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Note that this page is from our Gresley Rovers archive. It may not be related to the new Gresley Rovers (formerly Gresley FC until 2020).
Story posted: Friday, 12th February 1988

Story courtesy of Burton Mail
Two promotion trains collide at the Moat Ground tomorrow – without a Banks’s League point at stake.
Yet there is considerably more than a mere League Cup semi-final, first leg advantage at stake when Gresley Rovers entertain arch rivals Tamworth.

Both sides need the vital psychological impetus that a win would give three more equally crucial meetings set to take place before the season’s end.

And both need to bounce back after potentially damaging FA Vase defeats on Saturday.

Both sides, says Tamworth manager Graham Smith, will be fired up for a game that could well produce the Moat Ground’s second four-figure gate on successive Saturday’s

“It’s a very important game for us and we’re expecting to bring between 500 and 600 supporters,” Smith said last night. “We beat Gresley in an FA Cup tie early in the season and they’ll be eager to get their own back for that, but I’ve been very happy with the way we’ve been playing recently. We don’t fear Gresley – but we do have a lot of respect for them. They’re a good side with some good players.

“It will be a difficult game for us because Gresley have home advantage but I feel we have strength in our side to do a good job. Nothing is going to be won or lost tomorrow with the second leg still to come so we won’t be coming to defend – we’ll play our normal attacking game.”

Ex Dudley Town boss Smith has not seen Rovers play this season but says he knows “the strengths and weaknesses in their team.”

However, he can see no weak links in his own side. “We’ve got 14 or 15 good players which gives us strength in depth, and that includes four front men capable of scoring a lot of goals. In fact it’s a very balanced side with players in all positions who are always likely to score gaols.”

Much will depend, however, on how the two sides react to the anguish of defeat in the last 16 of the Vase on Saturday.

Says Smith: “We were very disappointed. We all believe we should be playing Durham City in the Vase replay tomorrow instead of coming to Gresley. We were well in the game up there but lost out to an appalling penalty decision and eventually lost 4-2.”

Gresley, too, tasted the bitter pill of defeat but manager Frank Northwood has a different – and remarkably candid – view of his team’s exit.

“They were the fitter side,” he said last night. We had our chances but I couldn’t help but think that if we’d stuck them away. Emley would have stepped up into a gear we didn’t have. Both sides will want to make up for their disappointment tomorrow – and if we can take chances this time there’s no reason why we shouldn’t win.

“We’ve got to be looking to the rest of the season now – and it’s going to be very, very tough from here on in.”

Rovers’ only doubt for tomorrow is defender Mark Bromley, an outstanding success against Emley, who has ankle ligament problems. That could mean a recall for tough-tackling full back Keith Williams.
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Sat, 26th Sep 2020, 3.00pm (Home)
Tue, 29th Sep 2020, 7.45pm (Home)
Sat, 3rd Oct 2020, 3.00pm (Home)
Tue, 6th Oct 2020, 7.45pm (Away)
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