Tipton Town were warmly greeted by their opponents Abbey Hulton Utd. at their very smart Drayton Beaumont Park venue, within the confines of Stoke city, the playing surface of verdant green and so very tempting. From the outset the home club burst forwards, Andy Dicken’s well-judged challenge removing much of the initial impetus and allowing the Black Country side to quickly regroup. On just 5 mins with Tipton still defending, a dangerous cross from the left squirmed across their penalty area before being driven clear for an unprofitable flag-kick.

All to change, dramatically too, so shortly afterwards, when Tipton also showed some verve, launching a heavy assault upon the home goal where Ross Harris’s strike was turned aside only for the ball to run clear to Adam Callinswood who drove home from close in with just 6 minutes elapsed 0-1.

Visibly stung Abbey hit back hard, Kristian Parsons’s  cleverly executed crossfield ball unhinging the Tipton defence only for Kieran Lazenby to defuse the menace by failing to keep the ball in play. On the quarter-hour another likely response by Abbey Hulton met with similar determination from Tipton’s Ben Styles and Kieran Smith. Further neat interplay by the home club gave them much encouragement but, over-elaboration, as usual, spoilt the issue.

In the 19th minute the Tipton goalpost was rattled, Josh Bowden’s superbly struck effort, for all the world seeming a certain equaliser.On 23 mins, with the force still with Abbey Hulton, Kristian Parson’s left wing cross was eagerly met by Tom Brown’s header, the ball crashing just a hairsbreadth wide. Tipton were still battling well in endeavouring to sustain their narrow advantage but came under more pressure on 23 mins.when Mark Groom launched a stinging effort at their goal, smart ‘keeping by Harry Ellis parrying the ball before safely gathering at the second attempt.

On 31 mins however, the home side succeeded in puncturing Tipton’s resolve, a searching right wing cross finding Josh Bowden’s head at the far post with the visitor’s defence finally breached. Re-energised Abbey suddenly found a quicker pace forcing their visitors to defend even deeper. More bad news for Tipton soon followed with their skilful captain, Sam Hesson, so often a prime cog in their attacks over the last few years, clearly injured and forcing him to sadly give way. However, with the interval whistle barely seconds away Tipton had a massive stroke of good fortune for a change, Nigel Dicken winning the loose ball off scrambling keeper, Jacob Holding, his unselfish lay-off to Adam Callinswood seeing the latter unerringly slip the ball home again. 1-2

Upon the restart for the second half Tipton rapidly found themselves penned right back in their own penalty area, surviving somehow, but only just. Abbey were now naturally ramping up the pressure, several attacks of merit threatening the Tipton goal, but thankfully, none succeeding. Both sides went through frantic stages of attack, Tipton most certainly playing their part in a period when another score for them would surely have won the tie.

Not to be, however, for on 68 minutes Josh Bowden forced the ball smartly home into the visitor’s net thus equalising the scores at 2-2. Very soon afterwards Jack Hurd’s ground hugging drive whistled just past the Black Country club’s post before Sam Armstrong responded, his effort too almost nestling in Abbey’s net. The home club, however, were now clearly building up a head of steam, Callinswood featuring again for the visitors but this time back defending when he out-thought the wiles of Abbey’s Mark Groom when all seemed lost. Still the home club called the tune, however, local support now passionately urging them on.

On 78 mins Jack Hurd’s woeful miss from close-in gave Tipton an unlikely but most welcome let-off but, on 83 mins, the same player made amends when netting with a bizarre header. 3-2. Virtually on 90 mins, Josh Bowden fluffed a seemingly simple chance of increasing his club’s lead, facing an unguarded net he woefully miscued his effort wide.

John A.Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C.

Next Fixture   Sat 7th September 2019     WMRL Divn. One    SIKH HUNTERS  (Home)  k.o.  30pm