A quite riveting and splendidly fought tussle at Tipton Sports Academy saw Tipton so nearly turn the tables on the current League leaders. Banished from memory was the limp effort at Darlaston’s Paycare Ground way back on August Bank Holiday Monday, a 3-0 victory all too comfortable for the home club on that occasion.

Tipton had already been dealt a serious blow well before this fixture’s allotted time, skipper, Sam Hesson having to work, his missing influence most certainly a big concern. Undaunted any further, however, Tipton much more than survived this test, several times carving out openings that were so near to ringing the bell, the League leader’s tenacity and skill ensuring they didn’t buckle, a draw at the final whistle, in all probability, just about right.

In the 4th minute, with the home club facing the very strong wind, Adam Skeldon’s direct free-kick was forced clear by Ryan Jones. The gale-force wind, clearly to become a major factor for both clubs, was instrumental in Luke Johnson trying his luck from all of 30 yards in the 8th minute, the ball, however, swerving wide of the target. Next minute saw the first meaningful response from the visitors, Tipton’s Leyton Gould forcing the ball clear with Darlaston pressing ominously.

A flag-kick was next fisted clear by home keeper, Chris Thomas as the visitors sought to raise the tempo. On 16 minutes, however, it was Tipton in the ascendancy when TJ Davies rattled home a quite splendid drive after weaving his way inside from the left flank. 1-0. Hardly had the dust settled, as it were, than Darlaston had hauled themselves level, Tyrone Clark-O’Connell’s quite stunning drive simply a winner all the way. 1-1.

Stung into greater action and urged on by their vocal support , Darlaston were now firing at the home goal at every opportunity, the strong wind, however, frequently causing the efforts to gain too much height. On 26 mins. Jamie Saidler and Adam Skeldon played in Davies who made ominous progress into the visitor’s penalty area before being harried out of it by Darlaston’s skipper, Dave Richards. Next minute Tipton were knocking on the door once again, Ben Store so unlucky to see his superb header just clear the Darlaston bar.

Not to be cowed for an instant, Darlaston broke the shackles and surged forward again, the home club’s Kieron Smith, defending with fine skill enabling him to help blunt the visitor’s attack. The very dark clouds, rolling in from the West, suddenly signalled a deluge of rain and sleet, the home club facing the storm and being severely hard pushed to make any meaningful progress as the wind velocity soared upwards.

Under great pressure from a now expectant Darlaston, Isaac Cooper threaded a brilliant ball through the home rearguard, advancing keeper, Chris Thomas bravely winning possession, in reality, against all odds. Heavy rain was now sheeting down, Tipton, facing it, at an increasing disadvantage. However they responded admirably before, on 39 mins.,Scott Broadway, through on goal lost his footing at a crucial moment and the opening simply disappeared. The visitors stormed back with half-time nigh, Connor Scott denying Leon Taylor before, just seconds later, Jamie Holder was desperately unlucky to see his searing drive- a winner al the way- curl no more than just millimetres wide of the home upright.

Once again Darlaston came strongly, Tyrone Clark-O’Connell’s fine accurate effort at goal forced clear. The visitors began the second half strongly, dominating play for a spell before seeing a 51st min.flag-kick driven clear. But Tipton were clearly generating much better movement now, their resurgence pegging the League leaders ever backwards, and so near to re-taking the lead on 58 mins. , visiting keeper, Liam Whittaker being forced to charge out of his goal before only narrowly preventing Tipton taking the lead again. However, in response Alex Solomon’s snapshot at the other end came mighty near to putting the League leaders ahead.

On 66 mins.Tipton did indeed forge ahead once more, TJ Davies’s sumptuous low cross simply meat and drink for Scott Broadway who smashed home in style. 2-1. On the charge now Tipton sought further riches, yet another jinking run by the impressive Davies stretching Darlaston before releasing Broadway whose subsequent cross into the Darlaston penalty area was emphatically driven clear, 70 minutes now played.

Home sub. Sam Armstrong joined the fray before Adam Skeldon, on 73 mins, cleverly turned the Darlaston defence, sadly without reward. Darlaston responded strongly again, in the manner that they are eminently capable of, sub Noah Diallo just a whisker away from levelling the scores on 77 mins. before another attack quickly ensued, Armstrong’s winning tackle smartly dispossessing Jarrod Grant as he surged down the right flank towards the home goal.

Tipton brought on another substitute, Tarrike Thomas in the 80th minute after which Jamie Saidler smartly intercepted a searching through ball down the right but the never-say-die attitude of the visitors strove for, and succeeded in winning possession again, Ryan Jones levelling the score at 2-2 with 92 minutes elapsed. The resurgent visitors, in the little time remaining, threw everything at Tipton to force a victory, going so very close too when Ryan Kingdom only just failed to score.

John A.Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C.

Next Fixture     Saturday 15th December  2018   MOORS ACADEMY F.C. B-HAM CHALLENGE VASE  RND.3  K.O. 3-00PM