Tipton Town 1-3 Sikh Hunters
By Aaron Muffett
Lovatt's Lions start 2019 with three points
Sikh Hunters got 2019 off to a winning start on Saturday as they defeated Tipton Town 3-1 at Tipton Sports Academy, making it four consecutive wins in the process.
Unsurprisingly given their recent run, the Hunters starting line up was unchanged however there was a return to the bench for winger Dan Aldred following a lengthy absence through injury.
Hunters started the game well and had more of the ball in the opening exchanges however it was the hosts who carved out a couple of goalscoring opportunities with goalkeeper Liam Haynes making an impressive double save on one occasion to keep the game goalless. Ben Lawley then went close for Hunters with a header from a Sanjay Malhi corner and moments later the visitors had the lead. Alex Brogan whipped in a free kick from out wide onto the head of Tyrone Atkinson, who got up well to put the ball into the bottom corner with great precision for his 16th goal of the season.
The goal seemed to deflate Tipton somewhat and Justin Nisbett almost made it 2-0 shortly after with a snapshot on the turn however the home goalkeeper made a decent save. Moments later, a lightning counter attack following a Tipton free kick saw Hunters with a three on one. Hinesh Patel played the ball into Justin Nisbett however his heavy touch allowed the Tipton defender to make a strong challenge to restrict the damage to a Hunters corner.
Into the second half and although the home side hustled and bustled to get back into the game, it always seemed like Hunters had another gear or two to go into if required. Haynes made another solid save after a Tipton free kick into the box fell to their striker around 12 yards out and it proved to be the turning point as three minutes later, Hunters doubled their lead. Patel going on one of his customary runs before laying the ball into the ball of Dan Jones, who waited for the keeper to go down before delightfully dinking the ball over him for his third goal in two games.
Tipton, to their credit, were still trying to make something happen however this seemed to play into the away sides hands as they looked menacing on the counter attack time and again, spurning a number of chances to kill the game. Atkinson missed his kick at a presentable opportunity after good work from Nisbett down the left before substitute Aldred was denied a dream return to the fold by a combination of goalkeeper and post after a header at the far post.
The third goal for Hunters finally came in the dying minutes as some questionable play at the back from the home side coupled with some fantastic pressing from the visitors so late in the game saw substitute Mitch Lawley play in Nisbett who had all the time in the world to pick his spot and make it 3-0 from 10 yards.
There was still time for Tipton to grab a consolation goal virtually straight from the kick off but it did little to take the gloss off a good win for Hunters and another precious three points.
Hunters are on the road again this Saturday as they travel to Willenhall Town for another league fixture. Kick off is at 3pm.