By Keith Brookman
Joe Partington’s career began with Bournemouth, for whom he made his League bow in February 2008 as a substitute for Marvin Bartley against Luton Town.
His first League goal, when both he and Jo Kuffour scored in stoppage time to record a memorable away win at table topping Swansea City in April 2008, came when he had replaced the former England international Darren Anderton three minutes from time and rendered him the Cherries’ all time youngest League goalscorer.
Despite the ignominy of playing in a 1-0 defeat at Blyth Spartans in the FA Cup, Partington appeared with a degree of regularity for Bournemouth in League One and also enjoyed three loan spells.
He was sent off against Newport County in one of four Conference games with Eastbourne and scored a late equaliser for Aldershot at Hyde in February 2014, his only goal in eight Conference matches before a knee injury, suffered against Dartford, ruled him out for ten months.
A couple of caps for Wales at U-17 level, qualifying through his mother’s side of the family, preceded 11 games and two goals for Wales U-19s and eight caps for theU-21 side, Partington captaining the U-19s against Turkey when aged just 17 and the U-21s against Austria in November 2010 at the Parcy Scarlets.
His time at Eastleigh proved most fruitful, as he developed into a reliable and dependable defensive player, notably giving the Spitfires the lead at Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup in January 2016, and being named as the club’s Player of the Year for 2015/16.
The following campaign, becoming club captain, he took his appearance total for Eastleigh to 79 (+2) Conference matches and six goals, scoring in 2016/17 against Guiseley and Woking.
Having played twice against Rovers, as a substitute for Sammy Igoe in Bournemouth’s Football League Trophy win over Rovers in September 2008 and in the Eastleigh side which won 2-1 at The Mem in the Conference in March 2015, Partington joined Rovers in the January 2017 transfer window.
Joe made his Rovers debut when going on as a second half substitute in the 3-1 defeat at Fleetwood on 14th January 2017.
He scored his first goal for the club in a 3-1 home win against Bradford City on 20th January 2018 and followed that up with goals in the next two home games, against Shrewsbury Town and Rochdale respectively.
He appeared in 30 league games in 2017/18 and another 14 in 2018/19, taking his total league appearances in a Rovers shirt to 53.
His versatility as a holding midfielder and as a right back means he is an asset to any side he plays for.
He was unable to agree new terms with Rovers for the 2019/20 season, Joe returned to Eastleigh in the summer of 2019.
Welcome aboard, Parts!