IT'S all set up for a cracker at the McAlpine!
Gutsy Town have given themselves a great chance of going to Cardiff after their first ever win in a play-off semi-final leg.
In six previous efforts, Town's only success came in a penalty shoot-out - but this victory was laced with the sort of endeavour and character needed to go up.
It wasn't pretty and it wasn't easy, but Town's win was definitely deserved and they got magnificent backing from 2,262 travelling fans at Sincil Bank.
They'd been in buoyant mood from the fourth minute when Iffy Onuora - starting for only the fifth time alongside Andy Booth - scored his first Town goal since December 27, 1993 in a 4-1 win at Hartlepool.
His glancing header from a Rob Edwards corner was wiped out six minutes into the second half by Gary Fletcher, who was otherwise superbly marshalled by Andy Holdsworth.
It triggered the expected spell of pressure from Lincoln's long-ball merchants, but Town dug deep and not only held out, they re-took the lead.
The winner came in strange fashion from David Mirfin 19 minutes from time - the scorer admitting he hadn't a clue he'd put the ball in the net!
It was, in fact, a smart bit of opportunism because Mirfin was on hand to slide in at a tight angle after keeper Alan Marriott had done superbly to parry Booth's goalbound header from another corner.
Lincoln - who had been pressing forward for a good 20 minutes - were visibly shaken.
The taunts of "you only win when you're cheating" from the Lincoln fans (a direct reference to Pawel Abbott's `offside' McAlpine winner in the League) died down to be replaced by a deafening chorus of `going up, going up, going up' from the Blue Army.
It was rousing stuff and Lincoln, who had won only one of their last five home games, knew another loss was coming their way.
Town did superbly to bounce back so well from the horrors of Cheltenham and, right from the off, it was clear they were not feeling sorry for themselves.
Determination was etched into every challenge and Jackson's line-up, featuring four changes, was a major plus.
Efe Sodje's power and aggression was a boon at the back, where Town had to be on their toes against the tricky Simon Yeo and pacy Marcus Richardson.
Danny Schofield showed tremendous control and workrate in a midfield anchored excellently by Rob Edwards, making his first start since Cambridge away on January 10 and illustrating that he might have brought more balance as the regular season came to its climax.
Then there was Onuora, starting his first Town match since the 3-0 League defeat at Stockport in February 1994, rampaging like a youngster when the ball was floated anywhere near.
There's more economy of effort in his middle 30s than there was in his first spell with the club, but Jackson asked him to batter a few defenders and use his strength to positive effect and the big man duly delivered.
It helped that Booth was in quite tremendous form.
He won virtually every header against 6ft 5in Ben Futcher - no mean achievement - and eliminated the danger of the Lincoln captain at set pieces with some towering work in defence.
Booth was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet, too, but his all-round contribution was terrific and it took Lincoln 32 minutes to bring Paul Rachubka into meaningful action at the other end with a near-post save from Fletcher.
Town switched off only once, in first-half stoppage time, when Yeo latched onto Fletcher's quick throw to hit a first-time shot, but Rachubka - who had earlier swooped at the feet of Richardson - was ideally placed to save.
Only moments earlier, Town thought they'd gone two ahead when a blocked shot from Steve Yates led to a finish by Onuora, but the offside flag was up and it spurred Lincoln to start the second half in a higher gear.
Fletcher's scrappy goal got the crowd rocking and, after Yeo had gone close with a rasping drive, Richardson missed an open goal from a tee-up by his colleague.
Kevin Ellison tested Rachubka with a free-kick and Futcher should have scored with a header, but Town steadied themselves by sending on Pawel Abbott to a rapturous receptions from the travelling chorus.
Town held out with reasonable comfort towards the end, but they know they'll face another huge battle to see things through in Wednesday's second leg.
Next page: How they rated >>>
HOW THEY RATED:
Paul Rachubka His eighth-minute block on Richardson was his first touch of the ball. Made three fine saves to deny dangerous Yeo Rating: 8/10
Andy Holdsworth Did an excellent man marking job on Fletcher and was the pick of Town's defence with another super display Rating: 8/10
Anthony Lloyd Found himself the spare man on many occasions but still did some valuable clearing work at the back Rating: 8/10
David Mirfin Didn't realise he had scored until he was jumped on by Sodje and Onuora! Another strong show at the back Rating: 8/10
Efe Sodje His physical presence was a boon and he hardly gave Richardson a chance. When in doubt, he just cleared Rating: 8/10
Steve Yates Finished with three stitches in an eye wound. Solid and very dependable yet again amid fierce opposition Rating: 8/10
Danny Schofield Showed the skilful close control and attacking flair which Town have missed during his ban. Valuable contribution Rating: 8/10
Jon Worthington Worked tremendously hard and had the chance to push forward more with Edwards playing the anchor midfield role Rating: 8/10
Rob Edwards Returned with excellent effect. Gritty show and produced some fine set-piece deliveries to give Lincoln the jitters Rating: 8/10
Andy Booth The man is a legend. Towering performance in which he won just about everything in the air. Magnificent Rating: 9/10
Iffy Onuora Scored on four minutes in an excellent start to his first full Town game since Stockport away in February 1993 Rating: 8/10
Next page: Man of the Match and stats >>>
Man of the Match: Andy Booth
One of the heroes of Town's victorious 1995 play-off campaign, Booth rolled back the years with a fantastic display. His marking of Ben Futcher at set pieces was immaculate and, up front, his aerial contribution was immense. Deserved a goal to cap it all off.
Lincoln were pressing strongly to take the lead themselves when David Mirfin popped up after 71 minutes to slide in his third goal of the season - and easily the most important of his fledgling career - after Booth's header had been palmed down by keeper Alan Marriott. Mirfin was superb at the back, too.
Subs used: Lincoln City: Liburd for Gain 78 mins, McCombe for Weaver 81, Green for Richardson 86. Town: Abbott for Onuora 75, Scott for Yates 90.
Subs not used: Lincoln City: Sedgemore, Wilford. Town: Senior, Fowler, Brown.
Scorers: Lincoln City: Fletcher 51 mins. Town: Onuora 4, Mirfin 71.
Referee: Graham Laws (Whitley Bay).
Bookings: Lincoln City: Gain. Town: Worthington.
Shots on target: Lincoln City 7, Town 4.
Corners: Lincoln City 6, Town 4.
Caught offside: Lincoln City 5, Town 3.
Free-kicks awarded: Lincoln City 12, Town 17.
Attendance: 9,202 (Away: 2,262).