Ilkeston produced a resolute display to see off league leaders Buxton at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.
It was the Robins’ first league win of the season at their fifth attempt and was down to a fine opening 20 minutes and then a strong defensive display thereafter, although they could arguably have added to their only goal.
Buxton were poor and certainly didn’t look the same side that had propelled them to the summit, but Ilkeston’s organisation and desire at the back did the visitors no favours when it came to trying to break Paul Holland’s men down.
For Ilkeston, a benchmark has now been set in terms of the kind of performance and result they’re capable of achieving and a morale-boosting three points will do them the power of good with plenty of games on the horizon.
The hosts started well as Mark Shelton’s early drive from distance forced Jan Budtz into action, the Dane gathering comfortably low down.
Shelton then should have put Ilkeston in front on eight minutes when Ben Morris’s fine through ball put the attacking midfielder through on goal but after going round Budtz he could only find the side netting with the angles closing all the time.
Ilkeston had started well and got the lead they deserved after 15 minutes. It owed much to an excellent chest trap and overhead pass from Morris which released Shelton down the right, and he had time to get to the byline and find Anthony Dwyer in the six yard box who flicked the ball home.
Alastair Taylor shot straight at Ross Durrant from a Jamie Green cross soon afterwards as the Bucks tried to get a foothold on the game, Bradley Grayson then heading over following a corner.
A lull in chances was ended on 35 when Grayson saw a shot blocked well by Jak Kenworthy after some sloppy defending from the hosts, Fabrice Bembo-Leta going even closer with a header from Grayson’s cross five minutes before the break after a free-kick wasn’t cleared.
Half-time arrived with the Robins deservedly in front but still with work to do.
Dwyer had the first opening of the second-half as he created space for himself 20 yards out but his shot was pushed wide by Budtz.
Taylor hit the side netting with a chance for the Bucks not long after they’d introduced Jamie Jackson from the bench, his attacking prowess certainly a requirement if the visitors were to get back into the game.
Shelton’s burst forward ended with a shot parried by Budtz and when the ball fell to Dwyer via defender, he wasn’t alert enough and could only scuff his effort wide when more composure might have seen him make it 2-0.
Rory Coleman’s shot was then deflected over as the Robins began to look good for a second goal, but in the end one was enough despite plenty of Buxton possession late on, their afternoon ultimately failing to produce even a shot on target.
Ilkeston: 1 Ross Durrant, 2 Jak Kenworthy, 3 Rhys Dolan, 4 Haydn Goddard, 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Luke Foster, 7 Ben Morris, 8 Mark Shelton, 9 Anthony Dwyer, 10 Anton Brown, 11 Rory Coleman
Subs not used: Connor Walters. Danny Gordon, Reid Owen, David Jones, Dexter Atkinson
Buxton: 1 Jan Budtz, 2 Matty Williams, 3 Jamie Green, 4 Ricky Ravenhill (c), 5 Danny Burns, 6 Joel Bembo-Leta, 7 Alastair Taylor (Evan Garnett 78), 8 Brad Abbott, 9 Bradley Grayson, 10 Kegan Evrington (Jamie Jackson 52), 11 Niall Doran (Nicky Walker 78)
Sub not used: Sam Brooks
Ref: Richard Price
Star Robin: Luke Foster