Sale FC Pick Up Five

Sale began 2023 looking to cement their place at the top of National League One with mid-table Plymouth Albion the visitors to Heywood Road.

The dogs were in front after less than 5 minutes when Josh Brown scored from the base of a rolling maul and they extended that lead shortly afterwards when Mark Dixon threw an outrageous back handed pass for Nev Edwards to collect and sprint around the defender; James Robins converting both. 14-0

Rather than wilting under the early scores, the visitors came roaring back with two converted tries from full back, Thomas Putt, and they then took the lead in the 28th minute when Michael Stupple went in unopposed in the corner. 14-21

Undaunted, the blue and whites levelled matters with a try from Fergus Mulchrone after good work from Nev Edwards; James Robins adding the extras. 21-21

With time ebbing away in the first 40, the dogs regained the lead as Tom Walsh won the foot race to collect Matt Bradley’s superb chip over the defence and dive over. HT 26-21

The second half began with the boys firmly on the front foot and they were soon on the scoresheet again as Josh Brown crossed the whitewash for his 12th try of the season. 33-21

The see-saw nature of the game continued as the men from Devon made use of their rolling maul for James Salter to crash over before Tom Walsh blasted through the defensive line for his second of the game. 40-28

With less than 10 minutes left, Albion were awarded a penalty try as the maul was adjudged to have been stopped illegally by James Robins who was promptly shown a yellow card. 40-35

With supporters’ nerves jangling, the 14 men went on the offensive, winning a 5m lineout and driving to the line for Oli Longmore to secure the bonus point win. 45-35

A belter of a game to open the new year with the visitors more than playing their part but the dogs came through to remain top of the pile.