Barnstaple Town v Plymouth Parkway | Match Report & Highlights

A professional away performance at Mill Road makes it 13 wins from 14 for Parkway

0 - 4
Full Time
Graham Lloyd

Full Match Report

Images: Tom Finnie

After Saturday’s convincing 4-0 win over Mangotsfield United and a short rest and recovery period, Parkway travelled to already relegated Barnstaple Town looking to maintain their title challenge. With Finley Craske unavailable and retained by parent club Plymouth Argyle, one change was made with Matt Andrew replacing Billy Palfrey who was among the substitutes along with Harrison Davis returning after recovering from injury and Gabby Rogers returning in place of Shane Krac. Among the attendance of 378, around 120 were from Parkway with many of those being youngsters experiencing their first away day. I think they enjoyed it!

In a strong wind blowing along the pitch the game got off to a frantic start with neither side able to retain possession or get into a rhythm as they struggled to come to terms with the blustery conditions. The first chance came on 12 minutes with Ryan Lane and Jack Crago exchanging passes along the left and a shot being blocked. Play continued to be scrappy with too many loose and over or under hit passes with neither side able to gain control.

On 18 minutes a Jamie Lowry quality free kick was whipped across the 6 yard area with no one able to get a final touch. Parkway gradually began to gain control of the midfield with the hosts content to clear long balls out of defence against the wind with the Parkway central defensive pair of Callum Rose and Michael Landricombe looking composed and creating a formidable barrier with their no nonsense style of defending which they have done for much of the season. On 21 minutes a neat link between Williams and Carter saw Williams curling effort comfortably saved by Lloyd Irish. Play became attritional and lacking any real quality with the ball spending more time going backwards and forwards in the air with neither side able to build any momentum or string many passes together.

Few chances from open play were being created and it was no surprise when the opening goal by Parkway on 23 minutes came from a set piece. A corner from the right to the far post was headed back into the 6 yard area by Rose with Adam Carter diverting his own header on to the cross bar with Williams completing the trio of headers by nodding home the loose ball from close range.

Play continued to be scrappy and broken up by a series of niggly fouls with no real flow to the game. On 28 minutes an angled free kick from 25 yards by Lane towards the top corner crashed against the bar and behind for a goal kick with Parkway claiming Irish had finger tipped it over. With Parkway beginning to dominate possession, Matt Andrew received lengthy treatment after a hefty challenge in midfield. The game continued to lack quality or any pattern in a congested midfield with defences on top and neither keeper being tested. Another delay saw Carter receive treatment after falling awkwardly and approaching half time Parkway were forced into two injury substitutions. On 40 minutes Palfrey replaced Andrew who was unable to continue followed shortly by Rogers replacing Carter who limped off straight to the dressing room. On 45 minutes a neat exchange between Palfrey and Williams saw Palfrey’s shot blocked and in stoppage time Parkway doubled their lead from another set piece. A corner from the right deep to the far post reached Crago who timed his jump to perfection to plant a firm header into the roof of the net.

A stop start half with plenty of endeavour but lacking any great quality and little creativity in open play with Parkway generally improving as the game progressed and making the most of a couple of set plays. Kyle Moore remained fairly untroubled with the Parkway defence dealing comfortably with the sporadic Barnstaple attacks.

An early second half Barnstaple attack saw Moore comfortably gather a close range header with the hosts Adam Hill then receiving the game’s first yellow card. With Parkway now playing against the wind, on 48 minutes another Lowry free kick found Landricombe at the far post whose powerful header was headed away from close to the goal line. With Parkway now beginning to gain control in midfield and stretch the hosts, on 50 minutes Williams released Crago, now playing as a central striker, who pulled his shot narrowly wide. Rose saw yellow on 55 minutes as play continued at a pace with the hosts continuing to look to play long balls on the wind behind the Parkway back line who continued to defend well. On 57 minutes a Barnstaple header was glanced just wide from a corner on the right as they looked to get back into the game. However their task became even harder around the hour mark when Callum Laird was shown a straight red card for petulantly bundling Crago into the advertising hoardings in an off the ball incident. Ashley Mitchell immediately replaced Tor Swann for the hosts as they looked to reorganise.

