They did it the hard way but this win, secured in stoppage time, could mean so much to the Robins as they pursue a promotion place.
Going behind early on and not really finding their feet until the final 20 minutes, three points came courtesy of sub Rob Duffy firing home from outside the box in the 93rd minute.
That was the top scorer’s first goal since January and couldn’t have been timed better.
It wasn’t their best performance but one defeat in 19 league games remains the sort of form that could well take the Robins up and that might be all that matters come May.
Ilkeston started in confident fashion but the first effort of note came seven minutes in from the hosts as Lloyd Ellams fired well wide from distance.
Just four minutes later Thomas Peers went one better and put Marine in front. Picking the ball up 25 yards out he switched to his right foot and curled a fine effort past Jordan Smith and into the top corner.
Ilkeston nearly levelled immediately when Mike Williams’ cross was headed inches wide by Jake Wright, although it took another 15 minutes for them to threaten again when Williams’ shot hit Wright on its way wide.
Williams then saw a header at the back post from a Reid free-kick pushed away by keeper Matt Cooper, but half-time arrived without much more in the way of goalmouth action and the Robins having not made the most of their considerable possession.
A well-worked move down the left saw Marine nearly net their second four minutes into the second-half but Tom Owens’ shot was scuffed at Smith.
At the other end, Wright saw a header cleared following a corner and then Williams volleyed just wide as Ilkeston urgently sought a way back into the game, Ellams then heading over the top for the hosts and Jamie Menagh’s free-kick also too high.
The equaliser finally arrived on 71 minutes and it was one of Ilkeston’s ‘old guard’ that scored it. Sub Eddy Samba and Wright combined to find Reid coming in from the left and he finished well under Matt Cooper for 1-1.
The Robins continued to be in control and were inches from a second on 82 minutes as Joe Burgess’s header from a Reid corner was diverted onto the bar by Wright and Marine eventually cleared.
Samba then missed a guilt-edged chance when Wright put him in one-on-one with Cooper but Samba went for a delicate finish with the outside of his left foot and Cooper saved with his legs.
Ultimately, it would be another sub that would win the game for the Robins in the third minute of stoppage time. After Wright battled to win the ball he prodded it to Duffy outside the box and his low half volley was wide of Cooper and into the net.
Chad Whyte nearly ruined things but could only shoot weakly at Smith in the dying seconds, Ilkeston seeing the game out to claim what could be a crucial win in the title race.
Marine: 1 Matt Cooper, 2 Stephen Wainwright, 3 James Short, 4 Liam Willis, 5 James Foley, 6 Andy Nicholas (c), 7 Lloyd Ellams (Chad Whyte 82), 8 Karl Clair, 9 Tom Peers, 10 Jamie Menagh, 11 Tom Owens
Subs not used: Carl Peers, Joel Bembo-Leta, Dan Fearnehough, James Mitchison
Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith, 2 Danny Gordon, 3 James Reid, 4 Lawrence Gorman, 5 Joe Burgess, 6 Jack Lane, 7 David Morgan (c), 8 Callum Chettle, 9 Jake Wright, 10 Mike Williams (Rob Duffy 77), 11 Rai Simons (Eddy Samba 46)
Subs not used: Matt Baker, Curtis Burrows, Eli Bako
Ref: Martin Woods
Star Robin: James Reid