The home club gave a performance most certainly befitting the precious three points gained in this local derby against Gornal Athletic, who themselves ran out single goal victors in their home match during the latter stages of last year. Tipton’s erratic form of late had resulted in a League position far from healthy, this victory at least a stepping stone to making improvements to this situation. Even more important, in the short term, at least, they face a difficult Semi-Final Birmingham Saturday Challenge Vase tie against Village F.C.away¬† this forthcoming weekend.

The bitingly cold north westerly was still most apparent from the outset of this evening’s encounter, Tipton first to press when, after just a couple of minutes Matt Hogg’s fine low cross into the Gornal penalty area clearly troubled the visitors until eased by Joe Cervantes’s smart interception. On 8 minutes, with the home club still making most of the running, Scott Broadway sent Jamie Saidler through on goal, the alert Carl Whyte interceding with a timely challenge thus easing any early concerns by the visitors.

However, immediately afterwards Gornal claimed possession, working the ball most favourably and enabling Aaron Weston to fire in a 20 yard snapshot at the home goal, keeper, Chris Thomas saving smartly. Home skipper, Sam Hesson, fully fit once more, was quickly into his stride, victorious in two midfield challenges in succession to keep Gornal at bay. The skipper was destined to play very much a leading role in this encounter, most promising for Tipton in their looming Cup-tie and in the club’s endeavours to significantly improve it’s lowly League position.

Pressing forward, however, Abu Said next threatened for the visitors on 19 mins., Max Pashley alert to the developing situation before winning a tussle with the Gornal forward. Midway through the half, with Tipton most clearly becoming both more confidant and dominant too, the home club’s Kieran Smith rattled the visitor’s crossbar following a left-wing flag-kick, a huge let-off for Gornal. Home skipper, Hesson, surging forwards soon afterwards was unfairly halted as Tipton, improving upon their erratic form of late, continued, by and large, to force the issue.

A fine, probing run by Luke Johnson forced Gornal ever backwards, his inside pass to Mark Cartwright enabling the latter to drive for goal, the ball, however, curling a couple of feet wide, this on 28 minutes. Still making much of the running Tipton then set siege upon their visitor’s goal, three much more than reasonable attacks being hooked or diverted clear, Gornal much more than fortunate to remain on level terms. On 37 mins. Teejay Davies’s cracking snapshot was most certainly equalled by Gornal keeper Ash Green’s quite brilliant save in managing to turn the ball around a post before, just a couple of minutes later the dominant home club came so close again to breaking the deadlock, Scott Broadway’s certain score parried away.

A brief Gornal raid suddenly gave the visitor’s hope, Alex Norris’s firmly headed clearance ensuring Tipton didn’t concede on the rebound. Another startling break by Davies down the right flank and thence into the visitor’s penalty area saw him halted at the expense of a flag-kick, Mark Cartwright rising highest to head for goal, the ball curling just wide. More neat play be Hesson put Tipton on the charge once again, the movement including Teejay Davies too, the latter unceremoniously brought down once again, the subsequent free-kick from the right finding Max Pashley whose on-target header was forced clear by Gornal keeper, Green.

A more committed Tipton commenced the second half, surging into the lead on 46 mins., Gornal’s crowded penalty area seemingly incapable of forcing the ball clear, LUKE JOHNSON stabbing home to give the home club a richly deserved lead. 1-0. Tipton continued to boss most of the proceedings, so disappointing for the healthy clutch of fans of Gornal in attendance and who, by and large, remained subdued for long periods. Soon bursting through on goal once more, Scott Broadway seemed more than likely to double Tipton’s tally only to be bested by the worthy efforts of goalkeeper, Green, who once again managed to keep his club still in with a shout.

On 58 minutes Broadway’s presence on the ball was clearly of increasing concern for Gornal, the home forward badly brought down, yet again, by Harvey-Beach on 58 mins., the latter defender rightly receiving a booking. Just before the hour, Tipton surged further ahead after Mark Cartwright had headed narrowly wide, Davies’s typical jinking run simply slicing through the back-pedalling visitors defence, before cutting the ball back for JAMIE SAIDLER ram home, this on 61 minites. 2-0.

Now visibly rattled, the visitors were becoming ever more hard-pressed by the minute, Davies relishing his club’s dominance to the full and continuing to bedevil Gornal at every opportunity. A brief attack saw Gornal’s Joe Cervantes fire at Tipton’s goal on 76 mins, keeper, Thomas saving well before Davies yet again taunted the hard-pressed visitors, additional goals most certainly a probability but unfortunately not taken by Tipton although the much regained confidence would be welcomed by all at the club and most certainly, hard-working Team Manager, Neil Perks and his committed squad.

On Saturday Tipton visit the Aston University grounds where they meet Village F.C.in the Semi-Final of the Birmingham Saturday Vase, this kick off time set by the Competition authorities at 2-00PM.

John A. Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C.