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Story posted: Friday, 22nd November 1991

Twin Tower memories
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Memories of Gresley Rovers finest hour will come flooding back tomorrow as the Moatmen take their first tentative step on the road back to Wembley.
A formidable obstacle in the shape of in-form West Midlands League rivals Blakenall bars Rovers’ way – but manager Frank Northwood is hoping home advantage and a big home crowd will swing things for Gresley.

Said Northwood: “Obviously when the draw came out of the hat we were a little disappointed not to get a team from a different league.

“But we’ve been drawn at home and that’s all you can hope for.”

The Gresley boss would dearly love to repeat last season’s Wembley experience, which immortalised his players in the Gresley annals.

This time around, though, there are key changes in personnel. A string of bit part performers have departed, along with sweeper Steve Astley, a true Wembley hero.

Taking his place tomorrow is likely to be newcomer Jason Minton – a player held in such high regard for Northwood that he was named skipper for Tuesday’s league game against Oldbury in the absence of injured captain Richard Denby.

And afterwards Northwood highlighted Minton’s contribution, saying: “The new lad did very well – he held things together for us at the back.”

Minton, a 23-year-old self-employed plasterer from Grest Wyrley, actually made his Gresley debut in September 1990 – a one-off loan appearance against Ilkeston Town.

The former Willenhall, Bilston and Rushall player – who had spells at Shrewsbury Town and Derby County earlier in his career – recalls: “I played in midfield in that game – but I prefer to play at the back as a sweeper and that’s where I’m hoping to play.

“It’s a good set up at Gresley and they like to play football – and that will suit me. I’m looking forward to playing.”

But Minton and his new colleagues have been warned to be on their guard tomorrow – by veteran striker Brian Beresford.

In-form Beresford, who hope to be back in the side after a bout of influenza, said: “Blakenall couldn’t have been a much harder draw for us. They’ve put a good squad together including the lad Walters who was the league’s leading scorer last season, a player called Lees from Wolverhampton Casuals who is very useful and Reg Preece, who used to play up here. But we’re at home so it’s up to us to take advantage of that.”
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
10 Highgate United 29 -3 38
11 South Normanton Athletic 26 0 37
12 Worcester City 26 11 36
13 AFC Wulfunians 31 -6 36
14 Coventry Sphinx 25 -19 34
15 Tividale 23 -4 27
16 Haughmond 29 -29 26
17 Racing Club Warwick 24 -29 24
18 Lye Town 28 -31 18
19 Gresley 26 -22 16
20 Selston 25 -38 13

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