City boss Gary Simpson was forced to make two changes to his starting line-up for this Vanarama Conference clash against Gateshead at Sincil Bank Stadium. With Sean Newton and Jordan Burrow suspended, in came Tony Diagne and Marcus Marshall. Todd Jordan and Jake Caprice, meanwhile, returned to the bench.
The Imps kicked off attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand and started brightly, putting the Gateshead defence under pressure winning a couple of throw-ins on the left. The second of these led to a City corner but Marshall's near post delivery was easily cleared.
There was an early booking for Gateshead full-back Andrai Jones following a late fifth minute challenge on Marshall whilst from the visitors' first attack referee Ryan Johnson spotted a push and awarded the Imps a free-kick before Carl Finnigan headed into the net.
In the 10th minute an over-zealous tussle between Delano Sam-Yorke and James Curtis saw the referee speak to both players whilst a couple of minutes later the visitors forced their first corner which was flicked on by Curtis only for Diagne to divert behind. The follow-up was also dealt with.
City's response saw them win a corner on their right as an end-to-end opening continued but again, Marshall's delivery from the quadrant was headed away. Hamza Bencherif then dragged a long-range effort wide of the target.
Things quietened down for a period as the half reached and went past its midway point with a Marshall corner in the 26th minute which was flicked over by Tomlinson being the next incident of note.
Gateshead's Tom Allan was forced off with a bleeding nose in the 33rd minute and two minutes after he returned, complete with change of kit, appeals for a penalty as Danny Wright went down under a Tom Anderson challenge were waved away by referee Johnson.
Four minutes before the break Diagne was booked for a foul on Jones inches outside the area but when the ball came in Townsend did well to smother. The City stopper then got down well to claim a low Alex Rodman drive.
Two added minutes failed to produce anything of note so the two teams went in to the break on level terms.
HT: IMPS 0 GATESHEAD 0
Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second period so it was as you were as Gateshead restarted proceedings.
Less than 30 seconds into the second half, Allan was booked for a late challenge on Marshall with Tomlinson fizzing the resultant free-kick a foot wide of the target. City continued on the offensive and after Sam-Yorke skinned his marker, his cross somehow evaded Karl Ledsham at the back post.
At the other end Finnigan prodded wide after Michael Rankine nodded down a John Oster cross whils City' response four minutes later saw Sam-Yorke force a corner on the left. Tomlinson took the responsibility this time and fired in a superb centre which was met by a brave header by TOM ANDERSON who powered home his first for the Club from six yards.
Having taken a knock in the process, Anderson needed treatment and once he got to his feet was greeted by a rousing reception from the home fans.
Three minutes later Nat Brown was left grounded after Finnigan led with his arm but referee Johnson spotted nothing untoward though and let play continue. Gateshead then won a couple of corners and when the second one was played deep, Danny Wright was given the chance to volley his side level; an opportunity he duly took.
City's response saw Miller hurl in a long throw but Sam-Yorke was harshly penalised for a foul on Adam Bartlett. Lewis Guy then replaced Alex Rodman for the visitors.
In the 71st minute Ledsham missed a great chance at the back post following some excellent build-up play and cross from Sam-Yorke and this was the precursor to a very scrappy 10 minutes with chances at a premium.
It took a great 85th minute block from Anderson to keep out a Gateshead effort following a swift attack and as the Imps responded Tomlinson swung in a great centre which was headed over for a corner. After Bencherif headed Tomlinson's delivery over, Alan Power replaced Sam-Yorke.
Just as the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of four minutes were to be added on, Bencherif had an effort from a Tomlinson corner blocked before Miller was denied as the feet flew in.
Power's first taste of the action saw him pick up a booking for a needless foul on the half-way line and shortly afterwards referee Johnson brought things to a close.
26 Nick TOWNSEND
2 Tom MILLER
23 Nat BROWN
25 Tom ANDERSON
6 Tony DIAGNE
12 Arnaud MENDY
10 Karl LEDSHAM
5 Hamza BENCHERIF
22 Marcus MARSHALL
11 Ben TOMLINSON
15 Delano SAM-YORKE
4 Todd JORDAN
8 Alan POWER (for SAM-YORKE 88)
14 Jon NOLAN
17 Jake CAPRICE
31 David PREECE
GOAL: ANDERSON (55)
BOOKINGS: DIAGNE (41), POWER (90+2)
1 Adam BARTLETT
2 Andrai JONES
5 James CURTIS
6 Ben CLARK
7 John OSTER
8 Phil TURNBULL
11 Carl FINNIGAN
15 Tom ALLAN
19 Michael RANKINE
23 Alex RODMAN
29 Danny WRIGHT
9 Jon SHAW
10 Lewis GUY (for RODMAN 68)
12 Rob RAMSHAW
14 James BROWN
16 Craig BAXTER
GOAL: WRIGHT (63)
BOOKINGS: JONES (5), ALLAN (46)
REFEREE: Ryan Johnson
ASSISTANTS: Stuart Pawley & James Turner
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Andrew Tonks
ATTENDANCE: 2,394 (56 visiting supporters)