Steve Chettle hailed Ilkeston Town’s first 1-0 win of the season on Tuesday night as ‘beautiful’ as the Robins continued their pursuit of the top two in MFL Division One.
Tim Hopkinson’s winner in the second-half secured the points against Leicester Road, another of the sides in the chasing pack behind league leaders Walsall Wood.
And Chettle said it was one of the most satisfying results of the season.
“We’ve had some big wins this season in terms of scorelines but this was beautiful,” he said.
“It was a really good performance throughout the team, right from Jamie Hannis in goal who had come in for Ian Deakin who was carrying a knock, to Tim Hopkinson up front who got a real striker’s goal.
“We were disciplined, our shape was good, and even though Leicester Road matched us for the second time this season when it came to shape we performed so well throughout the team.
“They are a club like us in that they’re trying to develop players, but we’re in our infancy so to be beating teams like that, especially as we were level on points with them beforehand, is really satisfying.”
The result means Ilkeston are only three points behind Walsall Wood but the leaders have three games in hand and are firm favourites to take the title.
The Robins travel to Hinckley AFC on Saturday, who play at the home of Heather St John’s, to face a team also battling for the top places and currently sitting fifth.
Chettle said: “Walsall Wood hold all the cards and our main target at the moment is Atherstone in second as we are only a point behind them and have played the same number of games.
“We’re gaining some great momentum again as that’s three wins and a draw in our last four games. That will put us in great stead for the trip to Hinckley which is another massive game for us.”
Chettle added that with top scorer Alex Marshall suspended for one more match, the form of Hopkinson, coupled with goals for Montel Gibson too, has left him with a selection poser for when Marshall returns.
He said: “Alex will be back in the fold but Hoppo and Montel have done really well and offer us something different.
“We play better football when Alex isn’t in the team as there’s less of a temptation to knock a direct ball into him. Instead we work it into the smaller players better.
“But it’s a nice problem to have and we’ll see how things go after the Hinckley game.”
Tuesday’s win followed the 3-1 victory over Heather St John’s on Saturday.
Chettle said: “It was comfortable without being great. I was disappointed with the goal we conceded but in the end I’d have taken a 3-1 win beforehand so it’s job accomplished.”
Another attempt to play the Derbyshire Senior Cup semi-final at Alfreton Town will be made on Tuesday night following its postponement last week.