FT: Plymouth Parkway 2 (Lane 28, Williams 70) Exmouth Town 0
Parkway, looking to follow up Saturday’s victory at Hallen, entertained Devon neighbours Exmouth Town in their first home league game of the season in front of an almost sell out crowd of 293. One change was made with Ryan Richards replacing the unfortunate Steve Colwell who suffered a broken ankle on Saturday.
Parkway made a positive start at a high tempo forcing a couple of early corners and they almost took the lead on 8 minutes with a sharp effort from Richards being blocked at point blank range by Robbie Powell in the Exmouth goal. Parkway began to dominate possession looking to switch play regularly and get their wide players into the game however at times their final ball lacked precision and penetration.
On 12 minutes Exmouth’s first attack saw a header comfortably saved by Kyle Moore. With Parkway looking to maintain their shape, they continued to move the ball quickly through midfield and on 16 minutes a swift interchange saw a Callum Hall shot blocked. On 18 minutes a direct, dazzling run from Harrison Davis saw him glide past a couple of players only for his angled shot to be well saved by Powell.
With the pressure mounting, a fine back to front move started by Rob Farkins saw four first time passes quickly find Ryan Lane wide on the left with the move being halted by a foul on Lane. With River Allen and Billy Palfrey prompting and probing from midfield, Parkway continued in the ascendancy and on 22 minutes another blistering run from Davis saw his shot from distance smothered by Powell at the second attempt. Exmouth continued to come under pressure but their defence which had held firm was finally breached on 28 minutes. More good build up play along the right saw the effervescent Davis deliver a pinpoint cross to the far post where Lane stole in unmarked to cleverly finish from close range.
Parkway continued to control the game against a dogged Exmouth and from another free kick on 32 minutes Allen fizzed his effort narrowly wide. Exmouth gradually forced their way back into the game gaining a couple of corners and free kicks with their main threat looking to come from a set play. On 35 minutes a long ball from Farkins found Palfrey in the clear but his 25 yard effort flew harmlessly over.
Exmouth’s Tom Gardner saw his header from another corner clear the bar on 41minutes and from a 25 yard free kick through a crowded 18 yard box Moore, seeing the ball late, made a smart save. Just before half time a Parkway corner saw Farkins head into the side netting before their final incisive break from midfield ended with Hall seeing his angled shot comfortably saved by Powell.
An impressive half from Parkway who were good value for their lead which could have been more had their final delivery been better and their finishing more clinical. Exmouth looked dangerous at set pieces but were largely on the back foot but defended strongly with Powell making some vital saves. Parkway started the second half in similar vein and on 50 minutes yet another Davis run and cross was deflected for a corner which resulted in a Parkway header going just over.
Exmouth made an early change with Ben Steer replacing Alfie Mahon on 53 minutes with Jordan Harris picking up the game’s first yellow card on 55 minutes. Parkway continued to create half chances with a more determined Exmouth proving harder to break down and pressing strongly in midfield and slowing the tempo of the game. On the hour Michael Landricombe received a yellow card as Parkway, looking to play out from the back, began to create their own problems with their poor ball retention as Exmouth began to frustrate and look the more dangerous.
Mark Lever replaced Callum Shipton for Exmouth on 65 minutes and with Parkway losing their discipline and control, an Exmouth break on 66 minutes saw Aaron Denny fire just wide when well placed followed shortly by another effort with Moore pulling off a fine stop. Palfrey then picked up a yellow card as Parkway began to lose their shape with Exmouth forcing the pace going forward and remaining strong at the back. However it was Parkway who increased their lead on 70 minutes.
More good link up play along the right between Palfrey and Davis saw the latter deliver a telling cross which, after a scramble in the 6 yard box, ended with Mikey Williams bundling home from close range. Williams was almost immediately replaced by Luke Mortimore as Parkway looked to regain their shape and control. Exmouth made their final change on 72 minutes with Tim Bradshaw replacing Mike Humphreys. Play now began to open up and become more even as Exmouth continued to compete well and drive forward. On 75 minutes a surging run by Lane along the left saw his final ball overhit and fly harmlessly behind. Lane seemed to have overstretched and as a precaution was replaced by Jordan Bentley who slotted in at right back with the versatile Davis moving across to the left. Exmouth continued to push forward and a dangerous cross on 78 minutes flashed across the 6 yard area with no one able to get a final touch.
An Exmouth fee kick from 20 yards went straight to Moore as Parkway continued to come under some pressure. Parkway made their final change on 82 minutes with Matt Wright being replaced by Bradley Ausden as they looked to see the game out. With play now becoming fractious, Exmouth’s Dave Rowe received a yellow card on 89 minutes for a foul on the edge of the 18 yard box with the free kick being easily cleared. With the game seemingly petering out, 3 minutes into stoppage time a reckless and totally needless challenge by Allen caused a multi player melee which, once sorted, saw an unarguable straight red card for Allen with Exmouth substitute Bradshaw receiving the same fate for his retaliatory reaction to the challenge. A minute later Hall received a yellow card as the game ended in a messy manner.
After an exceptional first half display by Parkway in which their overall dominance lacked only the final cutting edge, they lost their way for a period midway through the second half with Exmouth far stronger and organised than in the first. Always vulnerable with just a single goal lead, their loss of discipline and control could have cost Parkway the three points but their second goal came as a welcome relief as they dug in to make it two wins out of two. They will look to build on their encouraging start with a rearranged fixture brought forward from late October at Chipping Sodbury this Saturday.