Quite literally, a humdinger of a game at Tividale F.C.’s Packwood Road ground, where loanee’s, Wren’s Nest, dominated almost entirely a first half which saw them deservedly rattle in four goals without reply, almost certainly destined to inflict the heaviest of defeats on near neighbours, Tipton Town.

Just a couple of minutes into the encounter a swirling high cross from home skipper, Tom Rann, fully tested Tipton’s keeper, Chris Thomas, the latter clearly grateful to turn the ball aside. Again the hosts surged forward in these opening exchanges, Matt Holland setting Theo Kacoulli free in the 4th minute, Tipton fully stretched not to concede. Sam Armstrong replied for Tipton, bearing down on the home goal, his effort charged down by Luke Brooks and cleared to safety.

Still battling forwards, TJ Davies, swerving hither and thither was quite illegally halted by the combined attentions of two home defenders before he could fire at their goal. It was quite clear that the home club were beginning to dominate, a well thought-out assault upon the Tipton goal in the 12th minute resulted in Arnold Chaponda’s header being turned aside by visiting keeper, Thomas. Next minute, however, Tipton’s heads visibly dipped when some messy defensive work in their penalty area was quickly punished, Nathan Guest taking full advantage to drive home. 1-0.

Much of the play was now homing in on the Tipton goal, the home club showing much more urgency and confidence. On 21 mins. another strong attack upon the Tipton goal saw Sam Bratt-Wytton robbed in the nick of time by Alex Norris, thus easing pressure upon the visitor’s goal. Slipshod defending in the 27th minute let in the home club, do or die defending only just managing to prevent a further addition to the score. Just a minute or so later, no more, the rampant home club were denied again, Chris Thomas’s brave save somehow denying them.

Unaccountably very shortly afterwards Wrens Nest stormed two goals ahead, Connor Lawrence’s cracking drive simply whistling past keeper, Thomas’s outstretched fingers. 2-0. Tipton re-started the game, lost possession too easily, paying the price as Edward Rann was quickly played in to surge forward and simply pick his spot 3-0. Simply all  Wren’s Nest now, no question, and with Tipton very much on the ropes, home skipper, Tom Rann, too, came so very near to hoisting the score still further with a 36th minute blistering drive.

Briefly Tipton fought back in the 38th min. Armstrong making good ground down the right before setting up a chance only for Luke Brooks to intercede and drive the ball clear. 40mins. arrived and yet another goal for the rampant hosts, a clever overhead effort by Arnold Chaponda completely wrong-footing visiting keeper, Thomas, before nestling home. 4-0.

Came the second-half, the weather conditions-swirling wind, heavy squally rain, persisting now to the detriment of Wren’s Nest who, not at all surprisingly, were to find these conditions so very difficult to cope with too. Cue Tipton to try to take the initiative, hardly expecting to rescue the game, such was the massive deficit, but, at least to garner some pride with a meritorious fightback. On 53 mins. Scott Broadway, surging through the home club’s central defence forced the ball home, giving Tipton a smidgeon of pride at least, if nothing else. 4-1.

Rejuvenated , if only for a spell, Tipton attacked in numbers, Wren’s Nest now finding difficulty in clearing the ball effectively when facing the gale-force wind and rain, the deteriorating surface conditions most clearly hampering their efforts too. 59 mins arrived and the first hints of panic in the Wren’s Nest defence as a couple of inswinging flag-kicks penned them right back. Yet another swirling cross into the home club’s penalty area was spectacularly met by Rob Hill, his quite superbly flighted overhead kick literally leaving the open-mouthed home defenders gasping.  4-2.

Suddenly with their spirits re-energised Tipton strove manfully for further riches, TJ Davies’s sinewy runs and rapid changes of direction now clearly unsettling the home defence time and again, helped in no small way by Ben Store and skipper, Sam Hesson with unfailing commitment too from Andrew Dicken, Lleyton Gould and Alex Norris. Soon afterwards Scott Broadway’s sheer strength and willpower muscled his way through the home club’s by now nervy defence, cottoning onto a fine crossfield pass from skipper, Hesson before driving home to set the alarm bells tolling for Wren’s Nest. 4-3. Once again Broadway gave Tipton some pride and hope, finding the net again to record his hat-trick and equalise the scores in this topsy-turvy contest   4-4

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As the clock ran inexorably down the home club, Wren’s Nest, seemed certain to finally snaffle the points when Sam Bratt-Wytton netted a fifth goal for them, surely now enough to secure all three points with full-time so near. 5-4. Not so, for the visitors simply refused to be defeated, launching a do or die attempt that rang the bells for them Scott Broadway netting his fourth strike of the afternoon to help his club salvage a most worthy point. 5-5.

John A. Cross

President, Tipton Town F.C.