Tipton Town, forced into three changes of personnel in their line-up, were second best on the day, although the final score was a touch flattering for the hosts.
Indeed Worcester Raiders enjoyed the massive advantage too of fielding on-loan striker, Mark Danks, from Worcester City, currently fourth in the Midland League Premier Divn, a club at least semi-professional and several tiers in status above Tipton. His value was immense for the hosts as he became a constant threat to Tipton, scoring a brace of goals into the bargain.
Dan Patrick’s well judged interception in the very early stages foiled a very promising raid by the hosts. Still pressing forward the Raiders created a fine opening on 4 minutes, Logan Stoddart playing in Anthony Smith, the latter losing some control at a crucial time, allowing Tipton ‘keeper, Archie Alatalo to effect a decent save.
On 8 mins Mark Cartwright’s fine headed clearance blunted the home club’s surge forwards but just a couple of minutes later the Worcester City loanee, Mark Danks, proved his worth and value by cleverly holding off the attentions of two Tipton defenders before chipping home perfectly. 1-0.
Tipton responded well, young TJ Davies driving at the home goal but seeing Martin Fowler’s lunge take much of the venom out of his shot. Worcester were soon on the offensive again, another rapid attack homing in upon the visitor’s goal until repelled by Lewis Collins’s interception. A couple of minutes elapsed, Collins, well in the picture again, curling a cross into the home penalty area but the Worcester Raider’s defence remained unbowed.
Mark Danks missed a very reasonable opportunity to net his second for the hosts on 24 mins, his mis-hit finish of little concern to Tipton keeper, Alatalo. On 27 mins Collins’s low strike found the target for Tipton but home keeper, Dan Stephens saved capably low to his left. Tipton were very fortunate not to fall further adrift on 29 mins, a high looping header by Josh Weatherby defying the flailing arms of Alatalo before curling so narrowly past a post. Tipton responded, Collins again to the fore on 31 mins, a flag-kick in the Worcester half curling away from the home defenders, setting up the Tipton mid-fielder whose volley was so very near to succeeding.
TJ Davies soon featured brightly for Tipton, his eye-catching trickery creating massed confusion before the ball was driven clear but then only to Sam Hesson whose 34th minute effort was too close for comfort for the hosts. Again young Davies taunted the Raiders, going so very close to equalising until his goalbound effort was denied, midfielder, Paul Smith, fully stretched, turning the ball aside. Tipton were now enjoying a purple patch, Hesson again well in the frame with his rising drive all too good for home keeper, Stephens but, so fortunately for Worcester, rising just over the crossbar, some 37 minutes having elapsed.
The hosts, however, were not to be quelled for much longer, bouncing back with some eye-catching play, setting up star striker, Danks, whose 40th minute curling drive was barely a whisker away from puncturing Tipton’s resolve once more. Dan Patrick, Tipton skipper in the enforced absence of Paul Henley, and filling in at centre-back was a redoubtable stumbling block for the Raiders, his desire and commitment most certainly a credit to the Black Country visitors. As half-time neared TJ Davies’s impish movement and wiles created space for himself to fashion a drive at the home goal, keeper Stephens well beaten, but the ball being impelled so narrowly over the bar.
On the second half resumption the visitors began well but with scant success and were stunned visibly in the 48th minute when Luke Malloy curled a brilliant volley past the startled Alatalo, giving the hosts a healthy 2-0 advantage. Tails up now for sure the hosts were quickly on the charge once again, an eye-catching movement of precise passing and momentum setting up Martin Fowler but his effort curled just wide of the visitor’s post. With Worcester now finding greater momentum, their confidence soaring too, it took sheer dogged defending by Patrick, Hesson and Cartwright in particular to thwart the home club’s charge, 56 mins having elapsed.
Young Davies shone again for the visitors, his elusive swaying and dodging creating great concern for the home club until more re-inforcements subdued and overwhelmed him. Rob Hill and Mark Cartwright kept Matt Andrews at bay on 67 mins as the home club ramped up the pressure once more and, a little later, Alatalo denied Danks after he had bored his way through the Tipton defence. Continuing to hold sway the hosts carved out another smart opening on 72 mins, Matt Andrews narrowly failing to increase their lead before Tipton hit back, driving upfield with Hesson and Zico Agyemang not far away at all.
Luke Molloy brought Alatalo to his knees in saving another goal opportunity on 81 mins with the Tipton defence breached. Not to be further denied, however, Worcester rounded things off by netting their third goal through Mark Danks in the closing stages. 3-0
John A. Cross
President, Tipton Town F.C.
Next Fixture Wednesday 21st February 2018 WMRL Divn. One GORNAL ATHLETIC (Home) K.O.. 7-45 pm.