Boss Mark Hume was left delighted with the positive reaction from his Matlock Town players after they beat Ilkeston FC away.
Matlock had been beaten in a feisty and controversial local derby by Buxton on Boxing Day.
Matlock felt hard done to by referee Sean Richardson against the Bucks, who felt the visitors were allowed a controversial equaliser after Craig Nelthorpe had put Matlock in front when goalkeeper George Willis looked to have been fouled.
“A point would have been fair” said Matlock boss Mark Hume. “The difference was that their numbers nine and ten took their chances and we didn’t.
“The referee was poor, he didn’t give us one single thing all afternoon, okay it was an error by George leading up to the equaliser but he was also fouled and the referee totally ignored that.”
But the Gladiators bounced back to seal an excellent 1-0 win at the New Manor Ground thanks to Charlie Dawes’ 40th minute winner,
“It was a good reaction, we played well but again we missed chances to kill them off,” said Hume.
“Ilkeston are a good young side, they keep the ball well but they didn’t hurt us and that’s down to our hard work.
“Everyone put in a good shift, we had to work hard for don’t forget we were playing a full time side.
“There were some very good performances out there, Craig Nelthorpe was brilliant as was Adam Yates in the second half.
“It was important we won after Saturday yet if you look at it from the point of view that two draws would have been good, we’re better off points wise winning one and losing one.”
Grantham Town, three places and a point behind Matlock having played two games more, are the first visitors to the Autoworld Arena in 2016, having won their last three tussles with the Gladiators.
Hume says the memories of the 2-1 defeat at The Meres in September are painful, his side being ahead until three minutes from time before conceding two late goals.
He added: “We lost after playing well and really outplaying them but not having that killer instinct so it’s something we’ve got to take on board and try and put right. We need to keep on picking up points and to do that we have to take our chances.”
Micky Harcourt could be missing for possibly a fortnight after coming off against Buxton with hamstring trouble, while Ben Algar could be back in the squad this weekend after being ill for the Ilkeston game.