he looked to be in some discomfort as he was helped off by physio Kev Oxby. He went straight down the tunnel leaving the Imps with just 10 men for the closing stages.
City's next attack saw Jackson tee up Sheridan who was denied by a back-tracking defender before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of four minutes were to be added on.
Early in stoppage time, Fofana made it 5-1 after the referee let play continue after Jackson was bundled over on the edge of the box. With players from both sides stopping expecting a free-kick, Fofana carried on, planting a tidy finish into the bottom corner of the net.
FT: Imps 5 Stalybridge 1