Shaun Goater took heart from a spirited Ilkeston fightback on Saturday as the Robins fell to defeat at home to Nantwich Town.
Goater saw his side battle back to lose narrowly in a game where they looked dead and buried at half-time, goals from Anthony Dwyer and Ben Morris followed by Tom Gamblen’s shot striking a post in an exciting finale.
Ultimately, however, it was not enough as Nantwich took the points and the Robins’ seemingly certain relegation edged closer.
Goater said: “I’d be amazed if Nantwich don’t get promoted as they were one of the best teams I’ve seen at this level this season.
“They passed and moved the ball so well even on a tough pitch. We’d set up at the start to try and stifle them and to win more second balls but it didn’t work and they bossed things in the first-half.
“We did well in the second, particularly after they took off some of their key players. Our energy was better and the goals gave us real heart.
“Of course it’s another defeat which doesn’t help our cause, but the players deserve huge credit not only for playing but also training in the current circumstances because they still haven’t been paid and some are finding it hard to get in.”
Ilkeston are next in action on Monday night when they travel to face another promotion-hunting side, Stourbridge, with a 7.45pm start.