Having already defeated Bustleholme by 2-0 on December 1st  at Oldbury, Tipton took on this return fixture in confident mood but, in fact, found the visitors to Tipton Sports Academy most certainly no pushovers despite the home club’s greater share of the attacking play.

In fact, Tipton opened full of vim, TJ Davies’s drive, with barely a minute elapsed, forcing visiting keeper, Ben Holden, to turn the ball aside for a corner kick. Scott Broadway, shortly afterwards, burst through for Tipton, his fine goalbound drive diverted clear by Seth Jordan.

Barely had any real pattern of play formed when the visitors burst into the lead on just 5 minutes, a right wing cross met on the volley by Chris Brown, the ball careering off the pitch surface and over the flailing arms and fingertips of home keeper, Chris Thomas  0-1. The home club retaliated, but found Bustleholme far more dogged and committed than in their recent encounter at York Road, Oldbury when Tipton triumphed with something to spare at 2-0. Dane Hughes and Seth Jordan quickly took the eye for the visitors, their resolute defending most clearly to prove a barrier to the home club in their efforts to overcome this early reverse.

On 16 mins.Connor Scott only narrowly failed to connect with a deep curling cross from the right but soon it was Bustleholme bearing down again, Oliver Clarke’s header, following a flag-kick only narrowly failing to increase the visitor’s lead. On 18 mins. at last Tipton responded with some vigour, Davies unlucky not to tie up the scores. Barely three mins. later Davies again burst through the Bustleholme defence, an equaliser surely looming but exposed keeper, Holden denied the home striker with a superb save. Still Tipton battled in an effort to regain parity, a deep cross into the visitor’s crowded penalty area from a 25th min. free-kick confidently fisted clear by Holden again.

Gradually it was becoming clear that Tipton’s general passing was, too often, tending to go awry, simply gifting the ball to Bustleholme. However, battling on, Tipton almost drew level on 32 mins. Scott Broadway’s almost certain score quite superbly turned aside by keeper, Holden. The home club’s rhythm appeared to beginning to falter, this quickly spotted and seized upon by Brown in the 35th minute, his eye-catching elusive movement down the right flank yet another test which the home defence only just mastered. Broadway, who had seen two previous efforts at the visitor’s goal charged down was yet again unlucky on 39 mins., his accurate header splendidly clawed away by visiting keeper, Holden.

Still pushing forwards the home club were again denied an equaliser, Lleyton Gould’s headed attempt at goal just scrambled clear. With Tipton now making much more of an impression, Broadway was in the limelight, his effort at goal booted well away for a flag-kick, from which he then climbed highest to power in another of his typical goal-scoring headers, the ball unfortunately  curling past the far post with the visiting keeper poorly positioned too.

Tipton opened the second half in earnest, Sam Armstrong’s fine work generating two efforts at the visitor’s goal, both, however, beaten away. On 52 mins.TJ Davies’s incisive move was countered by Bustlehome skipper, James Hawthorne’s clever interception. Unfazed Tipton penned Bustleholme  well back into their own penalty area with a free-kick, only half-cleared for a corner kick, this then half scrambled clear and leading to a veritable volley of efforts at the visitor’s goal, none of which, however, managed to ring the bell.

On 56 mins., however, Tipton’s sheer perseverance at last gained some reward when a free-kick, homing in on the Bustleholme goal was turned aside for a corner, scrambled away but then leading to a succession of drives again at the Bustleholme goal each one somehow hacked clear. Still striving forward Tipton managed to elude the visitor’s defence, in which Seth Jordan, skipper, James Hawthorne and James Thompson had made starring roles, Davies shimmying forwards and throwing his markers before slipping in Scott Broadway who, at long last for the home club, managed to tie up the score at 1-1.

All change again, however, for on 64 mins Tipton appeared guilty somewhat of momentarily switching off when a flag-kick was quite superbly nodded home by Oliver Clarke  1-2. Home skipper, Sam Hesson strove to rescue at least a point on 88 mins., sadly his effort a shade too high before Davies’s sinewy run into the visitor’s penalty area opened up a chance for sub. Tarrike Thomas, his effort of little concern to Bustleholme. In added-on time Davies was to the fore yet again, coming so very near to squaring the game for Tipton but his final effort lacked sufficient power to unseat visiting keeper, Holden.

John A. Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C.