Lincoln City bounced back from Tuesday's disappointing home defeat to Fleetwood by making light work of Crewe Alexandra at the LNER Stadium. Morgan Rogers set the Imps on their way after teaming up with fellow loanee Brennan Johnson, before Conor McGrandles bent home a second just after the interval. Johnson got in on the act himself late on to secure a welcome victory for Michael Appleton's side.
Story of the match
It was the visitors who started the brighter as Stephen Walker cut inside from the right and drilled a low shot just wide of Alex Palmer's goal.
Moments later a mix-up in Lincoln's defence resulted in a Crewe corner, which Nathan Wood headed over from Harry Pickering's centre.
At the other end Callum Morton tapped home after Alex goalkeeper Dave Richards parried James Jones' shot, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Lincoln attacked again at pace in the 12th minute through Brennan Johnson, who after 30-yard run saw his effort curl inches wide.
The Imps did go in front in the 21st minute though after Johnson teed up Morgan Rogers to stroke the ball home from just outside the area (above).
Johnson, meanwhile, had a chance to double the lead from a similar position in the 31st minute, but saw his shot deflect into Richards' grateful arms.
A great move down Lincoln's left on the stroke of half time resulted in Cohen Bramall crossing low for Johnson, but the pace of the ball proved just too much for the forward.
After the break Regan Poole and James Jones combined well for Lincoln with the latter laying the ball to Conor McGrandles, who curled an excellent effort beyond Richards to double the hosts' lead on 52 minutes.
Full back Poole was in the thick of it again three minutes later this time crossing for Morton, only for Richards to pull off an outstanding save from point-blank range to deny Lincoln a third.
In response, Crewe boss David Artell made a double change just before the hour introducing Daniel Powell and Michael Mandron.
The move almost paid dividends as moments later Charlie Kirk struck the inside of the post following Pickering's free kick, before sub Powell saw his follow up expertly kept out by Palmer from the rebound.
Another Crewe double change with 18 minutes to go saw the introduction of Antony Evans and Owen Dale. It was Evans who would have his side's next chance, but he blazed a free kick over the bar from a dangerous position four minutes later.
Lincoln added a third in the 79th minute as substitute Tom Hopper broke down the left and switched play to Johnson who was in acres of space. Johnson then cut in from the right and fired past Richards emphatically into the roof of the net to secure the points.
Takeaways from the match
On this showing Lincoln look firmly back on track in the race for promotion following a disappointing period that saw the Imps pick up just one win in six games.
With key players including captain Liam Bridcutt and leading goalscorer Jorge Grant to come back from injury in the coming weeks , Michael Appleton's men are firmly in the hunt for a place in the second tier for the first time in 60 years.
The Railwaymen, who have play-off aspirations of their own, meanwhile, now sit seven points below six placed Portsmouth having played a game more. David Artell's side are still in a decent position, however, considering they're a newly promoted team.
Regan Poole had an excellent game for Lincoln. The full back, who signed from MK Dons in January, not only defended with authority, but was also an attacking threat in everything that Lincoln did well down the right flank.
Fellow defenders Lewis Montsma and Adam Jackson also impressed for City, dealing comfortably with everything Alexandra threw at them on the floor and in the air.