Ilkeston suffered a blow to their title hopes on Saturday as fellow promotion chasers Peterborough Lions eased to a comfortable 32-10 home victory.
The result saw Ilkeston drop to fourth in the league, but the Elks still have a more favourable run-in on paper than their closest rivals and with only three points separating them from top spot, all is far from lost.
The Lions forwards were dominant throughout and set the platform for their victory.
The sides jostled for position early on, a Lions penalty dropping short on 11 minutes and both Lewis and Greg Taylor blocking promising home attacks.
Ilkeston then lost the influential Adam Corcoran following two bangs to the head, and soon afterwards Lions took the lead with a penalty in front of the posts putting them 3-0 up.
Lions continued to press and after some good forward drives the ball was kicked ahead and a fortunate bounce went the hosts’ way allowing the pick up and score after 29 minutes. The kick was missed from out wide giving the Lions an 8-0 lead.
Elks came back well but too many knock ons were halting any progress.
From an Elks line out Dan Taylor was fed the ball and broke well in midfield. The ball was recycled and Lions were caught off side, the penalty kicked by Joel Haigh after 38 minutes making it 8-3.
The second-half followed a similar pattern with the Lions forwards dominating the breakdown area. Elks were conceding penalties under pressure and after some successive penalties Steve Quinn was sin binned on 44 minutes.
Lions then took complete control with the extra man and scored two tries on 45 and 50 minutes to move clear at 22-3.
The Elks were under constant pressure despite some heroic defending and conceded another try after 58 minutes to make it 29-3.
Elks finally had some decent ball to work with but knock ons were spoiling any real chances.
But they finally registered a try on 65 minutes when a line-out was won in the Lions 22, and the ball was moved left to Greg Taylor who found a hole in the defence which he burst through to go over for the score.
Haigh converted to make it 29-10.
Elks took heart from the score and had their best spell of the game with some good running from Quinn and the Taylor brothers, although there were still too many knock ons.
A late penalty from the Lions, however, completed the scoring, and Ilkeston were left licking their wounds.
The title race remains all to play for, starting Saturday against Paviors with a 3pm kick-off at The Stute.