Long gone are the days when Willenhall Town ruled the roost at non-League level in the Black Country, they now find themselves at the bottom of the WMRL Div One table, which makes for uncomfortable reading for such an illustrious club but there were enough signs on view today to more than just hope for a brighter future for them sooner than later. Groundless now they currently hire Wednesfield’s Cottage Ground and it was from there that this encounter took place.

Shaun Thomas’s good work down the right stretched Tipton initially before the latter hit back only to be thwarted by a late offside flag. After Lewis Worsey was brought down on the right touchline, Tipton soared into an early 10th minute lead from close range, burly striker, Ross Harris driving firmly home from close range following an untidy mix-up in the home defence. 0-1. Capitalising upon their early good fortune, Tipton were soon to the fore again, Harris once more finding the home net only for an offside flag to ameliorate Willenhall’s situation.

Countering on 13 mins the towering James Slough forced a smart save from Tipton’s Josh Morgan, saving at his feet with the forward in the act of shooting. Shortly afterwards Sam Hesson bested home midfielder Jake Sharman before firing for goal, the Lockmen’s keeper, Chris Adamson saving well at the foot of his post. Jamie Moore, for Tipton, headed Rich Wharton’s well-intended through ball clear as Willenhall countered and then visiting skipper, Paul Henley’s well-judged tackle helped take the sting out of Ryan O’Brien’s effort.

Henley again feature on 21 minutes, Shaun Thomas’s worrying free-kick being countered by the skipper’s header over his own crossbar. Still Willenhall persevered, James Slough’s deft flick from a right wing cross in the 23rd min arrowing past the visitor’s post, rather too close for comfort. Tipton countered down the right flank, TJ Davies and Zico Agyemang jinking their way through, gaining a flag-kick, but no more.

Splendid play by Matt Payne set the visitors going forward again on 31 mins, TJ Davies’s low cross from the right flank piercing the home defence before Mark Cartwright turned the ball deftly home. 0-2. Willenhall’s repeatedly lofty balls were foundering time and again on theheads of Henley, Cartwright and Jamie Moore. On 37 minutes a clever, headed-on pass by Ross Harris out-smarted home skipper. Simon Laidley but an overhit pass ruined Tipton’s chance of further reward. A couple of minutes later, Willenhall fashioned a smart opening themselves but Ryan O’Brien’s contact was too weak to trouble Tipton.

Hesson soon featured strongly again for Tipton, ploughing through towards the home goal before unfortunately stumbling. Next minute, however, the Tipton midfielder was robbing O’Brien before setting his club on the attack once more with a measured right wing pass. With Tipton now dominating much of the game, Jon Patrick opened up a pathway for Davies who, completely out of character, easily lost control. Not to be cowed, however, Tipton were soon in the ascendancy once more, Zico Agyemang literally waltzing through the Willenhall midfield on 42 minutes, the home club hard-pressed not to ship another goal.

Early in the 2nd half Agyemang’s smart swivel created space for an effort at goal, splendidly repelled by home keeper, Adamson. At the other end on 49mins Mark Cartwright was forced to concede a corner for Willenhall which, however, proved fruitless. Sam Hesson’s 51st min interception promised much for the visitors but clever anticipation by Cory Finson averted the impending danger upon the home goal.

Hesson, Ross Harris and Jon Patrick soon featured again for Tipton, helping break up a Willenhall move before finding Zico Agyemang who deftly steered the ball wide of the home keeper. 0-3. On the hour Tipton’s goal came under great pressure when keeper, Morgan fell awkwardly after fielding a cross, losing the ball but home defender, Cory Finson, in support of his attack, wastefully ballooning over the top. Thereafter Tipton endeavoured the take charge again, Hesson soon bringing a worthy save from home keeper, Adamson.

On 63 mins Ryan O’Brien, cutting in from the left, beat Tipton keeper, Morgan, the ball, however, just arcing over the visitor’s crossbar. Another effort by Willenhall through Finson was held firmly by Morgan before play switched to the other end where Jon Patrick’s searching drive was splendidly held by home keeper, Adamson, this on 71 minutes.

Back into the visitor’s penalty area soon afterwards and Tipton keeper, Morgan was so nearly caught out of his ground on 76 minutes when Jake Sharman was desperately unlucky to see his worthy effort curl agonisingly wide. On 84 mins Willenhall spurned a glorious chance to reduce the deficit, a truly woeful effort by sub. Luke Green badly letting them down. With time rapidly winding down Tipton sub, Harry Woodbine fired wide of the home goal on 87 mins, before, in injury time, Ebey Marango’s drive was turned aside for a fruitless flag-kick by the home keeper.

John A. Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C,

Next Fixture   SAT 14th OCTOBER 2017   WRENS NEST  (Away at TIVIDALE F.C.)  k.o. 3-00pm.