Nat Brown returned from suspension and Delano Sam-Yorke dropped to the bench as the Imps welcomed Grimsby Town to Sincil Bank Stadium for this first ever Tuesday night league fixture between the two teams.
City kicked off attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand and were the first to press with a blocked Ben Tomlinson effort leading to a second minute corner which ended up seeing Arnaud Mendy drill well over.
In the fifth minute a dangerous cross from Jon Nolan was just missed by Hamza Bencherif before Town stopper James McKeown tipped behind. This corner, again taken by Sean Newton, somehow evaded everyone in a packed six-yard box.
At the other end Nick Townsend blocked a Lenell John-Lewis effort before being fouled by the onrushing Craig Disley but it wasn't long before the Imps were on the attack and after Newton fed Tomlinson down the left he whipped in a peach of a cross and there to plant an excellent header past McKeown was JORDAN BURROW for his fourth of the campaign.
Grimsby looked for a quick response, swinging in a couple of crosses but Brown and his central defensive partner Tony Diagne stood firm. A deft chip from the overlapping Newton then landed just over McKeown's bar at the other end.
Shortly after the quarter-hour mark ex-Imp Lenny John-Lewis went down easily under a Newton challenge but Scott Brown wasted the chance, as he did from a corner which came following a jinking Scott Neilson run.
Play quickly switched to the other end and when Tomlinson was felled in the box by Aristote Nsiala, referee Darren England was quick to award a penalty. Tomlinson took the responsibility himself but looked on as his drive crashed against the post with the ball bouncing out of play.
This let off saw Grimsby attack, winning another corner in the 26th minute but this was again wasted by taker Brown. Townsend then got down well to claim a Neilson drive.
The Mariners had the woodwork to thank in the 32nd minute when a deflected Alan Power effort crashed off the underside of the bar and out for a corner. Brown headed the resultant flag-kick over before he was booked at the other end for a sliding challenge on John-Lewis. This free-kick was taken by Neilson and headed over by Pearson.
Town defender Paul Bignot was forced off for a couple of minutes with a bleeding eyebrow and when he was out of the action, Disley crashed into Tomlinson but escaped punishment.
Disley rubbed salt into the wounds three minutes before the break when he latched on to a loose ball following a free-kick into the mix before volleying into the corner of the net.
City's response saw a long range Bencherif free-kick superbly tipped behind by McKeown at full stretch but nothing came from the resultant corner.
The half ended after two additional minutes of play.
HT: IMPS 1 GRIMSBY 1
With no changes during the interval it was as you were as Town restarted proceedings.
City started the second period well as they looked to get their noses back in front but the first half-chance came Grimsby's way with John-Lewis curling a shot well wide following a swift Town attack.
The visitors' next attack came at pace with Neilson crashing an effort against the post before firing the loose ball over a gaping net. Mendy then took one for the team, tripping Neilson as he broke forward for a caution.
Visiting defender Shaun Pearson hobbled off and before Chris Doig cme on, Tomlinson was sent sprawling in the box by Bignot. Referee England was up with play again and again awarded a penalty. Bignot was booked before SEAN NEWTON neatly slotted home from the spot.
Town's response was quick though and within three minutes they drew level again with Jon Paul Pittman picking up possession before curling a superb effort past Townsend from 25 yards to make it two apiece.
After this quick-fire goal burst things calmed down a bit with play saturated in the middle third. In a bid to inject some fresh legs, Patrick McLaughlin replaced Craig Clay for the visitors.
After a Newton cross evaded a packed area, John-Lewis missed an absolute sitter for Grimsby; the former City striker finding himself one-on-one following a ball over top only to slice his lob well wide.
With 13 minutes remaining a poor Tomlinson throw led to an even poorer clearance which led to a City corner. This was scrambled clear but the Imps pressed again shortly afterwards with a great Tomlinson cross flying through a packed area.
Delano Sam-Yorke replaced Jon Nolan in the 80th minute whilst five minutes later, after McLaughlin escaped punishment following tough challenge on Diagne, a mistimed Tomlinson challenge on Pittman saw City man see yellow.
The resultant free-kick saw Townsend palm away a Nsiala flick before City broke with Tomlinson winning a corner. Newton delivered and there to fire home from close range was HAMZA BENCHERIF after the visitors faied to clear.
Ross Hannah replaces Neilson for Grimsby before the game entered four additional minutes of play. In the dying stages of this, McKeown went up for a Town corner but when the Imps cleared, Sam-Yorke sprinted alongside McKeown but ended up dragging his shot wide from the right flank.
It didn't matter though, as as soon as McKeown took the goal-kick, referee England blew for time.
FT: IMPS 3 GRIMSBY 2