A local derby to open the new season offered much in the way of effort from both clubs before a much more than reasonable attendance at Tipton Sports Academy. Sadly for Tipton the game exploded for all the wrong reasons right at the end with home ‘keeper, Ryan Pratt being dismissed for a nasty and unforgiveable assault upon a visiting player.

A strong Westerly wind, blowing unrelentingly from goal to goal, opened proceedings before a healthy attendance,Tipton having the advantage of the difficult conditions. Scott Broadway was soon into his stride for Tipton, cottoning onto a long clearance deep into the visitor’s half, the wind coming to Darlaston’s aid as the ball continued to gain pace away from the striker. Matt Hogg’s fine free-kick fully tested visiting keeper,Aaron Morris in the next minute, the latter adroitly turning the ball over the bar for what proved to be a fruitless flag-kick.

Lleyton Gould’s smart and timely interception denied Darlaston’s Jake Sharman who was making ominous tracks towards the Tipton goal before the home club countered strongly, Ryan Williams picking up a cross from the left before driving strongly at the visitor’s goal in the 9th minute, the alert Aaron Morris in the Darlaston goal, saving with confidence. End to end stuff for a spell, Dan Green then going desperately close for the visitors with a cracking header from Josh Tolley’s inch-perfect cross, the ball evading the home goalpost by the merest fraction.

Tipton soon hit back, however, but Broadway’s ambitious volley sailed over the top, aided to a large degree by the incessant wind. On 16 minutes it was Tipton’s turn to fret and worry when a smart,low cross into their penalty area came so very close to undoing the home club. Back in the visiting club’s penalty area, Ryan Williams, at full stretch, only just failed to force his header home, yet again the wild, blustery conditions playing their part. Darlaston were battling with great fortitude to keep the home club at bay before suddenly hitting back with another sortie down the left, finding Sam Giles, who was denied by fine home covering.

Once again Darlaston burst forwards, Gould’s clever interception stifling the movement, this with 27 mins now elapsed. At the other end visiting keeper, Morris starred for his club, bravely thwarting Connor Garrett who looked to be an odds-on scorer in the 29th minute. Home skipper, Sam Hesson was becoming ever more influential, as is his wont,  his astute and clever ball to Adam Callinswood posing a severe threat to the visitor’s goal in the 31st minute, keeper, Morris’s ability preventing them from falling behind. Still Darlaston forced the issue, blotting their copybook ,however, when Alex Jones’s wild drive from a fine position careered high over the home bar.

Again the visitors sought to break the deadlock but the gale-force conditions saw Kieran Matthews’s drive simply gain increasing height, the ball flying well over Tipton’s crossbar. Skipper, Sam Baxter’s cracking drive soon brought out the very best of home keeper, Pratt who quite splendidly and unerringly turned the ball aside. On 41 mins, however, Darlaston refused to be denied any further, a fine attack down the left eventually setting up Sam Giles who, with ice-cold nerve, drove the ball emphatically home. 0-1.

Shortly afterwards Darlaston’s Dan Green was forced to receive lengthy attention, the victim of a rash challenge in the home club’s half of the field. With much to do now, as the second half commenced, Tipton knuckled down to at least try to save the game, Connor Garratt setting the trend until he was unfairly felled in the 47th minute, Luke Johnson’s free-kick curling narrowly wide.

Home skipper, Sam Hesson was becoming ever more influential with his fine ability on the ball before he was heavily felled in the 55thminute as he motored at speed. Another well-constructed move byTipton just three mins.later culminated in Adam Callinswood smartly stroking home and thus tieing up the score at 1-1. The visitors responded with great alacrity, Richard Wharton’s bullet-like header, following a flag-kick, deserving of so much more. On 71 mins clever hold-up play by Broadway allowed Tipton to stabilize yet again, enabling them to force the issue once more.

On 72 mins disaster for the visitors, a clear penalty awarded against them but keeper, Aaron Morris expertly dived to his right smothering  Broadway’s well-struck kick, a save of the very highest calibre.  As the game inevitably wound down with an honourable draw almost inevitable, Darlaston had a couple of much more than reasonable efforts upon he home goal beaten clear, with Tipton under siege for a most uncomfortable spell, before the home club came strongly forward again and, on 88 mins responded to  their skipper’s urging into one last effort, Sam Armstrong answering in positive style by ramming home through a tightly packed Darlaston goalmouth.

John A. Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C.

Next Fixture    Sat.17th August 2019     WMRL Divn. One   BUSTLEHOLME  (Away)  k.o 3-00pm  at Oldbury Utd.F.C.