Match report...City boss Danny Cowley made four changes for this Buildbase FA Trophy First Round tie at Nantwich Town with Jamie McCombe, Alan Power, Jack Muldoon and Adam Marriott all handed starting places. The four replaced, namely Luke Waterfall, Alex Woodyard, Nathan Arnold and Theo Robinson joined 'keeper Richard Walton on the bench.
City kicked off on a chilly Cheshire evening but it was the hosts who started the brighter, forcing a third minute corner which Bradley Wood headed clear at the near post.
It wasn't long, however, before the Imps were on the offensive and when Muldoon created space for himself on the right, he crossed for ELLIOTT WHITEHOUSE to fire clinically past Dave Parton to give City a fifth minute lead.
The Imps were inches away from making it 2-0 three minutes later as Matt Rhead crashed an effort against the crossbar following great link-up play between Muldoon and Marriott.
After this lively start things calmed down a bit as the quarter-hour mark came and went with the next attempts at goal seeing skipper Alan Power drill a left-footed effort over the bar before Terry Hawkride dragged a low right-footed shot ide.
Just past the midway point in the half McCombe met a deep Sam Habergham free-kick only to see his downward header claimed by Parton before another scrappy period of play ensued with the ball spending a lot of the time in the middle third of the pitch.
Nantwich enjoyed a spell of pressure from the 32nd minute with McCombe forced to clear a bouncing ball away from the six-yard line to deny Ryan Brooke before a dangerous cross from the lively Joe Mwasile was cleared out for a corner by Habergham.
City's response saw a deflected Hawkridge free-kick claimed well by Parton in the Nantwich goal before the Imps' number one was blocked by the home stopper with a scramble ending with Whitehouse picking up a knock in the Nantwich box.
This proved to be the last action of the opening period which came to a conclusion following two added minutes.
HT: NANTWICH 0 IMPS 1
Alex Woodyard and Nathan Arnold were half-time changes for Elliott Whitehouse and Matt Rhead and City were quickly out of the traps following the restart forcing two corners in quick succession but neither threatened the home defence.
In the 51st minute a neat free-kick routine almost came off as Howe's header across the face of goal was cleared by the home defence whilst four minutes later good work from Muldoon saw him force a corner on the City left but Arnold's delivery was claimed well by Parton.
As the hour mark approached the back-tracking Power cleared a low Touray cross out for a corner which was cleared by Marriott. Howe headed another Nantwich corner clear before City attacked and duly doubled their advantage.
Marriott was the architect in the 63rd minute as a sublime first touch saw him create space before he picked out TERRY HAWKRIDGE who controlled and drilled past PArton from 10 yards.
Nantwich made their first change four minutes later with the vastly experienced Steve Jones coming on for Oliver Finney whilst another home switch shortly afterwards saw Osebi Abadaki replace Joe Mwasile.
City withstood a brief spell of Nantwich pressure as both Jones and Abadaki got themselves quickly involved whilst in the 77th minute Brooke fired wide following a poor back pass by McCombe
McCombe made amends five minutes later as he blocked a Jones header following a looping Touray cross into the box and shortly afterwards a curling effort from Abadaki forced Farman to pull off an excellent save to tip the ball behind.
Farman needed treatment before the corner was taken having fallen heavily in making the save and when the corner was taken, after Dave Walker replaced Ryan Brooke for the hosts, saw the City stopper pull off an outstanding save to tip a Joel Stair header over
Theo Robinson replaced Jack Muldoon with three minutes of normal time on the clock whilst midway through four added minutes, a ball into the box looped goalwards off Power before the ball dropped over Farman under pressure from Walker and just under the bar into the net to set up a nervy finale.
City managed to keep the ball in their attacking third during the remaining stages however and saw things out to set up a New Year trip to Gateshead in the Second Round.
FT: NANTWICH 1 IMPS 2
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE
6 Callum HOWE
7 Jack MULDOON
8 Alan POWER
9 Matt RHEAD
10 Adam MARRIOTT
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
27 Jamie McCOMBE
5 Luke WATERFALL
28 Nathan ARNOLD (for RHEAD h/t)
30 Alex WOODYARD (for WHITEHOUSE h/t)
31 Theo ROBINSON (for MULDOON 87)
21 Richard WALTON
GOALS: WHITEHOUSE (5), HAWKRIDGE (63)
1 Dave PARTON
2 Andy WHITE
3 Ibou TOURAY
4 Curtis JONES
5 Joel STAIR
6 Sam HALL
7 Joe MWASILE
8 Matt BELL
9 Ryan BROOKE
10 Oliver FINNEY
11 Wayne RILEY
12 Osebi ABADAKI (for MWASILE 69)
14 Dave WALKER (for BROOKE 84)
15 Steve JONES (for FINNEY 67)
16 Tim SANDERS
13 Reece QUINN
GOAL: POWER (90+2 og)
REFEREE: Scott Oldham
ASSISTANTS: Matt Pope & James Madine
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Lee Hible