For manager Tom Wade, Blyth Spartans’ narrow win at Ilkeston on Saturday was down to one key factor as he hailed his side’s ‘bottle’.
It was a tight affair but Dan Maguire’s 11th minute goal ensured that the three points returned to Northumberland after a resolute display from the visitors.
It was one in one out during the week as Craig Hubbard left the club to join Northern League side Whitley Bay, but there was a new face in the squad in former Hayes and Yeading striker Boris Bonket, who made his first appearance in a Spartans squad and took his place on the bench.
A wet and windy New Manor Ground met the players but the opening half was as dull as the weather.
The one bright spot came as Spartans took the lead with a 26th goal of a remarkable season for in-form striker Maguire.
An under hit back pass from Robins left back Ryan Wilson allowed Robbie Dale a run in on goal, and he drew keeper Ross Etheridge before setting up Maguire to roll the ball into an empty net.
But the former Seaton Delaval man’s day did not last long as he was unwell during the half and had to be substituted at the interval.
Paul Robinson came on in his place at half-time with a tactical switch seeing Arran Wearmouth playing the lone striker role and Lewis Horner moving out to the right hand side to accommodate Robinson in centre midfield.
Robinson almost created a goal with one of his first touches as his corner from the right hand side was met by Danny Parker.
The centre back met the cross well but could only divert his header wide of the far post from 12 yards.
Robinson nearly grabbed a goal for himself ten minutes into the second half after some good work from Dale. The winger danced past Wilson and his pull back from the touchline was met by the left foot of Robinson but he was denied a second goal for the club by a brave block by Robins skipper Joe Maguire.
Just before the hour mark there was a moment of controversy with referee Robbie Dadley thrust into the limelight for the only time in the game.
An overhit pass in midfield seemed to be rolling through to Robins keeper Etheridge but as Horner made a late run to get on the end of the pass he was blocked off by Ellis Storey. After a brief consultation with his assistant the referee deemed a yellow card was sufficient punishment.
The hosts were enjoying plenty of possession and did improve as the half went on.
The introduction of youngsters Goran Seymour and Elisha Bako seemed to give Kevin Wilson’s side some extra pace and tenacity, but Spartans’ back four remained disciplined.
The final chance of the game fell to Wearmouth but he could only fire over from a narrow angle after latching on to a poor defensive header.
Spartans’ man of the match was Nathan Buddle.
Blyth Spartans: Grant, Mullen, Watson, Buddle, Parker, Wade (Cummings 70), Horner, Wearmouth, Maguire (Robinson 45), Hooks, Dale. Subs not used: Kendrick, Purewal, Bonket.