Another Rhead double secures three more points...City boss Danny Cowley named an unchanged starting line-up for this televised Vanarama National League game at Torquay United. There was one change, however, on the bench where new loanee Macauley Bonne replaced the departed Jonny Margetts.
An afternoon of heavy rain prior to this 5.30pm kick-off made for a greasy surface as referee Craig Hicks led the two teams out of the tunnel. Once the pre-match formalities were complete, play got under way with City kicking off.
The Imps started brightly with Nathan Arnold firing wide in the opening minute and when the City winger threaded a superb throughball to the overlapping Sam Habergham a minute later, the Imps' number three was crudely upended by Gaincarlo Gallifuoco. Referee Craig Hicks was well up with play and duly pointed to the spot. Up stepped MATT RHEAD to fire home from the spot with aplomb.
Torquay's first attack came in the seventh minute with ex-Imp Nathan Blissett dragging a shot a foot wide with only Paul Farman to beat whilst at the other end appeals for another penalty after Rhead went to ground in the box were waved way by the officials.
The first corner of the game went City's way in the 12th minute but when this was claimed by home 'keeper Brendan Moore, he set his side on the counter-attack with Luke Young breaking and seeing his effort diverted out for what turned out to be an unproductive corner by Lee Beevers.
In the 18th minute Arnold forced a corner on the left and when this was taken quickly, Habergham's cross just evaded Luke Waterfall at the back post. A couple of minutes later Rhead was inches away from connecting with a Habergham cross.
Play switched to the other end and when a Torquay corner was played into the mix, Gallifuoco met it with his head to level matters. Before play restarted Rhead needed treatment to a bloodied head after he took a knock to when trying to defend the corner.
Rhead was off the pitch for over five minutes and returned to the action complete with a bandaged head and on the half-hour mark Harry Anderson met a Habergham cross but the ball deflected against Rhead who was flagged offside.
With rain starting to sheet down a timely block from Waterfall saw him divert a Young shot out for a corner. This was played in deep but got caught in the wind which was blowing strong towards the City goal.
At the other end Adam Marriott had a shot easily held by Moore and when he set his side on the attack it took a great saving challenge from Alex Woodyard to repel the Torquay threat.
As three additional minutes approached Arnold and Habergham combined on the left before Marriott prodded a cross from the latter just wide. The half ended with Moore claiming a Rhead chip under his bar.
HT: TORQUAY 1 IMPS 1
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half with City forcing two corners early on and the bright start continued with another flag-kick ending with Raggett heading a Beevers centre over the bar.
Torquay's response saw Bradley Wood deflect a Joe Ward shot out for a corner which resulted in a City goal-kick and after another City corner was cleared a Torquay attack ended with Reid firing wide from 25 yards.
Terry Hawkridge replaced Harry Anderson in the 57th minute and a couple of minutes later a questionable decision against Woodyard 25 yards from the City goal ended with Sparkes firing a free-kick against Wood on the end of the City wall and out for a corner.
When this corner came in Farman produced a superb save but referee Hicks spotted a push and awarded City a free-kick. Habergham needed treatment as a result before he was able to return to the action.
Ward fired over for Torquay before Rhead forced a corner on the City right and when Wood burst through the middle in the 70th minute he was upended by Young who earned himself a caution for questioning the referee's decision.
Macauley Bonne replaced Adam Marriott for a 76th minute switch and he was quickly in the action, being involved in an attacking move which ended up seeing Wood pick up a booking after he slid in on Richards after the ball ran free in the Torquay box.
With 10 minutes on the clock Gallifuoco was booked for a tug on Bonne and a spell of constant City pressure saw them win a couple of corners before a superb Habergham free-kick was cleared for another flag-kick.
In the 87th minute Bonne saw his flick header from a Habergham cross cleared off the line before Dan Sparkes was replaced by Sam Chaney for the hosts.
A rare Torquay attack sees them force a corner but City cleared the danger but it wasn't long before the action switched to the other end and in the third of four indicated additional minutes, Hawkridge whipped in a cross and there was MATT RHEAD to head home his second of the game.
The clock ticked on as Torquay won another corner but Rhead was back to clear and there was still time for Brett Williams and Chay Scrivens to replaced Nathan Blissett and Joe Ward for the hosts whilst Alan Power came on for Nathan Arnold for City.
Play eventually came to a close after another two minutes of play with the 173 travelling Imps fans rising as one to salute a fourth successive victory.
FT: TORQUAY 1 IMPS 2
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
5 Luke WATERFALL
9 Matt RHEAD
10 Adam MARRIOTT
12 Harry ANDERSON
18 Lee BEEVERS
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
8 Alan POWER (for ARNOLD 90+7)
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE (for ANDERSON 57)
27 Jamie McCOMBE
29 Macauley BONNE (for MARRIOTT 76)
23 Jimmy WALKER
GOAL: RHEAD (3 pen, 90+3)
BOOKING: WOOD (77)
1 Brendan MOORE
3 Lathaniel ROWE-TURNER
5 Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO
8 Luke YOUNG
9 Nathan BLISSETT
10 Courtney RICHARDS
11 Dan SPARKES
12 Aman VERMA
15 Sean McGINTY
18 Jamie REID
19 Joe WARD
6 Ben GERRING
7 Sam CHANEY (for SPARKES 87)
14 Brett WILLIAMS (for BLISSETT 90+6)
17 Chay SCRIVENS (for WARD 90+6)
29 Jamie CHAMBERLAIN
GOAL: GALLIFUOCO (21)
BOOKINGS: YOUNG (70), GALLIFUOCO (80)
REFEREE: Craig Hicks
ASSISTANTS: Samuel Ogles & Alex Blake
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Samuel Allison
ATTENDANCE: 2,061 (173 City supporters)