Tom Miller returned from suspension and both Todd Jordan and Jake Sheridan returned to the starting line-up for this Skrill Premier game against in-form Braintree Town at Gelder Group Sincil Bank Stadium.
The sun was shining brightly as referee Amy Fearn led the two teams out of the tunnel and once the pre-match formalities with the captains were done and dusted play got under way with Braintree kicking off.
City's starting formation was a 3-5-2 variation with Miller joining Thierry Audel and Nat Brown in defence and both teams took their time to settle into proceedings with the opening stages being very scrappy.
An aerial challenge between Kris Bright and Dean Wells saw the Town man come off worse but returned following treatment. When play resumed the overlapping Sam Habergham whipped in a cross from the left but Sean Newton was back and on hand to clear the danger.
Newton was in the action at the other end in the 13th minute when he won the game's first corner but his subsequent delivery flew over both Miller and Audel as the heads went up.
A long Nick Townsend punt forward led to another corner four minutes later and this led to a throw-in on the opposite flank. Taker Miller saw the ball find its way back to him, he laid off to Newton who saw his deep cross headed wide by Audel at the back post.
Another City flag-kick came along shortly after the mid-way point in the opening period but again this failed to come up with the goods whilst a fourth saw Bright head goalwards only for Ryan Peters to hack the ball away from within his six-yard box.
A needless push on Chez Isaac earned Newton a 31st minute caution but when Townsend emerged with the ball from the free-kick he bowled it forward to Sheridan who sprinted forward and squared for Bright who who saw his effort deflect wide.
Newton curled inches wide after the resultant corner was played back to him and with the game suddenly brought to life, Town's Habergham was booked for handball with Nick Hamann saving well when Newton fizzed his free-kick in.
At the other end Braintree forced a couple of corners before the game entered another lull period and three more came their way as the 45 minute mark approached. The last action of the half saw Townsend save a long-range Isaac effort with his knees.
HT: IMPS 0 BRAINTREE 0
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and following a quiet and scrappy opening, City forced a couple of corners which came to nothing.
The game ticked on before James Mulley volleyed well over the Bridge McFarland Stand whilst at the other end Bright met a Newton cross only for his header to hit Mulley and go out for a corner.
The flag-kick was taken by Newton and the ball seemed to hang in the air, giving TOM MILLER the chance to nip in and head past Hamann from six yards out for the opening goal.
Another Newton corner shortly after the restart almost curled straight in but the visiting defence cleared off the line. Bright then prodded wide as the Imps went on the hunt for a second.
City's 10th corner came along with 19 minutes remaining with Hamann punching Newton's delivery away from under his bar but when the resultant flag-kick wasn't cleared there to prod home wass THIERRY AUDEL.
A double Braintree substitution came a couple of minutes later with Daniel Holman and Bernard Mensah replacing Chez Isaac and Alex Jakubiak.
A quick City break led to corner number 12 and although this came to nothing, the ball was kept in the attacking third with Power releasing Newton on the right. Referee Fearn brought this attack to an abrupt end though as she spotted an off-the-ball incident between Bright and Paine. A red card to the City striker was the outcome with Fearn indicating a stamp on Matt Paine.
Dan Sparkes for Sam Habergham was Town's last switch as the clock ticked into its last seven minutes whilst in the first of four added minutes on Bohan Dixon replaced Jake Sheridan who earned a great reception as he left the pitch.
FT: IMPS 2 BRAINTREE 0