A keenly fought local derby resulted in the home club, Gornal Athletic securing all three points after somehow withstanding Tipton’s far more dangerous and frequent attacks. Truth be told, however, it matters not a jot how many efforts at goal a side creates, failure to score wins no prizes whatsoever.

Tipton commenced in good mettle, pegging Gornal back for a spell before home skipper, Rich Langford made a telling interception enabling Gornal to find some ardour  of their own, soon leading to a 5th minute chance with Andy Burgess driving at the Tipton goal, keeper, Chris Thomas parrying the effort clear. Further good work by Gornal , following Andy Cox’s searching cross resulted in visiting keeper, Thomas helping nerves with a confident save. Cox again featured strongly, clipping a fine ball down the right only for Alex Norris to intercede, helping dispel further concerns, this on just 9 mins.

The troublesome, bitterly cold wind, continued unchecked throughout, to the clear dismay of both club’s watching fans. On 18 minutes TJ Davies, for the visitors, made ground down the left before firing over a cross into the home penalty area, deftly cleared by Reece Dabbs. Cox was beginning to impress with his eye-catching workrate and strong involvement in the bulk of Gornal’s attacks. Tipton responded well, Davies carrying a threat into the home penalty area until out-muscled by Alex Harvey-Beech.

Gornal struck back soon afterwards, a fine effort upon the Tipton goal culminating in the latter’s keeper, Thomas, out of his ground necessitating him to head the effort wide to ensure the game remained scoreless. Thereafter, Chris Hill’s interception ensured the visitor’s Luke Johnson’s aerial pass failed to reach it’s intended target, Davies. Visiting skipper, Sam Hesson’s long range drive created untold difficulty for home keeper, Joe Collingridge who could only force the ball upwards before it was gratefully scrambled clear. Jamie Saidler’s fine approach work put Gornal at a worrying disadvantage, doughty defending by Reece Dabbs and skipper, Langford, winning the day for the hosts.

Saidler’s free-kick, soon afterwards, pierced the home rearguard, Mark Cartwright electing to try to control the ball and make further ground when, in retrospect, a drive for goal may have proven much more profitable , 36 minutes now elapsed. Just three mins. later, the influential Matt Martin, once a player with Tipton, too. gave Gornal a 1-0 lead, spotting the smallest gap in their defence before drilling the ball home 1-0. Tipton responded with vigour, Scott Broadway firing for goal although a little off target and in the 43rd minute TJ Davies’s clever cut-back in the right side of the Gornal penalty area failed to find a fellow attacker before being driven well clear.

As the interval whistle loomed, Tipton were fortunate not to concede again, a heavy assault so near to a further success for Gornal. The second half began in amazing fashion with Tipton’s Davies cruelly and blatantly chopped down in the home penalty area, sadly for Tipton Davies’s spot-kick quite superbly parried aside by keeper, Collingridge. Stung by this reverse, Tipton’s efforts increased markedly, Saidler soon firing in a direct free-kick upon the home goal, Collinridge saving confidently.

Unquestionably this half produced far more dominant soccer by Tipton, stung at their earlier reverse and, looking back , very difficult to understand how they failed to score and go on to victory. Connor Scott’s effort towards the Gornal goal was most certainly worthy of a better ending, seeming to presage a fateful climax which, indeed, proved to be the case. On 49 mins skipper, Sam Hesson’s smart effort, on the back of a spell of frenetic activity in the Gornal goalmouth, was barely a whisker away from an equaliser.

But the dangerous Matt Martin, clearly Gornal’s best outlet, came so close to doubling their lead just on the hour, his scorching free-kick seemingly a certain goal but fractionally skimming the visitor’s bar. Davies’s wily twists were countered by Reece Dabbs, the latter’s sheer doggedness finally overhauling the Tipton youngster. Further attacks upon the home goal simply failed to ring the bell before the home club broke out of their enforced torpor to threaten Tipton on 72 mins, Lleyton Gould doing well to blunt their efforts.

Soon afterwards a quite disgraceful and dangerous foul upon Davies by home skipper, Langford, saw the latter immediately dismissed. Surely Tipton might just pull the game out of the fire now and, on 75 minutes, indeed they finally netted only to see their hopes dashed with the referee , enforcing an offside decision when at least 30, maybe 40 yards from the incident, with no linesman’s flag raised, and so ruling out the score.! Howls of derision all round the watching throng, including a few home supporters to boot!

Still striving for an equaliser, Broadway’s 77th min.volley squirmed narrowly past the home post before the same player was denied once again, all three points somehow staying with the Garden Walk club.

John A.Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C.

Next Fixture   WMRL Divn, One League Cup  Rnd One     DARLASTON TOWN  (Home)  k.o. 7-45pm