Sale Men's 2s pile the hurt on Alderley Edge 6s
By Mahinda Kularatne
You can only beat the team in front of you.
Disappointed by a postponed glamour tie against 2nd placed Knutsford, Sale regrouped to take on an Alderley Edge side who'd suddenly put together a run of good results -- since Christmas they'd gone P3 W3, having managed a mighty P11 W1 D0 L10 during the first half of the season. The victories even included beating high-flying Stockport Bramhall 2s. Something was up.
It turned out that Alderley had swapped the kids in their 6th XI, who were getting rather demoralised, with the 7s -- the oldies who were playing a division below. This wasn't going to be an easy match.
Sure enough, on a beautiful day at The Edge, some good interplay put Alderley 1-0 up early on. Were the league leaders suffering from vertigo? Basic errors abounded on a bouncy pitch. Thankfully Sale finally found what they were looking for and scored an equaliser -- through Ian Ellis, of course. Unfortunately the momentum was short-lived, with skipper Adam "Kiwi" McCarthy taking the ball off keeper Sam Hey's toes to score a deft own goal. Thankfully that man Ellis was on hand again to save his blushes with another opportunistic equaliser, this time scooping in a loose ball after a penalty corner.
2-2 at half time and nerves were setting in. This match wasn't going to be a pushover, with Alderley putting all their experience to good use. Sale made a few tweaks and rolled up their sleeves. Sure enough, Kiwi made amends for his own goal by tipping in after a mighty short corner strike from Simon "Feg" Bradbury. 3-2. Not to be outdone, Ian Ellis completed his hat trick with a sweet reverse tap-in after a sweet ball in from Danny Rowley-Thorne on the left. 4-2. Alderley were tiring, and Feg completed the scoring with a beautifully-timed strike off a Lionel Robinson pass from the right wing. He turned and celebrated without breaking stride -- it was the sweetest thing, leaving the home side numb. 5-2 the final score, to Sale.
Ian Ellis won MotM for his hat trick and generally running the Alderley defence ragged.