With the Cambridge loan duo of Mitch Austin and Delano Sam-Yorke both cup-tied, City welcomed back Conner Robinson and Ben Tomlinson into the starting line-up for this FA Carlsberg Trophy Third Round clash against North Ferriby United at Gelder Group Sincil Bank Stadium. A further change to the team that started the 4-1 win over Alfreton Town saw Luke Foster return in defence with Todd Jordan replacing Mo Fofana in midfield.
The visitors kicked off attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand which had a bright sun setting behind it but it was the Imps who enjoyed the better of the early play with Nick Wright seeing plenty of he ball in the opening couple of minutes.
It was United who had the first half-chance though with Jamie Yates firing wide whilst in the fifth minute Paul Farman was forced to tip behind a low Liam King effort for game's first corner. Jordan cleared this for another which ended up seeing City break with Robinson winning a flag-kick at the other end which ultimately ended with Robinson playing the ball out for a goal-kick.
Good persistence from Tomlinson saw him force another corner in the 13th minute but this came to nothing when Bohan Dixon was pulled up for a foul as he tried to get past his marker.
City's next attack saw a Sean Newton chip forward see Robinson go down under a challenge from Dean Lisles but referee Ben Toner waved play-on. Dixon then forced Nicklin to save at the second attempt after rifling in a powerful drive from range.
A Newton free-kick, headed on by Miller, ended with Wright nodding into Nicklin's gloves as the Imps pressed forward again but North Ferriby withstood the pressure and responded by opening the scoring in the 25th minute when a Jonathan D'Laryea ball into the box was flicked on by Nathan Jarman and there to prod past Farman was Liam King.
D'Laryea escaped a caution following a late challenge on Nolan shortly after the restart and the crucial final ball continued to elude the Imps as they looked for a quick leveller.
In the 34th minute Farman tipped over a Jarman volley as the visitors come close to doubling their advantage; ex-Imp Danny Hone heading the resultant corner behind giving City some respite.
United still looked the more likely to add to the scoring, with the Imps giving possession away cheaply on numerous occasions, and they did just that two minutes before the break when Nat Brown failed to get any purchase on a header back to Farman and in nipped Ryan Kendall to make it 2-0.
Tomlinson was booked for diving as he went to ground under a challenge as he advanced into the United box before a solitary minute of added time passed before the half-time whistle went.
HT: IMPS 0 NORTH FERRIBY 2
Danny Rowe & Mo Fofana replace Nick Wright & Bohan Dixon prior to the start of the second half.
The visitors, buoyed from their first half showing, were the first to press with Kendall winning a corner five minutes in but Gregg Anderson was penalised for a push as the ball was played into the mix.
At the other end, the marauding Miller sent a cross straight out after clearing a ball at one end before advancing forward. Brown then had an effort saved by Nicklin following a long Miller throw.
On the hour mark Rowe was denied by an excellent Nicklin save following great work by Robinson down the left. The corner ended with Yates blocking from Jordan as the visitors preserved their clean sheet.
At the other end a cross-cum-shot from former City man Nathan Peat came back off the bar with the Imps' response seeing Newton curl a cross on to the roof of the United net.
In the 66th minute Hone was booked for a foul on Nolan before Jake Sheridan replaced Todd Jordan for the Imps but City's misery continued four minutes later when Farman was penalised for a foul on Jarman in the area. The striker picked himself up before sending the Imps' 'keeper the wrong way from the spot.
Brown headed a long Miller throw over as the Imps looked for some sort of consolation and with 10 minutes remaining Russell Fry came on for Ryan Kendall for the visitors.
Three minutes later Robinson was denied by Hone but the corner, like the previous ones during the afternoon, came to nothing.
Again, their Skrill North opponents showed them how to do it when, in the first of three added minutes King slotted home his second after Farman failed to hold a low Clarke shot.
FT: IMPS 0 NORTH FERRIBY 4