Following the midweek success over Grimsby Town, the City starting line-up was unchanged for this Vanarama Conference home game against Bristol Rovers. There was a change on the bench, however, with David Preece replacing Paul Farman who joined Boston United on loan on Friday evening.
Bristol Rovers kicked off attacking the Stacey West Stand but it was the Imps who were the first to press with Jordan Burrow flicking a long ball on for Hamza Bencherif who was denied a goal by a deflection. Nothing came from the resultant second minute corner though.
Six minutes later Nat Brown was pulled up for a foul on Matty Taylor giving Rovers the chance from a free-kick on the right but City stood firm and were able to deal with another ball into the area as the visitors pressed forward again.
They kept up the pressure and in the 13th minute were gifted the opening goal when the Imps defence watched rather than cleared a low cross and there to bag an easy finish was Scott Sinclair.
Rovers forced a couple of corners in quick succession shortly after the restart but City managed to clear whilst at the other end two Imps corners failed to come up with an end product.
A Tomlinson cross then struck the arm of a visiting defender but Sean Newton's free-kick was easily claimed by Steve Mildenhall and when the 'keeper set his side going forward, Daniel Leadbitter waltzed through the City defence before finishing neatly past Nick Townsend.
City's response saw Burrow test Mildenhall with a snap-shot after Tomlinson got the better of Leadbitter on the left whilst a minute later City had Arnaud Mendy to thank as he got a block in on Lee Mansell to keep the score at 2-0.
Mansell was then bundled over by Alan Power in a central position 25 yards out but fortunately Lee Brown curled the free-kick inches past the post. City duly capitalised and when Bencherif flicked a ball on in the area, it crashed against a defender's arm with referee Ben Toner quick to award a penalty. As he did on Tuesday against Grimsby, up stepped SEAN NEWTON to reduce the arrears from the spot.
A foul on Leadbitter by Nolan saw Rovers play a neat free-kick which which ended up being deflected out for a corner which Townsend claimed and after he released Nolan, a swift counter-attack ended with Power curling inches over from 25 yards.
Four minutes before the break Townsend was at full stretch to tip behind a Taylor effort before he punched away the corner and it wasn't long before play switched to the other end and, just before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of two minutes were to be added on, a Newton cross wasn't dealt with and there to prod home from close range was JORDAN BURROW for his fifth of the season.
HT: IMPS 2 BRISTOL ROVERS 2
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and the Imps were the first to press with a Jake Caprice cross just evading Tomlinson at the back post.
Five minutes in, good pressure from Bencherif saw him force a corner which was flicked behind by a visiting defender whilst from the second corner, Diagne had a header palmed away by Mildenhall.
A knock to Andy Monkhouse brought about a change with Ellis Harrison coming on as his replacement, this coming seconds after Tomlinson fizzed over after getting in front of his marker.
Bencherif then fired over after connecting with a long Nat Brown ball, Newton volleyed wide after a Tomlinson throw was half-cleared into his path and Bencherif headed a corner over as the Imps pressed for a third.
Dave Martin for Daniel Leadbitter was Rovers' second substitution and he was quickly in the action, looping in a cross which was met by Taylor only for Townsend to claim his header. At the other end Caprice forced City's seventh corner of the game before Martin was booked for a meaty challenge on Power.
In the 71st minute, a third and final Rovers change saw Adam Cunnington replace Matty Taylor and he was quick to get in a shot on goal which was easily held by Mildenhall.
With Delano Sam-Yorke preparing to replace Jon Nolan, a sweeping attack ended with a City corner which resulted in a throw-in on the opposite flank. Rovers' response saw them win a corner of their own but City held firm.
With eight minutes on the clock Burrow was denied by Mildenhall but nothing came from the resultant corner whilst at the other end shortly afterwards Townsend denied Cunnington with his legs after Brown was caught in possession.
The visitors had a chance to edge back in front with four minutes remaining with referee Ben Toner quick to point to the spot after Diagne clattered into Sinclair. Lee Brown took responsibility but smacked his penalty against the post with the ball going out for a throw-in.
Rovers' heads didn't drop though and when Harrison latched on to a ball over top he duly fired powerfully past Townsend to make it 3-2.
In the first of the added minutes, Bencherif connected with a Tomlinson cross but headed over and before referee Toner brought play to a close, there was an almighty goalmouth scramble with Burrow, Diagne, Bencherif and Sam-Yorke all denied by last-ditch blocks.
FT: IMPS 2 BRISTOL ROVERS 3