Manager Chris Moyses named an unchanged starting line-up for the third successive game as the Imps welcomed Alfreton Town to Sincil Bank Stadium in the first round of the FA Trophy. There was a switch on the bench, however, with Alex Simmons replacing cup-tied Tyrell Waite.
City kicked off attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand and it was a scrappy start with a number of free-kicks doing nothing to aid the flow of the game. In fact it wasn't until the seventh minute until the first attempt at goal came along; John Johnston testing Paul Farman with a low drive from 20 yards.
The Imps' response saw them win a free-kick on the right and when this was kept alive by Ben Tomlinson and Marcus Marshall, a shot on the turn from Hamza Bencherif was held at the second attempt by George Willis.
Tomlinson had a 13th minute effort saved by Willis as the Imps pressed forward again but the free-kicks continued and when an Alfreton one was half-cleared as far as Anthony Howell, he saw his effort palmed away by Farman. There to latch on to the loose ball, however, was Luke Graham who duly blasted the ball into the roof of the net from six yards.
City looked for a quick response with a Marshall header from a Newton cross being tipped over by Willis before Bencherif was inches away from connecting with a Power cross and Nolan fired a foot over the bar.
At the other end a Tomlinson trip on Cliff Byrne gave Alfreton the chance from a free-kick in dangerous position but Byrne subsequently headed Shaw's delivery on to the post before the ball was cleared for a corner.
On the half-hour mark a yellow card was dished out to Bradley Wood who lead with his arm in an aerial challenge with Power. The City skipper needed treatment as a result with blood coming from a cut to his left eyebrow.
Power returned and was sent to ground again by Graham; Newton's free-kick was headed into the side netting by Wood for a corner which came to nothing.
Five minutes before the break a great piece of play by Caprice saw him advance forward but his square ball to Marshall was intercepted. Three minutes later Newton was booked for a rash challenge on Johnston.
The only action during three additional minutes of play saw Hawley appear to elbow Bencherif. Nothing was spotted by the men that matter though and the half ended with Bencherif off for attention.
HT: IMPS 0 ALFRETON 1
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and the Imps were quickly on the offensive and when Newton whipped in a cross from the left, Marshall connected and netted but was denied a leveller after the flag went up indicating a foul.
Shortly afterwards a loose ball wouldn't run to Nolan or Tomlinson with Willis able to smother before Marshall curled a left-footed effort wide from just inside the box. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner then picked up a 52nd minute caution after catching Burrow with an elbow.
With the tackles starting to fly in, Nolan appeared to get in a great challeng on Johnston close the touchline. Not according to the referee though and out came a very harsh yellow, with the home fans quick to vent their frustration.
In the 63rd minute Alfreton's Shaw silenced those fans when he doubled his sides advantage; the ball running kindly for him in the box before he drilled past Farman. Before play restarted Conner Robinson replaced Jordan Burrow.
Robinson was quickly in the action, squaring for Tomlinson who was denied by the legs of Willis and three minutes after a blatant push on Tomlinson was somehow not spotted by the officials, Willis superbly tipped over a Robinson header.
With 18 minutes remaing a knock to Newton forced him to be replaced by Thierry Audel, Miller moving to left-back, and a couple of minutes later Byrne was booked for delaying the taking of a throw-in.
More timewasting from Alfreton came as the clock ticket on with keeper Willis remaining grounded after shielding a ball out under pressure from Miller. Alex Simmons then replaced Marcus Marshall with five minutes remaining.
Bencherif was pushed forward as a Power cross lead to a corner but this came to nothing as referee Hicks spotted a push in the area.
In the second of six added minutes Farman was booked for dissent as the visitors waited to take a corner and Keane followed him three minutes later for delaying the taking of a City free-kick. Miller was then booked for a foul on Hicks to round off a frustrating afternoon.
FT: IMPS 0 ALFRETON 2
1 Paul FARMAN
17 Jake CAPRICE
2 Tom MILLER
5 Hamza BENCHERIF
3 Sean NEWTON
20 Charlee ADAMS
14 Jon NOLAN
8 Alan POWER
22 Marcus MARSHALL
11 Ben TOMLINSON
9 Jordan BURROW
12 Arnaud MENDY
16 Conner ROBINSON (for BURROW 64)
19 Alex SIMMONS (for MARSHALL 85)
24 Thierry AUDEL (for NEWTON 72)
26 Nick TOWNSEND
BOOKINGS: NEWTON (43), NOLAN (59), FARMAN (90+2), MILLER (90+6)
1 George WILLIS
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Lathaniel ROWE-TURNER
4 Duane COURTNEY
5 Luke GRAHAM
10 Dan BRADLEY
11 Anthony HOWELL
12 Tom SHAW
23 Karl HAWLEY
26 Cliff BYRNE
27 John JOHNSTON
7 Nathan HICKS (for JOHNSTON 89)
9 Paul CLAYTON
14 Jake SHERIDAN
15 Jordan KEANE (for WOOD 85)
24 Carl LAMB
GOALS: GRAHAM (19), SHAW (63)
BOOKINGS: WOOD (30), ROWE-TURNER (52), BYRNE (74), KEANE (90+5)
REFEREE: Craig Hicks
ASSISTANTS: Shaun Barry & Paul Evans
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Neil Guest
ATTENDANCE: 1,243 (45 visiting supporters)