Currently fourth-placed in the Table Old Wulfrunians were the visitors to Tipton Sports Academy on this quite glorious sunny afternoon, the very warm and inviting conditions attracting a more than reasonable attendance. The Wolverhampton side made the initial inroads towards goal, just 2 minutes elapsed when a lofted, curling free-kick into the home penalty area was positively met by Charlie Turner’s header, the ball subsequently spiralling outside. Tipton’s clearly younger fry initially responded well before, on 7 minutes, it took a well-judged challenge from Ben Styles to thwart James Weaver as he made ominous tracks towards the home goal.

Shortly afterwards Tipton were indeed very fortunate not to concede, Curtis Ellis’s cracking direct free-kick rattling the home club’s post, fortunately for Tipton, rebounding clear. Old Wulfs continued to press and dominate, only a smart interception by home skipper, Kieran Smith, enabled him to head clear a fine cross with two visiting attackers ready to pounce, an opening goal the prize. Tipton responded well on 11 mins, Danny Bell making impressive tracks towards the visitor’s goal until upended  by Jack Marsh, a deserved booking inevitably following.

The encounter was being played at a furious pace even though the very humid conditions were energy sapping. Home skipper, Smith’s finely judged interception allowed him to deftly chip over the visitor’s defence but the home club failed to profit from this opportunity. However, on 18 minutes Tipton came on strongly again, Luke Johnson’s goalbound strike deflected clear by the alert visiting skipper, Tom Ray. Having weathered some earlier pressing, the home club were clearly beginning to call the tune, forcing Old Wulfs ever backwards, particularly when Ryan Williams launched a testing ball into the visitor’s penalty area, partially cleared only for Luke Johnson’s chip to Adam Callinswood allowing the latter to put Tipton ahead on 22 minutes. 1-0.

Old Wulf’s response was impressive, Delano Webley bobbing and weaving ever nearer to the home goal before being superbly ushered aside by Lleyton Gould. Continuing to press the visitors turned the screw again soon afterwards, Ben Styles rescuing Tipton with a masterly challenge to dispossess Louis Harper enabling the home club to break forward, Connor Garratt’s lofted through ball eliciting a clever chip from Johnson on 26 mins, the effort so very near to hoisting the Tipton’s tally further. Tipton’s young squad were now battling admirably and, on the half-hour, Callinswood and Garratt combined to great effect to press upon the visitor’s goal once more.

All to change soon afterwards, the visitors breaking free impressively on 33 mins, James Weaver’s low drive only just squirming past the home club’s post. Tipton’s younger fry were playing some decent stuff themselves now, Callinswood’s arrogant chip from just outside the visitor’s penalty area on 35 mins arcing only just clear of the crossbar. Tails still up Tipton surged forwards yet again, Callinswood  bending the ball into the visitor’s penalty area, Old Wulfs heaving a collective sigh of relief when Danny Bell’s goal-bound header squirmed agonisingly wide. The visitors refused to be cowed, Delano Webley’s impressive mazy run, cutting in sharply from the right, was thankfully hoofed clear. Another strong visiting attack soon afterwards was similarly repelled before the half finally expired.

On 47 mins Tipton were unlucky somewhat not to extend their lead, Callinswood  again to the fore but just failing to convert from a rather acute angle. Still Tipton pressed forwards, the visitors forced to defend in increasing numbers before the assault’s energy lost it’s force and vigour. After a bad collision in the visitor’s penalty area, the home club’s Ryan Williams was forced to receive  somewhat lengthy attention before gingerly continuing.

Back surged Old Wulfs, however, Nathan Scott giving Tipton something to worry about with a quite splendid curling cross from the right, simply begging to be tucked away for the equaliser. More pressure upon the home goal now, clearly an increasingly worrying time for them until Matt Hogg nodded clear a fine cross for a flag-kick to the visitors. The danger persisted after Tipton failed to clear their lines, Nathan Scott collecting and chipping perfectly for his skipper, Tom Ray to drive home a 57th minute equaliser. 1-1 Storming forwards Old Wulfs quickly regained the initiative again, James Weaver’s almost certain goal denied in fine style by home keeper, Ryan Pratt’s quite astounding aerial save.

All Old Wulfs now, Styles denying Webley as he cut in towards the home penalty area before the assault petered out. Tipton too were not done for yet, twice missing more than reasonable chances of taking the lead again, too much exuberance ruling their heads, allowing the visitors to regroup. Nigel Dicken joined thee fray for he home club on 76 mins, following which Tipton were forced to defend very much again, keeper, Pratt fisting clear Harvey Pearson’s goalbound effort as Wulfs sought to take all three points.

Tipton rallied well, young Hogg’s chip into the Wulf’s penalty area could well have produced something of value for the home club before the visitors surged back once more, James Weaver crowded out at the death. In the final moments of action it was Tipton who were making the running and seeking a winner but the visitor’s resolute defence was most certainly not in the mood to concede again.

Next Saturday Tipton Town make the short trip to Dudley College where they pit their wits against high riding Team Dudley on their artificial 3G pitch.

John A. Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C.

Next Fixture    Saturday 28th September, 2019     WMRL Div.One    TEAM DUDLEY ( Away)  K.O. 3-00 PM