Ilkeston Town maintained the pressure on the league leaders in MFL Division One with a comfortable 3-1 home win over Heather St Johns on Saturday.
All the goals came in the second-half after a more subdued and frustrating first for the hosts, who rarely relinquished control of the game but at times lacked the killer touch in the final third.
The visitors looked neat and tidy on occasion but ultimately didn’t have enough to cope with Ilkeston’s attacking threat, this though being another three points that had to be ground out by the Robins rather than handed to them by poor quality opposition like many others this season.
Ben Minshull fired an early long range effort wide for the visitors, while Montel Gibson had Ilkeston’s first effort on target seven minutes in but keeper Tom McNulty parried it away.
Gibson forced McNulty into another block on 17 after struggling to get a good contact on the ball, before the Robins striker then fed Ben Fairclough in on the goalkeeper but again McNulty blocked well.
Heather had offered little at that point but Michael Bloore then saw an effort tipped around the post by Ian Deakin with their first serious chance on goal, Andre Gonzales then curling a shot towards goal right on half-time that Deakin gathered to ensure the sides went in goalless at the break.
Just two minutes into the second-half, the Robins got their goal and it was stunner. Gibson received the ball 25 yards out before letting fly with a dipping strike which went over McNulty and into the net.
The second goal followed five minutes later although it was a little more bizarre than the first.
Jamie Walker’s volley ballooned up in the air and looked to be going out but the ball dropped to Tim Hopkinson a yard out who was able to nod it into the net.
But just two minutes later Heather got back in the game as Bloore was released down the left edge of the penalty area and fired low past Deakin to reduce the arrears.
The third Ilkeston goal followed on 70 minute as good work from Fairclough down the right saw him eventually fire a ball into the six yard box where it rebounded back to Walker who fired in off the post.
Heather had offered little other than their goal in the second-half, sub Josh Sherrington shooting straight at Deakin with eight minutes to go, but that would be all they could muster late on as Ilkeston comfortably held out to claim the points.
Ilkeston: 1 Ian Deakin, 2 Ben Fairclough (Lavell White 80), 3 Jamie Walker, 4 Chris Shaw ©, 5 Charlie Jemson, 6 Tom Marshall, 7 Ben Morris, 8 Jordan Wheatley (Martin Lench 84), 9 Tim Hopkinson, 10 Montel Gibson (Micah Edwards 80), 11 Billy Bennett. Subs not used: Jamie Hannis, Elliott Hodgett-Young.
Goals: Gibson 47, Hopkinson 52, Walker 70.
Heather St Johns: 1 Tom McNulty, 2 Fraser Mullis (Matthew Hill 73), 3 Michael Bloore, 4 Jesse Race, 5 Joe McNulty ©, 6 Rudy Misambo, 7 Andre Gonzales, 8 Fraser Doyle (Davey Watts 84), 9 David Yonwin, 10 Ben Minshull, 11 Conal Powell (Josh Sherrington 40). Subs not used: Kyle Bache, Tom Weale.
Goal: Bloore 54.
Referee: Thomas Wainman.
Star Robin: Ben Fairclough.