Result: Partington Rovers 6-1 Sale Amateurs (Altrincham & District League)
Venue: Moss View Road (Wednesday 10th May, 6.15pm)
Att: 45 (approx.)
I entered the final week of my 2016-’17 season with just the two games remaining on the schedule. First up came Partington Rovers, who play in the Altrincham & District League and as at Orford vs Windle Labour the previous Saturday, they are another team coming to the end of their first season at a new level. So, without further ado, let’s get into the tale of my trip to Moss View Road…
After meeting Dan at just before five, we headed up on the bus to outside the finely named ground of “The Sty”, home to “The Pigs” of Carrington RUFC. See what they did there?! However, it wasn’t to their ground we were actually headed, but instead we were off to the Windmill Inn, which is just a couple of minutes walk from the bus stop and on the main road.
The Windmill is a real, old, traditional pub with wooden sleepers on the low ceilings and pictures of the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal adorning the walls. It really is worth a visit if you get the chance. Another bonus is the cheapness of the pints in here, the Taddy Lager priced at just £2.35 which was confirmed by the friendly barmaid. You can’t really complain with that can you?! So, we settled in to waste away the half-hour we now had until the next bus came around to take us onwards to the promised land.
After heading back out of the closest pub to the ground (yes, I forgot to mention there isn’t one sole pub in Partington anymore), we arrived back at the bus stop before heading the five minutes up the road. After heading down a couple of small back alleys (and getting slightly lost in doing so), we eventually found ourselves within sight of the ground. The issue then was we were at the rear of it and, with no entrance forthcoming here, we then had to head round to the main entrance where we eventually got into the “Partington Pavilion”. Nope, no idea either.
The ground here is very basic. Bar the couple of community buildings to the right of the pitch and the adjoining changing room block, there is nothing in the way of furniture. The pitch is fully railed off, however, so easily ticks my necessary requirement for a ground. It could probably do with being spruced up a little, as some of the rails were on the verge of (or had already) collapse. However, I do believe it is a public pitch, so…
Anyway, we arrived just a couple of minutes before the game was underway. This one quickly became an open contest, with little defence on show! Indeed it took just a few minutes for the first goal to fly in, Partington’s Joe Shenton seeing a free-kick deflect of the wall and right into his path. He took a touch before firing his shot high into the net to break the deadlock and give the hosts the lead.
The game did settle down after a hectic start, with both sides getting to grips on the weed-filled pitch. However, it would be Partington who would grab a second after around a half-hour, Ryan Mellor breaking clear of the Sale defence before slotting under the advancing ‘keeper. This was celebrated by someone from the Partington ranks on the side lines exclaiming loudly “Dave, you bastard!” in celebration.
The impressive Mellor then added his second almost immediately after the restart, forcing the ball over the line from a couple of yards whilst battling with a defender to get there first. Three-nil to the home side and that was that for the first half.
The break came and went in triple-quick time (it was about four minutes) and we were back underway. Again, it didn’t take long for the net to be rippling again and it was that man Mellor who completed his hat-trick, benefiting from a tackle in the area to slot into the bottom corner with ease. The visitors, who sat second prior to the game, still maintained slight title aspirations, but they were seeing them snuffed out with some authority this evening.
After having a quick chat with Partington’s Warren Collier, who Dan and myself know somewhat from his time at Trafford, we watched on as Sale grabbed a goal back from the spot. A handball on the goal-line, though it was unintentional which probably helped him in terms of repercussions, saw the ref have little hesitation in giving the penalty and up stepped #9 to fire in.
The goal-fest in the sun didn’t end there as Partington continued on unabated and grabbed a couple more to add gloss to the score-line. Firstly, a good ball in from the right-flank saw Dean Ashford collect the ball at the far post, the winger having all the time in the world to pick his spot and find the net, before Jake Pollard, who for me was the best player on the pitch with regard to his control and touch, got a deserved goal for himself. Again it was the Sale defence who were static and Pollard burst clear and side-footed beyond the beleaguered visiting custodian.
So the score read 6-1 with around fifteen to play, but there was to be no further addition to the score, though Sale somehow spurned a chance to make it look a bit better for them in the last-minute. One of their forwards missed a good chance before the rebound fell to a team-mate and the ball looked destined for the net. However, a pure air-kick from said team-mate saw the ball able to be cleared for a corner. After the set-piece was also cleared by the home defence, full-time arrived, Sale’s season came to an end and our own season’s final whistle grew ever closer.
The five-minute walk through the back streets saw us back on the main road for the bus back home, where we went our separate ways, with me actually getting home first for once! So a decent enough day was had in the end, with the threat of an end of season walkover being non-existent. Phew.
As for the game itself, Partington did look very good and completely belied their mid-table (7th) position. Sale Amateurs, on the other hand, did look out classed in all areas which was a little strange, but nothing too out of the ordinary this late in the season.
Anyway, all roads now lead to the final footballing Saturday, before the willow and leather returns…
Value For Money: 9