With a Birmingham Saturday League Cup Final looming ever nearer this was hardly the time to slump to such a woeful home defeat against visitors, local giants of years gone by, but now  lower in the League table than Tipton, the latter simply failing to spark or fire in this local derby.

The unavailability of Teejay Davies, nursing an upper thigh / groin injury, was surely a prominent factor in Tipton’s defeat, his recent goalscoring form and creativity too, sadly missed. However, having already run in four goals without reply at Wednesfield earlier in the season Tipton were still fully expected to possess sufficient nous in their locker to emerge victorious here at home. Sadly, far from the case.

It had all began so promisingly too for he home club, Scott Broadway’s deep cross in only the 2nd. minute only narrowly failing to defeat visiting keeper, Chris Adamson. Responding well, Willenhall hit back only for Nanoochamni to blaze well over the home bar when well placed. Willenhall built upon this good response forcing Kieran Smith to drive clear from the edge of the home penalty area with Willenhall threatening again before another assault upon the home goal created a scoring opportunity, Alex Norris, at full stretch, blocking any further progress towards the Tipton goal.

Responding well, Tipton hit back, also going very close to scoring in the 14th minute when Connor Scott’s drive had the beating of visiting keeper, Adamson, but whistled so narrowly past the post. A speculative, lofted effort by Luke Johnson saw him unluckily denied, his volley curling away from visiting keeper, Adamson, but narrowly missing the goals too. On 19 mins. Nanoochamni was most unlucky not to give Willenhall the lead, his goalbound effort only smothered by home keeper, Thomas, before a defender managed to drive the ball clear.

Home skipper, Sam Hesson won the ball in a midfield tussle shortly afterwards, his pass sending his attackers away but the move was countered by stout defending by the visitors who were clearly gaining in confidence as the game wore on. In the 23rd minute an attack upon the home goal was initially repelled, the ball being driven clear but only resulting in a quite fantastic long range strike from distance by full-back TOM LAWTON, the ball zooming over home keeper, Thomas’s flailing fingers to whistle unchecked deep into Tipton’s net. 0-1.

Tipton responded, Scott thwarted by visiting keeper, Adamson and, on 26 mins, Broadway’s oblique effort on goal curled wide. Three minutes later Hesson’s determination saw him outsmart two lunging challenges before he was able to launch an effort at the visitor’s goal, the ball clearing their crossbar but by very little. On 36 mins. a fine defensive header by Kieran Smith prevented Nathan Derrick breaking away down the right flank. On 39 mins.Tipton were most fortunate not to concede again, Jamal Stancliffe driving over their bar, having launched his effort over a crowded penalty area.

On 48 mins. fine work by Hesson seemed all set to put Broadway through on goal, the ball intercepted smartly by Lawton. Still pressing for an equaliser, Broadway was again soon in the frame, appearing to be unfairly upended in the visitor’s penalty area, howls of derision greeting the referee’s lack of interest in the incident. Worse, much worse, was to follow for Tipton for, on 54 mins. NATHAN DERRICK made the most of a fine Willenhall attack, the home defence spreadeagled, with the visiting forward driving home at the far post. 0-2.

Just a couple of minutes later Tipton finally awoke from their general malaise, LUKE JOHNSON, giving them hope by pulling a goal back when driving powerfully home  through a ruck of legs in Willenhall’s penalty area. 1-2. In the next minute another home attack ensued, Tipton spurning a great opportunity to level with last ditch defending by the visitors winning the day.

On 63 mins. Willenhall came so close again to netting, home defenders brushed aside by Derrick whose accurate drive for goal was splendidly clawed away by home keeper, Thomas. Some ten mins. later, with Tipton now pressing heavily, substitute, Michael Bridges fired over a splendid cross, Norris’s header only just a shade wide. Willenhall, showing great confidence now and urged on by their fans, went close to increasing their lead on 81 mins,, home keeper, Thomas clinging onto another effort at goal.

In the 84th minute Broadway’s direct free-kick was beaten clear after which the home club almost redeemed themselves for their generally lethargic display, when another equaliser almost transpired after Bridges opened up a pathway towards the visitor’s goal, the equaliser, remaining all too elusive however.

John A.Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C.

Next Fixture    Saturday 30th March 2019    WMRL  Divn. One   NEWPORT TOWN ( Away at ECCLESHALL TOWN F.C.)   3-00PM