With Parkway now the more dominant side, on 61 minutes Crago chased a long ball through the centre, won a 50/50 challenge and shot just over from 20 yards. Rogers who was beginning to cause Barnstaple problems with his trickery and alertness then hit a fine volley from around 20 yards which was well saved by Irish. The keeper was called into action again on 69 minutes when more good work by Rogers down the left set up Palfrey whose effort from around 25 yards was comfortably saved.

The game continued to lack too much quality with Barnstaple’s main attacking threat being a series of long balls and long throws in into their final third with the Parkway defence continuing to look solid in countering the threat. Against the host’s 10 men Parkway were beginning to exploit the space along their left flank with Rogers and Hall combining well and playing the most incisive football of the game and getting in behind the Barnstaple back line. On 81 minutes one such move saw Rogers get to the bye line but just overhit his low cross. Ryan Turner then saw yellow after contesting a loose ball with Moore as Barnstaple continued to launch long balls forward but were unable to penetrate the Parkway defence.

With Parkway now playing their most fluent football of the game, they increased their lead on 84 minutes. A searching ball from midfield by Hall picked out Rogers wide on the left who cleverly played in the overlapping Hall who had continued his run and unerringly fired his low shot into the bottom right hand corner across the advancing Irish. A quality move and finish.

Ashton Hewitt was replaced by Archie Reay for the hosts on 85 minutes and with Parkway not content to sit back, another sweeping move along the left between Rogers and Hall saw the ball crossed into Crago who set up Palfrey who shot just wide. On 90 minutes Jacob Smith replaced the influential Lowry as Parkway continued on the offensive with Hall and Williams linking well in stoppage time to set up Crago whose shot was blocked.

Parkway rounded the game off in style in the 93rd minute when another penetrating move along the left saw Lane outpace his marker and reach the bye line with Irish parrying the cross but only as far as Williams who touched the ball on to Crago who hooked his shot home from around 15 yards.

A scrappy affair for much of the game with Parkway adapting well after overcoming having to make 2 first half injury substitutions with their quality ultimately coming to the fore in the second half to seal a hard earned victory against hard working, tough opponents who were not helped by being reduced to 10 men.

With Frome Town winning 2-1 today, Parkway maintain their 3 point advantage at the top of the table but now with an improved goal difference of plus 8. With third from bottom Cinderford Town the visitors to Bolitho Park for the final game of the season on Saturday, it would surely take an implosion of biblical proportions if Parkway were not to clinch back to back titles and gain promotion for a second successive season. A remarkable achievement at any level should it happen.

Worth noting is to get to where they are today, since the 26th February and playing Saturday/Tuesday/Saturday/Tuesday for much of that period, Parkway have played 14 games (8 home, 6 away) winning 13 and losing just the 1, scoring 35 goals and conceding 8 (3 in 1 game) and kept 9 clean sheets.

Line ups:

Barnstaple:  1 Irish, 2, Laird, 3 Haste, 5, Stephens, 5 Hill, 6 Montague, 7 Hewitt (Reay), 8 (Mitchell), Swann, 9 Ormrod, 10, Turner, 11 Tucker ©

Substitutes: 12 Lilley(unused|), 14 Reay, 15 Wheatley(unused), 16 Perkins(unused), 17 A. Mitchell


1 Moore, 2 E. Mitchell, 3 Lane, 4 Lowry (Smith 90), 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe ©, 7 Williams, 8 Andrew, 20 Carter, 10 Hall, 11 Crago.

Substitutes:  12 Davis (unused|), 13 Duffey (gk) (unused, 14 Palfrey, 15 Rogers, 16 Smith

Parkway Database

Sign Up Now

Join the club.

Become a member of the Plymouth Parkway Football Club database and get access to tickets, match details and promotions first.