Parkway rally to create club history in the FA Cup

Fans would fear the worst after Parkway shipped two first half goals but they would be in for a thrilling finale writes Graham Lloyd…

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Full Time
Graham Lloyd

Full Match Report

Parkway travelled to fellow Southern Premier League South side North Leigh (near Oxford) knowing a victory would create club history and see them into the 3rd round qualifying of the FA Cup for the very first time. Two changes were made from Tuesday’s Devon Bowl win over Exeter City with Kyle Moore returning in goal in place of Jake Mead-Crebbin and Callum Rose starting in place of Reece Shanley who was among the 4 substitutes.

Prior to kick off a moving tribute by the stadium announcer over the PA system was made as a mark of respect to the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II followed by an impeccably observed one minutes silence.


On a sloping pitch, a cagey opening spell saw both sides feeling each other out with the first chance falling to Parkway on 8 minutes. A dangerous cross from Ryan Lane on the left forced a corner from which Rose, rising highest at the far post, saw his header well saved low down by Adam North.

The hosts with the tricky Amer Awadh prominent in midfield gradually began to dictate the pace of the game and they took the lead on 18 minutes, A free kick swung in from wide on the right saw central defender Luke Carnell glance his header from around 6 yards wide of Moore into the far corner.

Parkway were struggling to retain possession in midfield with their final ball lacking quality and direction with the hosts defending well and generally controlling the game and they doubled their lead on 23 minutes. A break along the left saw the ball played into Roger James some 30 yards out whose low shot took an awkward bounce just in front of Moore who was unable to prevent the ball crossing the line.

Parkway looking to recover started to push forward with Lane and Tyler Ashmead in the wide areas making inroads but the home side continued to defend well with North looking comfortable under the high ball.

On 27 minutes Parkway forced a couple of corners with a Michael Landricombe header being blocked on the line and scrambled away to safety. With Parkway coming into the game more, on 35 minutes a determined run forward by Mikey Williams set up Billy Palfrey whose shot was comfortably saved by North.

However it was North Leigh who almost increased their lead further on 36 minutes with the elusive Awadh going clear along the left with his deep cross finding Aaron McCreadie whose shot from around 10 yards smacked against the crossbar and down with the loose ball being cleared away. Palfrey then saw a speculative lobbed effort from around 45 yards fly harmlessly over the back-pedalling North as Parkway continued to look for a way back into the game.

The hosts continued to compete and defend well frustrating Parkway who despite having their fair share of possession were unable to penetrate a solid North Leigh back line and occasionally being guilty of lacking composure and clear decision making in the final third.

Approaching half time Ben Seymour did well to create space and turned sharply to shoot just over with Lane also shooting over on 44 minutes after good approach play by the impressive Rose who had linked well with Rio Garside.

The end of the half saw a flurry of activity in the Parkway 18 yard area with Moore pushing an effort from McCreadie behind for a corner after more good work by Awadh. Moore was then was forced into a close range double save both with his feet after Parkway were unable to clear the corner with the loose ball cannoning around in the 6 yard area with the visitors relieved to hear the half time whistle shortly after.

A fairly even half possession wise with the hosts taking their chances and Parkway unable to convert theirs leaving themselves much to do in the 2nd half.

Now playing down the slope and with a change of formation and shape at half time, Parkway started the half the sharper playing at a higher tempo and pressing well with Landricombe heading just wide of the far post from a free kick on 47 minutes. The hosts responded immediately with a Jordan Thomas cross from the right just evading the incoming McCreadie at the far post. Play continued to switch from end to end with Seymour just beaten to a long ball by North on 49 minutes followed by Levi Steele pulling a shot just wide for the hosts on 52 minutes when he probably should have done better.

With Parkway now pressing high, they grabbed a lifeline on 55 minutes. A quick throw in on the left found Seymour who cleverly set up Palfrey who drilled a low first time strike into the bottom corner from around 30 yards. The goal seemed to galvanise Parkway and unsettle the hosts with Steele seeing yellow on 62 minutes as the Parkway pressure intensified with Austen Booth firing just over from 18 yards after the hosts failed to clear a corner. On 65 minutes good link up play along the left between Williams and Lane saw a telling cross reach Seymour who was adjudged to have strayed narrowly offside just before getting the final touch. With Parkway now dictating the pace of the game, dominating possession and restricting the hosts to counter attacks, they drew level on 71 minutes. A well flighted free kick from the right by Lane saw Jared Lewington timing his run well to glance his header wide of North. Jack Crago immediately replaced the industrious Garside. North Leigh were now forced to push forward more as they looked to regain their lead and on 73 minutes a counter attack saw James go clear but fire wildly over with the imposing Rose then being cautioned for a foul as the hosts upped their intensity.

Play began to open up with neither side seemingly settling for a replay with both searching for a 3rd goal. Awadh shot just over when well placed on 80 minutes followed by Booth seeing his effort well saved by North on 82 minutes. Parkway had another let off on 85 minutes when a free kick to the far post was headed back into the danger area with Steele’s shot from around 12 yards hitting the bar and being cleared away. With the hosts now looking more threatening, Moore then saved well from a close range effort with Parkway forced to defend in numbers. Approaching 4 minutes of stoppage time Crago raced clear along the right with his cross shot touched behind by North at full stretch for another corner.

With a replay now looking almost inevitable, for the 2nd successive cup tie Parkway snatched victory at the death. On 93 minutes a powerful header in behind the hosts defence from Booth saw the speedy Seymour outpace the last defender and just beat the advancing North to the ball and bravely and coolly lob into the empty net from around 15 yards before colliding with the burly keeper. Parkway saw out the remaining minute to record a hard earned but ultimately deserved victory despite occasionally riding their luck with the woodwork and some wayward finishing by the hosts aiding their cause.

An enthralling, hard fought game with Parkway again showing their grit, resilience and determination by recovering from 2 goals down at the break and extending their unbeaten run to 4 games, albeit all in cup ties. It is hoped the momentum can now be built upon and be taken into their league programme which continues next Saturday when they travel to Hampshire to meet Hartley Wintney who currently lie 19th in the league, 2 places above Parkway. Before then they will eagerly await news of the draw for next round which is due to be published at 1pm on Tuesday.

Match Info

NORTH LEIGH 2 (Carnell 18, James 23)

PARKWAY 3 (Palfrey 55, Lewington 71, Seymour 90+3)



1 Moore, 2 Ashmead, 3 Lane, 4 Booth, 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe ©, 7 Williams, 8 Palfrey, 9 Seymour, 10 Lewington, 11 Garside (Crago 71)

Substitutes: 12 Shanley (unused), 14 Crago, 15 Goulty (unused), 16 Mead-Crebbin (gk) (unused)

North Leigh:

1 North, 3 Hopkins (Dore 87), 4 Nash, 5 Carnell ©, 6 Brown, 7 James, 8 McCreadie (Wright 87), 9 Steele, 11 Thomas, 17 Alexander, 20 Awadh

Substitutes: 2 Isherwood (unused), 10 Alves (unused|), 12 Dobson (unused|), 14 Wright, 15 Heap (unused), 16 Dore, 19 Gunn (unused|)

Attendance: 170


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