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Note that this page is from our Gresley Rovers archive.
It may not be related to the new club Gresley FC.
Story posted: Friday, 30th January 1987

Story courtesy of
Gresley Rovers’ manager Frank Northwood is facing one of the most difficult periods since taking over at the Moat Ground two years ago.
The manner of last Saturday’s morale-sapping defeat in the FA Vase at Warrington means Northwood has a mountain to climb if he is to keep his side on course for honours this season.

Rovers were twice in front against a Warrington side, that despite a formidable Vase record, looked distinctly beatable.

In the end, to put it in Northwood’s words, the game was thrown away. And the question now remains: what appetite has the current Gresley side got left in the coming uphill battle for the league title?

Northwood was bitterly disappointed by his team’s 4-3 defeat and, if he now proves true to previous form, it is likely that he will look to make modifications to the current side.

There’s no doubt, that the first area to come under scrutiny will be the defence. And, amazingly, that may well include the goalkeeping position.

Current incumbent of the goalkeeping shirt, Karl Austin, has certainly been one of the beat ‘keepers to grace the Moat Ground in its long history.

But in recent months Austin has fallen from his previous high standards. It could well be that travelling up to the Midlands from Brighton, where he is currently working, is taking its toll.

But players cannot keep their place in the Gresley side on past reputations, and it could be that Northwood will soon be having a very close look at newly-signed reserve ‘keeper Richard Gregg, a vastly experienced performer who has none of Austin’s travelling problems.

With regard to the back four, those players who took the field at Warrington it must be said, were not Northwood’s first choices.

The Gresley boss has a great deal of faith in the adaptable Mark Bromley but with suspensions removing his chances of playing, a rejig became necessary, former Burton Albion full back John Bottomley being the replacement.

Northwood was critical of Bottomley’s performance last Saturday but, to be fair, there were gaping holes in all parts of the Gresley back line and left back Ian Earley and central defenders Steve Dolby and Ian Pearsall should have questions to answer too.

Gresley’s defence failed to operate as cohesive unit in the latter stages of the game after performing so well before half time to repulse persistent pressure from the home side.

What went wrong will be of immediate concern to the Gresley boss. Certainly, he will be less concerned about a forward line that managed to put three goals away.

There was no shortage of graft in midfield, but with former skipper Dave King still sidelined by injury, there is a distinct lack of brawn in the centre of the park that the introduction of new boy Gary Stevens has done nothing to improve.

Stevens showed plenty of class at Warrington in what was a very difficult game to make his debut in, but in the end he and his colleagues were simply swept aside.

So it is likely that Northwood will have a long, hard think tonight before naming his side for tomorrow’s difficult trip to Rushall.
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
2 Marske United 12 8 22
3 Brighouse Town 13 7 22
4 Lincoln United 13 4 21
5 Tadcaster Albion 12 6 19
6 Belper Town 12 0 19
7 Gresley 13 -10 19
8 Ossett United 12 6 18
9 Pontefract Collieries 12 3 18
10 Stamford AFC 12 3 17
11 Frickley Athletic 11 -5 16
12 Loughborough Dynamo 11 8 15

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