Paul Holland took the positives from an improved Ilkeston display on Saturday despite a 2-1 defeat at home to Marine.
Warren Bellew’s wonder-strike midway through the second-half proved the difference between the sides, an energetic Ilkeston performance arguably deserving of at least a point.
But it’s now 12 games in all competitions without a win for the Robins as they head into Christmas with very little cheer.
Holland said: “We were unlucky today and even Marine’s manager felt his team didn’t deserve anything out of the game.
“We lost the game but standards were set again and it’s up to the players to match them. It’s hard to take but games come thick and fast and we have to move on.
“The players shouldn’t have any fear, especially away from home. We are in a dogfight, the situation at the club having put us in that fight, but the players are working really hard and giving everything. The experience they’re gaining is crucial.”
Holland explained the reasons behind Ilkeston only having one substitute named against Marine were down to league rules, adding: “A situation that has now been resolved wasn’t done so in time for us to be able to register extra players today, which given we had several unavailable for various reasons obviously left us short and ultimately very tired towards the end.
“It’s frustrating of course but hopefully we’ll have more available for the game at Mickleover Sports on Boxing Day.”