Captain Ryan Lane leads by example as Parkway pick up the points on home soilPlymouth Parkway v Bracknell Town | Match Report
Playing their first home game for 5 weeks, Parkway entertained 8th placed Bracknell Town with Parkway looking to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 3 games. 4 changes were made from the starting 11 at Ivybridge Town with Shane White, Callum Hall, Oscar Halls and Reece Thomson starting in place of Joe Belsten, Dylan Jones, Callum Rose and Matt Wright. Jack Bray-Evans signed late on Friday was among the 5 substitutes.
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Images: Tom Finnie
Both sides made a fast start, the visitors creating an early chance with Joe Grant firing just over from around 18 yards. On 10 minutes Parkway won a corner on the left after a deflected Callum Hall shot was tipped behind by Dante Baptiste and Jack Crago seeing his free header flash narrowly wide.
Play continued at a frantic pace switching from end to end and it was Parkway who took an early lead. Good build up play along the right released Crago who worked his way along the bye line with some determined play drilling a low cross into the 6 yard area met by the unmarked Ryan Lane at the far post who steered home from close range.
Play developed into a feisty midfield battle with a few robust challenges from both sides but with few scoring chances created.
Parkway looked the more threatening going forward with the visitors defending well and looking to play on the counter. On 22 minutes the visitors George Knight became the first player cautioned after a challenge in midfield as Parkway began to dominate possession and take the game to Bracknell.
On 28 minutes Parkway almost doubled their lead after an Oscar Halls header from a corner on the left created a scramble in the 6 yard area with a combination of the goalkeeper and a defender clearing from close to the goal line.
Parkway continued to control the midfield and on 30 minutes Tom Purrington fired just wide after a strong run from deep. On 32 minutes the visitors Sean Fraser became the 2nd player cautioned with the resultant free kick being cleared only as far as Toby Down who hooked his effort well over.
Play continued with intensity and at a high tempo with Parkway on the front foot and Bracknell struggling to get any flow into their play but it was they who should have drawn level on 38 minutes.
A long clearance from Baptiste along left saw Down do well to chase back and block a shot to concede a corner which was not fully cleared with Nana Owusu mishitting his attempted effort and central defender Darryl Harrison dragging the loose ball narrowly wide from around 8 yards.
Bracknell finished the half the stronger and on 39 minutes a speculative long range effort was comfortably gathered by Adam Parkes who was called into action again soon after and punching a dangerous cross from the right away to safety.
In the 2 minutes of added time Hall became the first Parkway player cautioned with Cameron Sangster doing well to block a shot from the free kick and Down charging down a follow up effort from Elliot Legg.
An evenly contested half with Parkway creating the clearer chances and generally controlling the game and battling well in midfield with Bracknell unable to break down a solid Parkway defence. In a game of few chances Parkway converted their clearest one to go in at the break with a slender lead.
Hall’s yellow card late in the first half probably influenced the decision to replace him with Rio Garside for the second half. Bracknell made the sharper start to the half but it was Parkway who created the first opportunity on 50 minutes with Sangster’s shot from distance being blocked after good link up play with White wide on the right.
Parkway made their second change on 54 minutes with Matt Wright replacing the hard working Reece Thomson. Wright was quickly into the action heading narrowly wide from a free kick from the left on 55 minutes. Play continued to fluctuate with Owusu seeing his angled drive blocked on 56 minutes and Crago picking up a yellow card shortly after. With play continuing to be condensed in midfield and both sides battling to retain quality possession,
Parkway continued to threaten with Bracknell defending well. Jordan Esprit replaced Ben Harris on 56 minutes for the visitors shortly before they were reduced to 10 men with Fraser receiving his marching orders for a second yellow after an unnecessary and silly trip. From the resultant free kick from Garside, Baptiste saved superbly by tipping over with the ball heading for the top corner.
Bracknell then made 2 changes in quick succession on 60 and 62 minutes with Olukayode Osu replacing Owusu and Max Herbert coming on for Knight.
Parkway continued to look the more threatening and on 63 minutes good link up play between White and Crago along the right saw the latter’s dangerous cross fizz across the 6 yard area with no one able to get a final touch. More Parkway pressure along the right saw White and Sangster link well with Bracknell desperately clearing from the danger area.
On 67 minutes Tom Jackson saw yellow for another foul with Jack Bray-Evans then coming on for Crago. Play continued to be keenly contested and on 69 minutes Parkway needlessly conceded possession in midfield allowing Harrison to break clear and make a strong run with White defending well to halt the attack. Bray–Evans on debut looked full of aggressive running, chasing hard and closing down defenders forcing errors and hurried clearances.
Parkway continued to press with Halls header from a corner cleared with Mikey Williams going clear on 73 minutes with his cross narrowly evading the incoming Wright. Wright then turned provider with his cross finding Bray-Evans whose powerful header was tipped over at full stretch by Baptiste who appeared to injure himself in the process.
After a lengthy delay and with both physios in attendance, the unfortunate keeper was stretchered off and with Bracknell having used all 3 substitutes, midfielder Grant went in goal and the game continued with Bracknell having just 9 men.
This seemed to inspire Bracknell who became the more dominant side with Parkway becoming sloppy in possession, conceding territory and giving away too many unnecessary free kicks in dangerous areas with substitute Herbert providing quality deliveries from the set plays.
Parkway continued to be forced back and unable to test the makeshift goalkeeper and on 88 minutes another free kick hoisted into the 18 yard area was hastily cleared.
Unsurprisingly a minimum of 9 minutes stoppage time were added and in the 93rd minute Parkway had a good chance to secure the game with Wright pulling an angled shot from around 15 yards narrowly wide after good work by Williams. Bracknell continued to threaten and almost snatched an equaliser in the 95th minute only to be denied by a superb full length diving stop by Parkes from a close range header for arguably his only real save of the half.
Parkway then managed to hang on for the remaining few minutes to clinch a hard earned win which a few weeks ago they may not have done.
A highly competitive at times feisty and frenetic encounter between two evenly matched sides with Parkway showing battling and gritty qualities to clinch the win.
They defended solidly throughout and with more clinical finishing the winning margin could have been more. However they were unable to take advantage of playing against 9 men and a replacement keeper for the last 20 minutes and just about managed to hold out until the end.
The win sees their unbeaten run extended to 3 games in all competitions with 2 successive clean sheets. Other results on the day have seen Parkway climb 2 places to 18th, one above the drop zone, still with between 1 and 4 games in hand on teams around them.
Parkway now embark a gruelling December with 7 games, 4 of them away with 3 in the London area with visits to Hayes and Yeading followed by Hanwell Town on the next 2 Saturdays before returning to Bolitho Park on Saturday 16 December to face high flying Chesham United.
1 Parkes, 2 White, 3 Lane ©, 4 Sangster, 5 Halls, 6 Down, 7 Williams, 8 Purrington, 9 Thomson (Wright 54), 10 Hall (Garside 46), 11 Crago (Bray-Evans 67)
12 Garside, 14 Bray-Evans, 15 Rose (unused), 16 Jones (unused), 17 Wright
1 Baptiste (off injured 78), 2 Legg, 3 George, 4 Fraser (sent off 57), 5 Harrison, 6 Jackson, 7 Grant, 8 Knight (Herbert 62) 9 Harris (Esprit 56), 10 Lodge ©, 11 Owusu (Osu 60 ),
12 Esprit, 15 Tack (unused), 16 Osu, 17 Herbert, 18 Wilson (unused)
Attendance: 278 (estimate 25 away)