Last August’s 6-3 victory in the Great Wyrley area was but a distant memory for Tipton, this afternoon’s visitors dominating much of the proceedings and underlining their recent meritorious ascension up the League table.

Sharper of thought, quicker to the ball so often and ultra-keen to press onwards for victory, the visitors most assuredly emphasised their greater skills on this occasion at least, leaving the home club with much to do if they are to arrest this slide and return to winning ways.

Opening with surprising pace, Sikh Hunters moved positively from the outset, piercing the home defence twice without reward before being pegged back in just the 4th minute, a massive scrimmage in their penalty area almost producing a goal for Tipton’s Lleyton Gould. Alex Brogan doing well to deflect the effort clear. On 7 mins. Ben Store, surging forward for Tipton, was quite brilliantly robbed by Todd Perry, with Tipton seemingly on course to record the game’s opening goal. Under great pressure from Sanjay Malhi, Alex Norris was forced to concede a flag-kick in the 14th minute, Ben Lawley, however, mis-cuing his header which flew subsequently wide.

Much of the play was now featuring in the home club’s half, illustrating the visitor’s dominance. On 18 minutes, Alex Brogan’s accurate free-kick into the home goal area was well met by Tyrone Atkinson, his smart accurate downward header defeating home keeper, Chris Thomas 0-1. Within a couple of minutes it required a clever interception by home skipper, Sam Hesson to break up another superbly constructed attack , the visitors confidently calling the tune. Sadly Tipton’s response at this stage simply carried insufficient menace to be of concern, thus enabling Sikh Hunters to perform on the front foot so often.

Midway through the half home keeper, Chris Thomas brilliantly beat aside Jeston Nisbett’s goalbound snapshot with Tipton having little alternative but to try to hang in there and somehow weather the storm. In retaliation TJ Davies, linking well with Ben Store, worked hard to try to peg the visitor’s back but, by and large, it only partially succeeded. On 27 mins. Tipton created some difficulty for Sikh Hunters, sadly without reward, when TJ Davies’s snapshot on the turn almost out-foxed visiting keeper, Liam Haynes, the latter being forced to concede a flag-kick. Approx. 5 minutes later Scott Broadway was out-muscled by a determined Ash Smith, the Tipton forward so very near to crafting a fine opening for the hosts.

Sikh Hunters quickly re-grouped, however, and on 38 minutes another worrying attack looked likely to bedevil Tipton, staunch and fully committed defending  from Kieran Smith and Lleyton Gould ensuring no further addition to the scoreline. Just a couple of minutes prior to the interval a free-kick in the home club’s favour almost crafted an equalising goal, Scott Broadway and Ben Store only just out-muscled by the Sikh back line. On 42 mins. Alex Brogan fell foul of the referee , booked and spoken to at length, after grappling a home player as Tipton still valiantly sought some meaningful respite.

On 44 mins, however, the referee was very much found wanting, a particularly nasty challenge on Davies by Ash Smith going unpunished to howls of derision from most of the onlookers. The visitors were soon seeking to increase their lead after the break, Connor Scott stretching well to intercept an incisive through ball by Todd Perry. Yet again Scott made a vital interception, to blunt Sikh’s surge forward soon afterwards, but the vibrant visitors rapidly regained possession, Alex Norris gratefully interceding to clear the danger.

Tipton, however, were now moving forward with far more purpose and, on 58 mins, almost equalised, TJ Davies’s surprise reverse shot eliciting a quite superb last second save by keeper, Haynes. Just a couple of mins. later, however,and Tipton’s hopes of gaining any much-needed points were surely dashed, Dan Jones cleverly manoeuvring into space to guide the ball expertly home, keeper Thomas well beaten. 0-2. Tipton responded with new found vigour, Davies producing some sterling play, helping lessen Sikh’s dominance, before he was halted unfairly. Still desperately endeavouring to win back some pride, at least, Tipton gamely refused to submit, Adam Skeldon curling a free-kick into the visitor’s penalty area only to see keeper, Haynes, parry clear.

On 76 mins. however, Tipton were fortunate not to concede further, Jeston Nisbett’s wild mis-kick in front of the home goal, following a left wing cross, luckily going unpunished. Home keeper, Thomas cleanly held Sanjay Malhi’s much more than useful header, following a flag-kick in the 81st minute before, just a minute or so later, the over-worked home mid-field and defence was pierced once again,  Nisbett the beneficiary. 0-3.  On 88 minutes home skipper, Sam Hesson forced the ball home to give the home club some consolation, if little else. 1-3.

John A. Cross

President, Tipton Town  F.C.