Michael Appleton praised his youthful Lincoln side for establishing a firm grip of their Carabao Cup tie at Crewe as the Imps moved into the second round.
Appleton handed debuts to 17-year-old defender Sean Roughan and on-loan keeper Alex Palmer and his side took time to gel as Crewe should have made the most of a clutch of decent first-half chances.
But Lincoln seized the momentum after the break and some clinical finishes from Tom Hopper and Lewis Montsma clinched the tie 2-1.
Appleton said: "There was a little bit of nervousness in the first 10 to 15 minutes with the lads making their debuts, Alex (Palmer) and Sean (Roughan), but we got better and created some decent opportunities. Then I thought we dominated the game in the right areas of the pitch.
"We got stronger and stronger which just shows how fit the boys are at this moment in time which is a good sign. Some of the play in the wide areas, around the edge of the box was excellent."
Oli Finney was wasteful for Crewe twice in the first half, turning Owen Dale's cross down the wrong side of the post and pulling a shot tamely across goal.
Mikael Mandron was offered the chance to get his Crewe career up and running midway through the first half, but the debutant headed Dale's inviting cross wide of goal from close in.
Olly Lancashire also flicked the bar for the hosts with a set-piece header soon after the restart, but it was Lincoln who edged ahead (51) when Hopper finished at the far post after Anthony Scully crossed.
Billy Sass-Davies' downward header from a Charlie Kirk delivery – the young centre-half's first senior goal – drew the Railwaymen level (55).
But Lincoln restored their lead (66) when defender Montsma drove a powerful first-time effort from inside the box after former Crewe midfielder James Jones flicked on Jorge Grant's corner.
Appleton added: "We kept getting in time and time again around the edge of the box. Crewe pressed quite high and we knew that if we got the second pass right we would have opportunities and that was what happened.
"For us to concede with a free header in the six-yard box was very disappointing but the way we reacted from that, the we regrouped very quickly was good."
Crewe boss Dave Artell admitted his side's defensive work needs improvement.
"Lincoln controlled the game for large parts of the second half, but there wasn't much in it before that," said Artell.
"We didn't get it quite right for the first goal and our defensive shape should have been better for long periods. But we've got some new players and players that are still getting there.
"The second one was a set-piece and the first one our shape wasn't right for and it was far, far too easy. But it's not something I'm massively worried about, we've still got some work to do and we'll get it done.
"I thought we looked alright and we know we've got more to come."