Following last weekend’s debacle against St Martins of Oswestry, Tipton found themselves pitted against current League leaders, Team Dudley, who were still deservedly on a high after their thumping of Willenhall Town by 7-1. Clearly a huge improvement in playing skills and attitude was required if only to stave off a potentially heavy reverse again. In continuous dismal conditions for both sides – rain all afternoon – Tipton won welcome plaudits for their efforts, although not quite resilient enough to claim all three points.
Team Dudley, exuding early confidence gained as a result of their top of the League standing, began very much on the front foot, dictating the early passages of play and quickly gaining two corner kicks – thankfully for Tipton, both fruitless – before the home club responded themselves in the 6th minute, a flag-kick of their own driven clear by Mark Lawrence before the home club’s, Sam Hesson won another flag-kick just a couple of minutes later, efficiently cleared in no-nonsense fashion by the League leaders.
On 11 mins Jon Patrick’s joy was rapidly erased when he was adjudged to be marginally offside in the very act of turning a cross home for Tipton. Smart defending from Mark Cartwright on 18 minutes nullified a dangerous break by the visitors before Tipton used the advantage to launch a counter-attack from which they were most unfortunate not to ring up the opening goal. Playing some eye-catching soccer by now, Dudley responded, forcing home skipper, Paul Henley, to clear his lines at full stretch, this on 20 or so minutes.
Back came Tipton, their efforts so much more worthy than last weekend’s catastrophe at Oswestry, Zico Agyemang’s cross too good for the Dudley defence, finding TJ Davies who all but opened Tipton’s account but falling foul of the referee who adjudged him to have impeded visiting keeper, Ash Green, with 23 or so minutes now elapsed. Back stormed the League leaders, Craig Edwards driving positively for goal on 25 minutes from 20 or so yards , young Josh Morgan in the home goal making a worthy save although not without some degree of difficulty.
On 33 minutes Vladut Lungu speared in a cross through the Tipton defence accurately to Craig Edwards, clearly offside but unaccountably allowed to continue onwards for goal, the home club surviving with great fortune. Dudley were gaining the upper hand, for them, disappointingly failing to take the lead on 38 minutes when Lungu’s scorching drive cannoned off the Tipton goalpost, thence to relative safety. Cut and thrust stuff now, Dudley surging forward with the home defence, marshalled by skipper, Henley doing their utmost to retain parity.
On 41 minutes, Tipton broke this stranglehold, Lewis Worsey sending Jon Patrick speeding clear, his vicious rising drive deserving of so much
more than marginally clearing the Dudley crossbar. With half-time imminent, Team Dudley came strongly again, Mark Cartwright’s exemplary defending denying the marauding Alex Pinches who was almost through on goal. On 48 mins. Dudley again went close to breaking the deadlock, Chris Knight’s well-driven snapshot, scudding so narrowly past the Tipton post. Thereafter, midfielder, Sam Hesson battled his way doggedly through three tackles in his efforts to drive Tipton forward.
On 51 minutes Team Dudley spurned the chance to forge into the lead, Lungu blazing wildly over the home bar when faced with an open goal after home keeper, Morgan could only parry a cross out to him, an opening goal for the visitors seemingly just a formality. Further pressure upon the Tipton goal on 53 mins resulted in young Morgan incredibly clinging onto Craig Edwards’s almost certain score with the visitors beginning to ramp up the pressure once more.
After Chris Knight had wastefully blazed a direct free-kick high over the home crossbar Tipton broke free, TJ Davies through on goal before being quite blatantly pushed over by hand, the home contingent’s voluble screams, players and supporters alike, cutting no ice with the referee !. Lee Clarke, full of composure and calm for Dudley was a worthy outlet for several of their forward moves now as they sought to win the encounter. However, Tipton still posed problems and on 65 minutes Jon Patrick carved out an opening for goal but his shot sailed over the top. Back surged Dudley, Chris Knight’s eye-catching control severely testing the home defence but on 73 minutes the home side won possession again, Hesson’s goalbound effort eliciting a flag-kick from which Agyemang soared highest but his effort just clearing the visitor’s crossbar.
Five minutes later Rob Hill’s cross created more than a few flutters in the Dudley goalmouth before the move broke down, the visitors quickly breaking and catching Tipton’s defence on the hop but Knight’s goalbound effort hurtled just past the home goalpost. On 83 minutes, Tipton al last broke the deadlock when Agyemang’s great work pulled the Dudley defence awry, some desperate defending ensuing before Sam Hesson crashed his drive home through a veritable ruck of visiting defenders. 1-0.
Just a couple of minutes later, however, with a spate of all-out attacking by Dudley penning Tipton right back into their own penalty area, a deep cross found home skipper, Paul Henley, valiantly endeavouring to head clear only to have the supreme misfortune, at this very late stage, to concede an own-goal, equalising the score. 1-1.
Both sides thereafter endeavoured to find an elusive winner, both to no avail but Tipton, in the main could surely be most pleased having found a performance that should have banished any memories lingering from their St. Martins disastrous rout last weekend.
President, Tipton Town F.C.
Next Fixture Sat 7th October 2017 WILLENHALL TOWN (Away at Wednesfield F.C.) k.o. 3-00pm