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Story posted: Friday, 6th March 1992

Frank goes back to his old ways
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Gresley Rovers entertain big-spending Malvern Town with manager Frank Northwood on the crest of a wave after Tuesday’s excellent victory at Oldbury Town.
Ironically, the win came just hours after the veteran boss had defended his “five at the back” policy – before being forced to reshuffle his side because of injuries to Kieron Smith and Jason Minton.

The outcome was a team playing with four in midfield and two up front – a formation dumped by Northwood three seasons ago in the wake of Tamworth’s all-conquering success with three strikers.

Northwood proclaimed at the time that three strikers were necessary to win the West Midlands League title – and his words rang true last term when Rovers cantered to the title and scored more than 100 goals during the season.

On Tuesday, though, Northwood’s reshaped line-up was such a success that the Moat boss announced that he would like to field the same side against Malvern tomorrow.

Rovers fans, meanwhile, were raving about the performance of midfielder Richard Wardle.

Surely it was no coincidence that Wardle caught the eye in a formation ideally suited to his hard-running, tough-tackling style, where he proved a perfect foil for the skills of skipper Richard Denby. The system appeared to suit the wide men too, offering a way back into the side for Craig Weston in particular.

Alas, injury to Wardle may cause a further reshuffle tomorrow, the former Tamworth man having picked up an ankle injury in the second half of a 3-1 win leaving Northwood to wait on his fitness before naming his side.

Malvern, meanwhile, have recruited the legendary Joinson twins. The strikers, who made their name in the all-conquering Halesowen Town side of the early 1980’s, have since done the rounds of top Midlands non-league soccer and have been recruited in a bid to help struggling Town stave off relegation.

Northwood, however, is no respecter of reputations and said this week: “They can have who they like up front – they’ve still got to find someone to give them the service.”

It’s been a busy week for midfielder Scott Elliott, currently battling his way back from a string of injuries.

The Long Eaton-based youngster turned out for Slack and Parr against Newhall United on Saturday, played a Sunday game the following day then guested for Belper Town against Rocester.

Said Northwood: “We want him fit and I’m pleased he’s had the chance to get some games under his belt. He could be looking towards fitness for Saturday.”
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  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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