Matt Sparrow came in to midfield and Liam Hearn dropped to the bench as the Imps' 2015/16 FA Cup campaign continued at Whitehawk in this First Round tie.
A grey Sunday afternoon greeted the two teams as they were led out of the tunnel by referee Constantine Hatzidakis and following a minute's silence to mark Remembrance Day, play got underway with the Hawks kicking off.
The first corner went City's way in the second minute thanks to good pressure from skipper Alan Power but after ex-Imp Arnaud Mendy cleared he clattered into Bradley Wood who was penalised for a foul. Wood was left grounded and holding his head before he was helped off for further attention by physio Kev Oxby.
The home side were quick to respond and in the sixth minute their first foray forward led to the opening goal; tall striker Danny Mills meeting a deep Sam Deering cross at the back post and with the flag staying down, he duly headed past Paul Farman to send the noisy home fans into raptures.
With the Imps struggling to get into the game, another swift Whitehawk attack down the slope was fortunately halted when former City midfielder Sergio Torres handled the ball whilst on the quarter hour mark Mills was inches away from making it 2-0 when he headed a cross on to the bar. When the ball was cleared Matt Rhead was clattered by Dean Leacock who picked up a deserved yellow card.
A corner to Whitehawk, who remained on the offensive, followed in the 18th minute but Alan Power cleared and as the Imps responded, a high boot on Muldoon by Leacock saw Wood float in a free-kick but Rhead headed over.
Rhead and Terry Hawkridge then combined to win a corner which ended with Wood seeing his downward header hacked off the line. Home left-back Bryan Van Den Bogaert was the forced off for treatment after taking a knock whilst defending the corner and he was replaced by Chris Sessegnon.
Paul Farman held a low Jake Robinson drive before Rhead was denied by a fine Craig Ross save at the other end after he let fly from 25 yards. But seconds later a quick Whitehawk break down the slope ended with Jake Robinson cutting in from the left and firing low past Farman to double his side's advantage.
Shortly after the half-hour mark a Muldoon cross was headed out for a corner which was easily dealt with whilst in the 36th minute a trip on David Martin earned Lee Beevers a yellow card.
Two minutes later a long Chris Bush throw lead to another City corner and after this was cleared Rhead saw his header from a Hawkridge free-kick held well by Ross. A late challenge on Power then saw Juan Cruz Gotta pick up a 42nd minute caution.
Just after a minimum of three minutes added time was indicated, a deflected Muldoon effort lead to City's sixth corner of game but like the previous five this led to nothing in terms of a threat to the Whitehawk goal.
With the clock well over the additional time, a City free-kick into the box was halted when Rhead was dragged to the floor by Mills. It was an easy decision for referee Hatzidakis to give with MATT RHEAD finishing neatly to reduce the arrears from the spot.
The half-time whistle came as soon as the game restarted with Mills picking up a yellow card as the hosts surrounded the officials.
HT: WHITEHAWK 2 IMPS 1
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half with the first action following the retart seeing Muldoon tripped by Sesegnon but the free-kick ended with an offside flag against Callum Howe.
Five minutes into the half Farman was forced to palm away a Martin cross-cum-shot before he tipped over a Deering drive at full stretch. At the other end Luke Waterfall met a Hawkridge corner only to see his downward header bounce just wide.
A spell of City pressure ended with Wood firing over and this was his last taste of the action as he was replaced by Liam Hearn in the 58th minute.
Before Hearn got his boots muddy, City were hit with a sucker punch as Sam Deering gained possession, advanced and drilled past Farman to make it 3-1 to the home side.
Shortly after Martin saw his chip over Farman hit the bar before Bush cleared, Greg Tempest replaced Terry Hawkridge on the left and seconds later Muldoon wasted a chance with his cross to Hearn going straight at Ross.
City attacked again shortly afterwards and when the home defence failed to deal with a long Bush throw there to make them pay was MATT RHEAD who fired through a crowd of players for his second of the game.
Ex-Imp Torres left the pitch holding his hamstring in the 65th minute and was replaced by David Ijaha. Shortly afterwards Hearn had a shot deflect behind for a corner and when this caused more panic in the home defence the ball fell kindly for keeper Ross who gathered on his line.
With 15 minutes on the clock a mistimed challenge on Mills earned Waterfall a yellow card and three minutes later Elliot Hodge replaced Jack Muldoon on the City right.
Waterfall was left treading a tightrope following a mistimed challenge on Martin and after the resultant free-kick led to a Whitehawk corner, Leacock headed well wide. A caution for Hodge followed after a tug on Martin's shirt.
In the 86th minute Scott Neilson replaced Danny Mills for Whitehawk and he had an instant impact, breaking down the right before his cross was prodded in by Martin to make it 4-2.
There was a delay to the restart after the home fans throw two smoke bombs on to the pitch and when play did continue Power released Hearn but with only Ross to beat the substitute lobbed over the bar.
Ross was booked for timewasting before six additional minutes was indicated and in the first of these, Tempest had a shot palmed away by Ross, the ball looped to MATT RHEAD who headed home to complete his hat-trick.
The drama continued in added time with Power picking up a booking for a foul and after a City free-kick was cleared a swift Whitehawk counter-attack ended with Power tugging Deering back in the box. Referee Hatzidakis took his time before awarding a penalty and after he did he showed Power a straight red card.
Deering sent Farman the wrong way from the spot to end the Imps' Cup hopes for another season.
FT: WHITEHAWK 5 IMPS 3
3 Greg TEMPEST (for HAWKRIDGE 61)
4 Craig STANLEY
10 Liam HEARN (for WOOD 58)
15 Kegan EVERINGTON
17 Elliot HODGE (for MULDOON 78)
13 Aidan GRANT
GOALS: RHEAD (45+5 pen, 63, 90+1)
BOOKINGS: BEEVERS (36), WATERFALL (75), HODGE (83), POWER (90+2)
SENDING OFF: POWER (90+5)
12 Danny STEVENS
14 David IJAHA (for TORRES 65)
15 Stephane NGAMVOULOU
16 Jordan ROSE
17 Scott NEILSON (for MILLS 86)
18 Jordan HAWKINS
19 Chris SESSEGNON (for VAN DEN BOGAERT 24)
GOALS: MILLS (6), ROBINSON (27), DEERING (58, 90+5 pen), MARTIN (86)
BOOKINGS: LEACOCK (15), GOTTA (42), MILLS (45+5), ROSS (90)