It was a poor game where quality was neither allowed nor able to shine through thanks to Steel Park being buffeted throughout by swirling gales, but that will only make these three points even sweeter for an Ilkeston side that defended superbly throughout and ultimately won thanks to two moments of quality from top scorer Zak Goodson.
His second goal in particular was a sight for the somewhat fatigued eyes of those who had been forced to watch the preceding 80 minutes, and a moment that Ilkeston deserved if for nothing other than their efforts in repelling the hosts at the other end.
It wasn’t that keeper Ross Durrant had needed to make many saves, more that the defence and Durrant himself had dealt well with the wind-affected crosses flung their way and limited Corby’s entries into the penalty area throughout, the hosts mostly making do with shots from distance.
And it all added up to a win that left Ilkeston alone at the top thanks to a defeat for Halesowen Town who drop to third behind the now second-placed Chasetown.
After an early delay thanks to an injury to referee Martyn Fryer – the Nottingham official eventually able to carry on for the whole game despite pulling a hamstring – Corby nearly found a way through 12 minutes in when Sam Moore got to a long ball before Durrant but couldn’t get a shot in on the empty goal before Kieran Fenton dived in to tackle well and Ilkeston cleared.
But it was the Robins who would take the lead six minutes later when Alex Troke’s fine ball sent Tommy Williams down the inside right channel and he squared for Goodson to find the roof of the net from six yards out.
Connor Furey curled a free-kick just wide for the hosts on 25 as they sought a way back into the game, Moore then driving an effort past the post from outside the penalty area and James Clifton doing similar on 34 minutes.
Jordan O’Brien was next, his shot from distance just too high but those kinds of efforts were all the hosts were being allowed by a combination of good defending and the wind interference.
The second-half saw Ilkeston with the wind at their back and Adam Chapman’s low effort in the opening minute was just wide.
Chances then became very few and far between as the conditions continued to be largely in charge, although Ilkeston were defending well as a unit to repel most of what was thrown at them.
The back three of Fenton, Joe Maguire and Stern Irvine were rock solid, the latter throwing himself bravely at a Corby shot late on.
And the visitors would then secure the killer blow with a second on 81 minutes, as Goodson received the ball on the right edge of the penalty area and curled a superb effort into the far corner.
That would ultimately be enough, the hosts huffing and puffing but unable to break through and it being left hard to fault the Robins’ display as they returned back up the M1 with the points ahead of their next assignment at home to Loughborough Dynamo on Tuesday night.
Corby: Heath, Hartley (Garwood 66), Apindia, Abimbola, White, Mulligan, Furey (Brittain 76), Clifton, Sandy, O’Brien, Moore
Not used: Gee, Grubor, Taylor
Ilkeston: Durrant, Williams, Irvine, Chapman, Maguire, Fenton, Goodson, Bird (Verma 79), Campbell, Troke (Reid 63), Wakefield
Not used: Caine, Brown-Hill, Carvell