On the back of a 2-1 win at the then leaders Barnet, City were unchanged for this Vanarama Conference home fixture against Braintree Town. There was one change on the bench, however, with teenager Kegan Everington replacing the injured Karl Ledsham.
Jason Whiteley was the man in charge and once he'd completed the pre-match formalities with the captains play got underway with the Imps getting things underway attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand.
The first incident of the game saw Jordan Cox charge down a Nick Townsend clearance but the ball fortunately bounced out for goal-kick. At the other end Ben Tomlinson was penalised for a foul as he looked to close down on visiting 'keeper Nick Hamann.
City kept up the pressure with a Sean Newton cross being headed across the face of goal by Hamza Bencherif before Alan Power had an effort deflect behind for the game's first corner. NEWTON duly took the flag-kick with his inswinger appearing to miss everyone before the ball nestled in the back of the net for a seventh minute lead.
Shortly after the restart a City free-kick failed to trouble Hamann whilst Braintree's response saw a Michael Bakare cross defended well by Jake Caprice. Nothing came of the resultant corner.
On the quarter-hour mark a swift City attack ended with Caprice winning a corner at the other end and when the set-piece found Tomlinson he saw his curling effort well saved by Hamann before Jordan Burrow was flagged offside.
It wasn't long before the Imps were pushing forward again and after Tomlinson fed Newton on the left, he whipped in a great cross and there rising high was HAMZA BENCHERIF to plant a firm header past Hamann for his second goal in as many games.
City continued to dominate with play concentrated in the Braintree half as they pushed for a third with Town's frustrations starting to bubble over with Kenny Davis squaring up to Jon Nolan after coming out second best in a challenge.
Tomlinson fizzed a low drive six feet wide from 20 yards as the half wore on whilst three minutes later a Newton cross crashed against Ryan Peters' arm but his deep delivery went straight out of play.
Hamann then claimed a dangerous Newton centre before the half ended after a minute of additional play and Brundle flicking a Sparkes free-kick inches wide
HT: IMPS 2 BRAINTREE 0
Whilst City emerged unchanged, Ryan Case replaced James Mulley for the visitors prior to the start of the second half.
The half burst into action as within a couple of minutes of the restart Town striker Cox went down somewhat easily under Diagne's challenge in the area. Although the assistant referee kept his flag down and was happy to let play carry on, referee Jason Whiteley was quick to point to the spot.
Not only that, he then dished out a straight red card to the City man, incidating that a tug on Cox's shirt was not only worthy of a penalty but also a red card, much to the astonishment of the City players, management and fans. When things calmed down, Davis drilled past Townsend from the spot.
In Diagne's absence, Bencherif dropped back alongside Brown and he was spoken to by the referee after Cox appeared to lead with an arm on his defensive colleague.
City were struggling to impose themselves following this double blow but shortly after the hour mark the two-goal advantage was restored as, after Burrow rose well to find Nolan, he released BEN TOMLINSON who shrugged off Sam Habergham before neatly sliding the ball past Hamann for his first of the season.
A couple of minutes later Caprice won a corner before the full-back surged forward and after he was denied by Hamann, Brown fired over. Caprice was then booked for a foul on Habergham to cap an action-packed few moments.
A double switch for Braintree saw Dan Walker and Sean Marks replace Habergham and Bakare whilst shortly afterwards, Peters seemed to slap Tomlinson across the face after the ball ran out for a Town goal-kick. Peters was shown a yellow card.
Brave goalkeeping from Townsend saw him smother as the feet went flying in and he needed treatment before returning to action. When play resumed Power was booked for a challenge on Sparkes, who hobbled off for attention.
Sparkes returned and had a cross deflect out for a corner which ended up seeing Cox head well wide. Bencherif then cleared off line after Cox lifted the ball over the advancing Townsend.
With six minutes remaining Marcus Marshall replaced Jordan Burrow as Town defender Mitch Brundle was off the pitch having treatment to a cut head. A City corner then came to nothing, as did a Braintree one at the other end.
A blood-soaked Brundle stripped off for a change of kit before returning as City sub Marshall won a free-kick which was dealt with by the visiting defence.
A minimum of five additional minutes was indicated by the Fourth Official and in the first of these, Brundle reduced the arrears with his long-range effort taking a deflection to beat the wrong-footed Townsend.
City looked for a quick reaction with Nolan bringing a fine save out of Hamann and the last action of the game saw Townsend claim an inswinging free-kick. The full-time whistle went as soon as he pumped the ball forward.
FT: IMPS 3 BRAINTREE 2
7 Dan WALKER (for HABERGHAM 72)
9 Sean MARKS (for BAKARE 72)
17 Ryan CASE (for MULLEY h/t)
20 Remy CLERIMA
29 Carl PENTNEY
GOALS: DAVIS (49 pen), BRUNDLE (90+1)
BOOKINGS: PETERS (72), SPARKES (78)