There were two changes to the City starting XI for this Skrill Premier game against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road with Luke Foster and Danny Rowe coming in for Todd Jordan and the injured Jake Sheridan.
Luton kicked off but it was the Imps who were the first to press, forcing two corners in quick succession before Ben Tomlinson flicked a Sean Newton cross wide of the target after a meeting the centre with his forehead.
The Hatters' first attack came in the eighth minute when Luke Guttridge latched on to a long ball from 'keeper Mark Tyler before his cross was deflected into Paul Farman's gloves by Andrew Boyce.
A push by Nay Brown on Mark Cullen gave the home side a free-kick on the quarter-houe mark but the delivery was poor and the set-piece ended up with Jonathan Smith slicing well wide from long range.
At the other end an Alan Power free-kick ended up with Mo Fofana forcing a throw-in and when Tom Miller's delivery was half-cleared, the ball fell kindly for Power and the City skipper duly rifled in through a crowd of players from the edge of the box to give the Imps a 20th minute lead with the first goal of the campaign.
A couple of minutes later Tomlinson was denied by Tyler as he latched on to a quickly-taken throw-in whilst Luton's response saw Luke Guttridge fizz a shot wide as they looked for a leveller.
Great work from Rowe on the left saw him cut inside before seeing his dangerous cross cleared for a corner and after this was punched clear by Tyler, the City man won another flag-kick on the opposite flank which was hacked away at the near post.
On the half-hour mark City won their fifth corner of the opening period with Power's inswinger somehow evading everyone in a packed six-yard box and as Luton replied Farman easily held a lame Guttridge effort.
City remained the more attacking threat with Tomlinson dragging a low shot across the face of goal before the striker was harshly penalised for foot-up as he looked to latch on to a ball in the box.
Referee Adam Bromley earned the wrath of the City players, and understandably so, after he penalised Nolan for a foul on Griffiths but justice was done when Guttridge wasted the free-kick opportunity.
Guttridge almost made amends a minute later when he curled an effort a foot wide from just inside the box whilst at the other end the forward surging Miller went down under a McNulty challenge only for his appeals for a penalty to be waved away.
Two additional minutes passed without further incident so it was the Imps who went into the break with their noses a deserved goal in front.
HT: Luton 0 Imps 1
Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second half so it was as you were as the Imps restarted proceedings.
Luton, no doubt reeling from harsh words from John Still at the break, were quickly out of the traps and within 45 seconds got themselves back on level terms when Guttridge picked out Cullen with a cross form the left and he rose well to plant a firm header past the outstretched arms of Farman.
City responded well and in the 51st minute regained the lead when, after the home defence failed to deal with a long Miller throw, in nipped Ben Tomlinson who saw his goalbound effort cross the line before the defenders could clear with the assistant referee quick to indicate a goal.
Miller very nearly made it 3-1 shortly after the restart when, after breaking forward at pace, he fizzed a shot just wide after being released by Nolan. Tyler then claimed a low Power cross as the Imps pressed again.
Shortly after the hour mark Rowe required treatment bringing about a break in play and he looked to be in some discomfort as he was helped to the touchline by Kev Oxby. He was duly replaced by Todd Jordan in the 63rd minute.
A couple of minutes later Nolan saw a half-volley fly inches over from 25 yards before the hosts made a change with Andre Gray coming on for Jim Stevenson. Scott Griffiths was then replaced by JJ O'Donnell before Newton was booked for delaying the taking of a Luton throw-in.
Gray was quickly in the action, winning a corner which Boyce headed out for a throw-in. This in turn led to another flag-kick as the Hatters put the Imps under some pressure. At the other end Tomlinson came close to connecting with a Newton cross but was penalised for a push.
With 15 minutes on the clock Foster was pulled up for a mistimed challenge, giving the hosts a free-kick in a dangerous position - Guttridge made him pay as he fizzed in a powerful effort which flew through a crowd of players before going under an unsighted Farman.
Two minutes later a superb Farman save saw him keep out a Cullen effort but when the resultant corner was played into the mix the ball ran kindly for Cullen who smashed home from six yards to edge his team in front.
Luke Foster was replaced by Nick Wright and Andrew Boyce pushed forward as the Imps found themselves chasing the game for the first time.
Good persistence by Power saw him force McNulty into conceding a corner which was headed a foot over by Jordan before Luton scorer Cullen was replaced by Solomon Taiwo.
In the final minute of normal time Wright fired wide when a cross would perhaps have been the best option whilst in the first of four added minutes the substitute was denied a run on goal by the outstretched leg of McNulty.
Tomlinson was denied by Tyler at his near post as the Imps continued to push for a late leveller whilst appeals for a foul on Nolan in the box shortly aferwards fell on deaf ears.
A succession of Luton throw-ins ate up enough seconds to see them emerge victorious.
FT: Luton 3 Imps 2