There were three changes to the City starting line-up for this FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie at Alfreton Town with Paul Farman replacing Nick Townsend in goal and skipper Alan Power and Marcus Marshall being recalled at the expense of Tom Anderson, back at Burnley following his loan, and Delano Sam-Yorke. Conner Robinson joined Sam-Yorke amongst the substitutes.
After Alfreton kicked off the first attack came from the Imps but Sean Newton sent his cross straight out for goal-kick whilst from another delivery from the left by the City left-back fizzed inches in front of Jordan Burrow six yards out.
City continued to press and in the ninth minute good footwork by Marshall saw him force Tom Davies into a rash challenge just inside the box. Referee Darren England was well up with play and was quick to award a penalty with no protests coming from the hosts up stepped SEAN NEWTON to send Severn the wrong way from 12 yards.
A lame Clayton effort on the quarter-hour mark was Alfreton's first effort towards goal whilst at the other end Arnaud Mendy and 'keeper Severn crashed into each other in a 50-50 challenge with the home stopper coming off worse, hobbling as took the resultant goal-kick.
The next incident saw Thierry Audel require treatment after he was left grounded following a late Tom Shaw challenge. The Alfreton man was shown a deserved yellow card for his troubles.
A 22nd minute corner to City following some decent build-up play down the right ended up with Tom Miller fouling Severn who went low to punch clear. Power then had a shot blocked after Severn flapped at a Newton cross.
Jon Nolan picked up a 26th minute caution following a foul 20 yards from goal but Shaw drilled the free-kick well wide whilst a City free-kick, given after a Clayton boot connected with Marshall's head, came to nothinh.
On the half-hour mark a long Miller throw was flicked towards his own goal by Clayton before Severn tipped away and the ball hacked out. City's second corner came along in the 38th minute but nothing came from it.
Audel had a great chance to double the lead seven minutes before the break but the centre-back headed a Power cross wide when well positioned after the hosts were caught out by a quick throw-in.
City's next foray forward saw Power fire over after Miller headed a cross back towards the City skipper whilst Town's response saw Shaw curl a corner
The half ended after two additional minutes of play.
HT: ALFRETON 0 IMPS 1
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second period with Clayton wasting the first half-chance with the striker dragging a long-range effort well wide when a pass through to ex-Imp Jake Sheridan would have been the better option.
Citys response saw them put in a swift counter-attack which ended up with Burrow heading a Marshall cross wide of the mark whilst six minutes in Jordan Keane for Duane Courtney was Alfreton's first change.
The game then entered a quiet period before a neat one-two betwen Nolan and Burrow saw the former win a throw-in and when Miller hurled in a log delivery, Burrow saw his deflected header cleared off the line by Wood.
A late challenge on Sheridan earned Marshall a 59th minute yellow card with Dan Bradley quick to replaced the former City man once he managed to get to his feet. When play resumed a low Tomlinson cross was flicked off Burrow by Luke Graham for a corner which was cleared.
City's failure to make their possession count was punished in the 64th minute when they conceded a soft leveller; substitute Bradley broke down the right and he found the unmarked Hawley who scored with ease with only Farman to beat.
With the hosts' tails lifted, Miller got in a great block to deny Hawley a second before a foul on Shaw by Mendy saw the City man see yellow. Clayton was also booked for voicing his opinions too strongly to the referee.
Conner Robinson for Marcus Marshall was City's first change in the 70th minute; this coming before each side won an unproductive corner. A few minutes later Farman palmed a 25-yard Hawley drive behind for a corner which was dealt with by Power at the near post.
A third and final Town switch saw Massiah McDonald replace Tom Shaw in the 83rd minute whilst seconds after this change Hawley drilled a foot over following swift Town attack. At the other end the ball got caught under Tomlinson's boots before bouncing straight into Severn's gloves.
As the clock ticked on Burrow fired a volley a foot wide whilst at the other end Bradley latched on to a poor Brown back-pass but Farman saved. A McDonald push on Nolan then gave the Imps a chance from a set-piece in a dangerous position but Tomlinson fired over.
Midway through three additional minutes a half-chance saw Tomlinson lob on to the roof of the net. This proved to be the last action before referee Darren England brought things to a close.
A replay at Sincil Bank on Tuesday then to decide the winners...
FT: ALFRETON 1 IMPS 1
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Tom MILLER
23 Nat BROWN
24 Thierry AUDEL
3 Sean NEWTON
12 Arnaud MENDY
8 Alan POWER
14 Jon NOLAN
22 Marcus MARSHALL
11 Ben TOMLINSON
9 Jordan BURROW
10 Karl LEDSHAM
15 Delano SAM-YORKE
16 Conner ROBINSON (for MARSHALL 70)
17 Jake CAPRICE
31 David PREECE
GOAL: NEWTON (10 pen)
BOOKINGS: NOLAN (26), MARSHALL (59), MENDY (68)
1 James SEVERN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Lathaniel ROWE-TURNER
4 Duane COURTNEY
5 Luke GRAHAM
9 Paul CLAYTON
11 Anthony HOWELL
12 Tom SHAW
14 Jake SHERIDAN
23 Karl HAWLEY
25 Tom DAVIES
7 Nathan HICKS
10 Dan BRADLEY (for SHERIDAN 61)
15 Jordan KEANE (for COURTNEY 51)
17 Massiah McDONALD (for SHAW 83)
18 Joe IRONSIDE
GOAL: HAWLEY (64)
BOOKINGS: SHAW (19), CLAYTON (68)
REFEREE: Darren England
ASSISTANTS: Anthony Moore & Aaron Jackson
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Robert Sherwood
ATTENDANCE: 886 (513 City supporters)