They were four points short of promotion in 1949–50, before a fifth place finish in 1950–51. Promotion was secured in 1951–52 though, as Lincoln finished three points ahead of Grimsby Town, scoring 121 goals in the process, 39 of which came from £5,000 Newcastle United signing Andy Graver. The "Imps" remained in the second tier for the next nine seasons, with Graver (club record goalscorer) and Tony Emery (club record league appearance holder) being key players. The 1957–58 campaign would be a particularly memorable one, as Lincoln won their last six games of the season to go from 19 points to 31 points, just one ahead of relegated Notts County.
The club's unlikely success in maintaining second tier status came to a close in 1960–61, despite the best efforts of top scorer Roy Chapman, as Lincoln finished in last place, some nine points behind Portsmouth. A second successive relegation came in 1961–62, as Lincoln dropped from the Third Division into the Fourth Division. The fall was completed in 1962–63, as Lincoln finished third-from-bottom in the Football League. Anderson departed in 1965, after 855 games in charge.