Imps 2 Maidstone 0Alan Power replaced Elliot Whitehouse and Sean Raggett was in for Callum Howe as the Imps looked to extend their unbeaten league and cup run to 13 matches with a positive result against Maidstone United at Sincil Bank Stadium.
A heavy mist surrounded the ground as referee Wayne Barratt led the two teams out of the tunnel with City once again skippered by Luke Waterfall.
Maidstone kicked off attacking the Stacey west Stand but the action was at the other end in the opening stages with the first half-chance seeing Theo Robinson fire goalwards but visiting stopper Lee Worgan gathered his low effort.
A bright start by the Imps continued with Terry Hawkridge firing over left-footed from the edge of the box before Nathan Arnold intercepted and drilled wide of Worgan's right-hand upright.
After Matt Rhead was left limping following a late challenge, referee Barratt's advantage gave Robinson the chance to advance but his final pass square to Arnold was intercepted at the last moment.
In the 14th minute a clash of heads between two Maidstone players ended up with Paxman needing treatment with the game being stopped with City on the offensive. When play restarted Rhead fired inches wide after good work by Arnold and Hawkridge created the opportunity.
City kept up the pressure with visiting keeper Worgan somehow emerging with the ball in his gloves after Robinson crossed to Rhead in the six-yard box whilst a questionable offside decision robbed Arnold of a run on goal after Rhead released the ball early down the middle
With 23 minutes played, a deflected Arnold effort lead to the first corner of the game but this came to an abrupt halt with referee Barratt spotting a push by a City man as the ball came into the mix.
Maidstone's first foray forward saw them win a corner on their left a couple of minutes later but this was headed wide by Jamie Coyle at the back post. City were then forced to defend a couple more United corners on the half-hour mark.
Six minutes later Paul Farman was forced to hold a low Paxman drive as Maidstone got in their first shot on target whilst as the half wore on a Maidstone corner ended with Coyle heading a foot over.
The opening period ended with two Maidstone players seeing yellow, namely Dan Sweeney and Coyle, both for fouls on Robinson.
HT: IMPS 0 MAIDSTONE 0
Neither side made any changes so it was as you were for the start of the second half.
City started the second period as they did the first in that attack was the name of the game; Arnold forcing an early corner on the right which forced the United defence to hurriedly clear their lines.
The pressure eventually paid off in the 52nd minute when a deep Hawkridge cross was nodded across the box by Rhead and there was THEO ROBINSON to head home the a deserved opener.
Less than two minutes later the Imps were gifted a second; 'keeper Worgan played a clearance straight to Arnold who duly squares for MATT RHEAD to sweep home his tenth of the season with a clinical finish.
Maidstone made a change in the 62nd minute with Bradley Hudson-Odoi coming on for Dan Sweeney and three minutes later a peach of a free-kick from Habergham was flicked off Raggett's header for a City corner by a covering defender.
Waterfall headed Arnold's inswinging delivery just wide before a superb Rhead header from Habergham's cross was tipped behind at full stretch by Worgan. Rhead and Woodyard then combined before the latter's cross to Robinson was cleared for another corner.
In the 72nd minute Jack Muldoon came on for Nathan Arnold before Worgan denied Robinson with his feet after Rhead nodded a Habergham cross into his path. Maidstone then brought on Ben Greenhalgh and Yemi Odubade for Bobby-Joe Taylor and Jamar Loza before a City switch saw Elliott Whitehouse replace Matt Rhead.
After a Muldoon cross lead to another corner in the 79th minute Adam Marriott came on for Theo Robinson up front for the Imps and a couple of minutes later Whitehouse volleyed inches over after Marriott came close to connecting with a Hawkridge cross.
City were happy to keep possession during the closing stages of the game with play coming to a close after three additional minutes. The win, combined with Forest Green's 3-1 defeat at Wrexham sees City close the gap further on the leaders.
FT: IMPS 2 MAIDSTONE 0
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
5 Luke WATERFALL
8 Alan POWER
9 Matt RHEAD
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
31 Theo ROBINSON
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE (for RHEAD 76)
6 Callum HOWE
7 Jack MULDOON (for ARNOLD 72)
10 Adam MARRIOTT (for ROBINSON 79)
12 Harry ANDERSON
GOALS: ROBINSON (52), RHEAD (54)
1 Lee WORGAN
3 Tom MILLS
4 Jamie COYLE
5 Kevin LOKKO
6 James ROGERS
8 Dan SWEENEY
10 Jack PAXMAN
16 Bobby-Joe TAYLOR
22 Seth Nana TWUMASI
24 Liam ENVER-MARUM
25 Jamar LOZA
2 Callum DRIVER
9 Bradley HUDSON-ODOI (for SWEENEY 62)
12 Jack EVANS
17 Ben GREENHALGH (for TAYLOR 75)
23 Yemi ODUBADE (for LOZA 75)
BOOKINGS: SWEENEY (45), COYLE (45+3)
REFEREE: Wayne Barratt
ASSISTANTS: Jonathan Burridge & Martyn Holmes
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Steve Abbott
ATTENDANCE: 3,917 (208 visiting supporters)