Imps 3 Braintree 0Lee Beevers and Terry Hawkridge replaced Tom Champion and Jack Muldoon as the Imps welcomed Braintree Town to Sincil Bank Stadium, looking to get back to winning ways after three games without success. Beevers' inclusion at right-back saw Bradley Wood move forward into a midfield role alongside former Braintree man Alex Woodyard.
Braintree kicked off with the Imps attacking the Stacey West Stand from the first whistle and the game was less than two minutes old when visiting stopper Will Puddy was called into action, holding a Matt Rhead header following a long throw by Sam Habergham.
A minute later Puddy was picking the ball out of his net; Rhead playing in NATHAN ARNOLD who drilled powerfully underneath the loanee keeper's outstretched right arm.
City pressed for a quick second with Arnold whipping in a cross but Rhead saw his header fly a foot over the bar whilst on the quarter-hour mark a decent passage of play from City ended with Macauley Bonne forcing a corner on the right. This was taken by Habergham with Puddy forced to punch the ball away from underneath his crossbar.
Braintree forced a couple of corners either side of the 20 minute mark but the Imps' defence held firm on both occasions. The visitors were then forced to make a change with Jon Ashton limping off and being replaced at centre-half by Jack Cowgill.
After a City corner was cleared a ball over the top to Bonne saw the back-tracking Jake Goodman pull up holding his hamstring. Although the Town defender stayed on the pitch he looked to be in some discomfort as play resumed.
Goodman eventually hobbled to the touchline in the 37th minute with Barney Williams coming on as his replacement. This switch saw Jerome Okimo move into a central defensive role alongside Cowgill with Williams coming on at right-back.
The half petered out to a conclusion following three additional minutes of play, although there was a slight scare at the death as an Ollie Muldoon snap-shot fizzed just wide of Farman's left-hand upright.
HT: IMPS 1 BRAINTREE 0
City restarted proceedings with no further substitutions made and quickly won a corner following a slip by Craig Braham-Barrett. This was taken quickly and ended up seeing Habergham win a free-kick on the right.
Habergham took the free-kick himself with Luke Waterfall seeing his header get carried out for a corner by Puddy. The flag-kick was floated in by Hawkridge and there to double the lead was LUKE WATERFALL who saw his header go in via the inside of the post.
The Imps looked for a third with a shot on the turn by Arnold going over the bar whilst at the other end Sean Raggett was harshly adjudged to have felled Michael Cheek; Farman duly holding Harry Lee's free-kick.
Good work from Arnold saw him win City's fifth corner of the game and number six followed after Rhead's header was cleared off the line. Puddy then claimed from Waterfall before Jack Muldoon replaced Matt Rhead in the 69th minute.
Harry Anderson came on for Terry Hawkridge a couple of minutes later whilst Braintree's third and final switch saw Lee Barnard replace Ollie Muldoon.
With rain is starting to fall, Beevers was adjudged to have tripped Akinola 25 yards from goal but the Town striker saw his free-kick clip the City wall and the resultant corner came to nothing.
As the clock ticked into its final 10 minutes Bonne curled over after good work by Anderson down the left and after a quiet spell, Anderson was hacked down by Williams who picked up an 89th minute booking.
Arnold took the resultant free-kick and found JACK MULDOON who duly blasted an unstoppable drive into the top corner of the Braintree net for a superb first goal of the campaign.
In the last of three added minutes Cheek saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line by Raggett before referee Steve Rushton brough proceedings to a close.
FT: IMPS 3 BRAINTREE 0
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
5 Luke WATERFALL
9 Matt RHEAD
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
18 Lee BEEVERS
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
29 Macauley BONNE
30 Alex WOODYARD
7 Jack MULDOON (for RHEAD 69)
8 Alan POWER
12 Harry ANDERSON (for HAWKRIDGE 71)
26 Tom CHAMPION
27 Jamie McCOMBE
GOALS: ARNOLD (3), WATERFALL (52), MULDOON (90)
1 Will PUDDY
3 Jerome OKIMO
4 Harry LEE
6 Jon ASHTON
7 Jack MIDSON
8 Chez ISAAC
10 Simeon AKINOLA
11 Craig BRAHAM-BARRETT
14 Ollie MULDOON
18 Jake GOODMAN
23 Michael CHEEK
2 Barney WILLIAMS (for GOODMAN 37)
9 Lee BARNARD (for MULDOON 72)
16 Brandon GOODSHIP
19 Jack COWGILL (for ASHTON 24)
20 Sam CORNE
BOOKING: WILLIAMS (89)
REFEREE: Steve Rushton
ASSISTANTS: Mark Cunliffe & Richard Woodward
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Andrew Dallison
ATTENDANCE: 3,554 (66 visiting supporters)