Manager Gary Simpson made three attacking changes for this Vanarama Conference game at Forest Green Rovers with Marcus Marshall, Karl Ledsham and Delano Sam-Yorke all returning to the starting line-up. They replaced Alan Power, who was forced to sit out due to a dead-leg, Ben Tomlinson and Jordan Burrow; the latter pair being named on the bench.
After a morning of sunshine, cloudy skies greeted the two teams as they were led out by referee Mark Pottage and once the pre-match formalities were done and dusted play got underway with Forest Green kicking off.
The hosts were the first to press with a corner being played back to taker Marcus Kelly who saw his deflected follow-up centre claimed by Paul Farman, playing his first league game of the season, under his bar.
In the sixth minute a timely interception from Thierry Audel saw him rob James Norwood of a sight of goal whilst a minute later Jon Nolan was forced to limp off and was replaced by Jordan Burrow.
Burrow was quickly involved and his first taste of the action was to force Dale Bennett to concede a throw-in in an attacking position. Tom Miller duly launched the ball into the mix, Burrow kept the ball alive and when it ran free there to fire home was DELANO SAM-YORKE .
The home side's response came after Nat Brown gave possession away cheaply but fortunately Jon Parkin was flagged offside after strike partner Luke Rodgers helped the ball on. At the other end Sam-Yorke had a great chance to make it 2-0 but the striker fired over following good work by Marshall down the right flank.
In the 18th minute Hamza Bencherif cleared a dangerous Kelly free-kick out for a corner and after the Imps dealt with the danger they pressed with Sam-Yorke crowded out as he prepared to pull the trigger.
A foul on Burrow then gave Newton the chance to set his sights 25 yards from goal but the left-back fires straight at the wall. Burrow then tested Sam Russell with a low, skidding effort from range.
A relatively quiet spell ensued with Ledsham and Norwood spoken to by referee Pottage following an off the ball tussle on the half-hour mark but this changed five minutes before the interval when KARL LEDSHAM doubled the lead.
Ledsham did well to win possession in the first instance and with the home defence standing off and waiting for him to get the ball on his left, he duly curled home a beauty with his right peg with keeper Russell flat-footed as he watched the ball hit the back of the net.
Rovers' response saw Frear win a corner but City held firm and saw out two additional minutes to go into the break two goals to the good.
HT: FOREST GREEN 0 IMPS 2
No changes were made at the break with City restarting proceedings attacking the end behind which stood the majority of their travelling supporters.
The first chance of the second period saw Rodgers curl wide after play was allowed to continue after the veteran forward clearly pushed Audel out of the way whilst, after City cleared a corner won after Farman tipped a Norwood effort behind, a swift City break ended up with Marshall crossing into Russell's gloves.
Rovers defender Eddie Oshodi picked up a 52nd minute booking after dragging Sam-Yorke to the turf before an outstretched Danny Coles leg robbed Ledsham of a sight of goal following a swift City attack.
At the other end Rodgers left a boot in on Farman as the City keeper went to clear the ball and he needed treatment, even though referee Pottage spotted nothing untoward.
The official certainly spotted the next infringement as, after Sam-Yorke muscled his way forward, he was sent sprawling in the box. Mr Pottage was up with play and quickly pointed to the spot. Up stepped Newton and although his penalty and follow-up were saved by Russell there on hand was JORDAN BURROW to make it 3-0 from close range.
The hosts' frustrations came to the fore shortly afterwards with Rodgers crudely taking out Miller. The challenge was certainly worthy of a red card but referee Pottage settled for a yellow.
Within a couple of minutes Rodgers and strike partner Jon Parkin were replaced by Christian Jolley and Kurtis Guthrie before the game suddenly sprung to life as far as the hosts were concerned.
In the 68th minute Marshall was penalised for a push on Frear inside the box with Norwood neatly sending Farman the wrong way from the spot whilst less than two minutes later the England C skipper was allowed space to run through the City defence before firing in from 20 yards to make it 3-2.
Tom Miller picked up a controversial 73rd minute booking for taking too long over a throw-in, despite the fact he was waiting for Ben Tomlinson to replace Karl Ledsham. Tomlinson's first taste of the action was to foul Norwood 25 yards from goal but the home midfielder fortunately drilled the free-kick well wide.
Having succumbed to the double hit by Norwood, City managed to calm things down a bit as the clock ticked on and still looked dangerous on the break when in possession of the ball. Conner Robinson for Marcus Marshall was the Imps final switch with four minutes remaining.
The Imps had a minimum of four additional minutes to survive with Bencherif blocking a Coles strike before a deflected Norwood effort went out for a corner which Audel dealt well with.
The drama wasn't over though as, from their last attack, the home side snatched a point when a deep cross wasn't dealt with and when the ball ran into his path, Dale Bennett drilled past Farman to make it three goals apiece.
FT: FOREST GREEN 3 IMPS 3