A tortuous evening, both 70 odd miles distant there and back, saw Tipton Town slowly concede defeat in the closing stages of a keenly fought scrap in deepest Herefordshire. Well over 30 miles of winding unlit country roads hampered the journeys of the Black Country club’s squad, associates and, most hearteningly, a clutch of fans too, necessitating the scheduled 7-45 pm kick-off to be revised to an 8-15 pm one, the Match Official in charge exhibiting practical wisdom to be more than fair to Tipton’s difficult preparations.
Inevitably Kingston began on the front foot, Connor Bufton’s deep cross into the Tipton penalty area alarmingly met with Callum Davies’s volley but the latter’s excessive desire to bulge the visitor’s net quickly dispersed, his effort wastefully ballooning high over the bar. A couple of minutes later the home club themselves were in some disarray, frenetic action in their goalmouth promising much for the visitors before the ball was bundled away and safely into touch by Ryan Nicholas.
On 9 minutes, Tipton, perhaps a trifle gratuitously stormed into an early lead when Dale Holloway’s fine work opened up the merest chink in the home defence, TJ Davies punishing them by squeezing the ball home. 0-1. Further good work by young Holloway created additional concerns for Kington on the quarter hour only to be relieved by a meritorious last ditch tackle by Brian Dyer, this on 14 minutes. Tipton keeper, Ryan Moorhouse was strongly tested in the very next minute when Lewis Phillips’s deep swinging cross created difficulties for him, the keeper having to turn the ball over the top in order to help assuage Kington’s growing zeal.
Further pressure upon Tipton’s goal was initially rebutted by Tom Taylor’s fine shielding of the ball from Phillips, a corner kick resulting Nick Evans levelling up the scores at 1-1 exactly mid-way through the half, the inside forward’s strike arrowing just inside the goalpost with keeper, Moorhouse beaten. Thereafter Davies broke clear for Tipton down the right in the 24th minute, his accurate chip shot, however, gaining insufficient height, rendering a comfortable save by home keeper, Bryan Kirkham.
Quickly afterwards Davies was to the fore once more, his measured inside pass sending Tarrike Thomas scurrying away but worthy covering from Jake Robinson and Connor Bufton took the sting out of Tipton’s response. On 26 minutes a Kington free-kick from Dyer was bundled clear by visiting skipper, Dan Patrick, the ball quickly played out wide to Davies but, confronted by the attentions of Lucas Leech and home skipper, Jake Robinson, he was unable to progress.
Back with Kington again, Sam Pearson’s raking drive only just kept out of his goal by Tipton keeper, Moorhouse before the visitors hit back, young Davies playing in Tarrike Thomas whose 34th minute drive at the home goal elicited a smart save by home keeper, Kirkham. Another strong attack at the other end saw Tipton under the cosh, splendid defending from Tom Taylor stunting an ominous home threat before the ball was rapidly despatched to the other end, Desean Martin’s 44th min.effort at goal so near to giving the visitors an interval lead.
On 49 minutes the Patrick brothers, Dan and Jon, combined to create a fine opportunity for Tipton to exploit, home keeper, Kirkham bravely defying them. With Tipton, at this stage, enjoying some clear supremacy, Davies again made rapid tracks down the right, his taunting low cross, however, thumped well clear by Jake Robinson. Kington hit back, penning Tipton well back before forcing a flag-kick in the 52nd minute, unproductive however.
Davies again put Tipton on the charge soon afterwards, scurrying down the right flank before weaving in and forcing Dyer to concede a flag-kick, unproductive, however. Kington responded, visibly growing in stature again, Sam Pearson powering in a header from Harry Bowen’s curling cross, Moorhouse defying the hosts with another fine save, this on 56 minutes. Pearson came near to giving the hosts the lead just past the hour mark, his drive at the Tipton goal just a whisker away. Tipton’s Davies was by now receiving some overly harsh treatment from the home defence, such was his potential threat, but, annoyingly for the Black Country club and several of it’s supporters who had made the 70 odd mile journey south, the Match Official continued to take little action, if any at all.
A response by Tipton in the 71st minute saw keeper, Kirkham beaten but the ball thankfully, for them, hacked off the very goal-line by Leech following which Lewis Phillips seemed a likely scorer for the home club, deterred at the death by fine covering by Mark Cartwright and Jon Patrick. Kington, in truth, were now doing the bulk of pressing now as the game entered it’s closing stages and , on 85 minutes, Sam Pearson forged a 2-1 lead for them with a brilliant direct free-kick, missile-like, the strike from easily 25 yards defeating keeper, Moorhouse’s flailing arms.
So down-hearted after battling so well Tipton, seeking another equaliser, failed to shore up their defence once more in the 89th minute, conceding a penalty from which Harry Bowen gave keeper, Moorhouse little hope of saving. 3-1.
The dispirited Black Country visitors, together with their worthy supporters, were, somewhat later, left to wend their way wearily home, general arrivals for all being around midnight.
John A. Cross
President, Tipton Town F.C.
Next fixture WMRL League Cup Rnd. One BROMYARD TOWN ( Away) TUES 24th April 2018 k.o. 7-45pm