Argyle striker Reuben Reid scored a hat-trick and set up another as the Pilgrims eased into a 4-0 lead inside the first 35 minutes.
The on-loan Yeovil forward pounced on a poor clearance to coolly slot the ball past City goalkeeper Paul Farman in the fourth minute. Reid then hooked the ball over Farman to make it 2-0 a minute later.
Reid then converted a 23rd-minute penalty after City right-back Tom Miller fouled Tope Obadeyi.
Reid completed his hat-trick in the 35th minute when he latched on to Andres Gurrieri's through ball and again calmly sent a measured strike past the beleaguered Farman.
Lewis Alessandra's 64th minute goal-bound effort ricocheted off Imps defender Andrew Boyce to make it 5-0.
The visitors' best chance fell to Miller in the fifth minute when he forced a top-class save from Argyle keeper Jake Cole.
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- Reuben Reid