The doctor ordered a win and that’s precisely what arrived on Tuesday night as Ilkeston progressed in the Derbyshire Senior Cup.
It wasn’t pretty by any means but a first win in eight attempts gave the Robins something to build on when tougher challenges arrive in the coming weeks.
It was also the first time Ilkeston had won a cup tie this season, with Gresley one of the sides to have dumped Kevin Wilson’s men out of a knockout competition when two Marc Goodfellow goals did the damage in the FA Trophy in October.
Goodfellow has long since gone, as have a few other members of that day’s victorious side, but Gresley still provided a threat throughout this encounter and could feel a little unlucky not to at least have taken the game to penalties.
The first-half produced little in terms of clear cut chances, at least until the winning goal arrived just before half-time.
Jack Langston was way too high from distance on seven minutes for the visitors, before at the other end a combination of Chey Adams and Antwan Russell fed the ball in to James Reid but his shot was deflected over the top by a defender.
The game then went very quiet for a while as both sides squandered possession at regular intervals and were left creating half chances and shots from distance that rarely troubled either goalkeeper.
This included an effort by Reid from out near the touchline as his cross-come-shot nearly deceived Norwegian goalkeeper Mats Morch, on loan from Derby County, but instead nestled on the roof of the net.
After Eric Graves’ low shot had gone wide of the post for Gresley, the only goal of the game arrived on 41 minutes.
After a corner wasn’t cleared, Joe Maguire created an opening for himself before firing in a powerful shot that was parried away by Morch but only as far as Danny Gordon who hammered home the rebound into the top corner of the net.
The second-half saw better quality chances but none were taken as Ilkeston failed to pull away and Gresley kept the pressure on.
Rob Peet did well to tip over a Alex Steadman’s blockbuster from 35 yards out, the resultant corner seeing Liam Guest flick a header over the top.
Peet then blocked efforts from Graves and Rob Spencer, while at the other end Reid saw a shot blocked when in space and Adams blasted over after Kane Richards’ cut back.
The closest Gresley came to a goal came on 64 minutes when sub Paolo Piliero cut in from the right and hit a shot which took a wicked deflection as it then crashed against the crossbar and was cleared.
Kieran O’Connell only found Peet’s hands from close range minutes later and then Steadman broke free but the Robins keeper tipped his shot wide of the far post.
Aside from sub Gary Ricketts forcing Morch to parry a late volley, only half chances would then follow as both sides sought a crucial goal, Ilkeston holding out to seal a place in round four and earn a morale-boosting win.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013:
Ilkeston: 1 Rob Peet 2 Laurie Wilson (c) 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Danny Gordon 5 Joe Maguire 6 Ellis Storey 7 Chey Adams 8 Callum Chettle 9 Antwan Russell (Gary Ricketts 74) 10 Nick Langford (Kane Richards 59) 11 James Reid. Subs not used: Matt Baker, Aaron Hooton, Lejaun Simmons
Gresley: 1 Mats Morch 2 Mitch Hanson 3 Lucas Harrison 4 Liam Guest 5 John Guy 6 Jack Langston 7 Kieran O’Connell 8 Eric Graves (c) 9 Royce Turville (Paolo Piliero 50) 10 Rob Spencer 11 Alex Steadman. Subs not used: Sam Grice, Marc Strzyzewski, Harry Austin, Mickey Lyons
Att: 131 Ref: Harry Hawkins
Star Robin: Rob Peet
Report by Mark Duffy (Twitter - @DuffersSport)