BIDEFORD AFC v Plymouth Parkway | Match Report & Highlights

shortest away journey of the season for Parkway

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Graham Lloyd

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Parkway made their shortest away journey of the season (106 mile round trip), a midweek visit to Bideford looking to continue their recent good run and remain in contention for a playoff place. The starting line-up was unchanged from their last game, last Tuesday’s 4-1 home victory over Barnstaple Town.

Bideford made a sharp start looking compact in midfield and pressing high with Parkway unable to impose themselves in the early stages. However it was Parkway who created the first chance on 7 minutes with Tom Bath latching on to a long ball only to hit his angled drive straight at Adam Seedhouse-Evans in the home goal. With Bideford set up to compress the midfield and look to stifle the Parkway engine room by closing down and pressing at every opportunity, play became fragmented with neither side able to gain control or create much going forward. Bideford looking to play on the counter forced the game’s first corner on 20 minutes followed by a period of pressure which saw Kai Fisher’s header from a free kick on 22 minutes comfortably saved by Kyle Moore. Parkway gradually worked their way into the game with Ethan Mitchell, Matt Andrew and Billy Palfrey beginning to dominate in midfield and looking to create openings and stretch the play. Bideford however continued to compete well, proving hard to break down and managing to disrupt Parkway’s passing and moving rhythm with their closing down and pressing.

On 27 minutes Parkway created their first clear cut chance with Palfrey going clear on the left and crossing into the danger area with Andrew slicing his sliding effort just wide from close range. Parkway began to stretch the game by looking to get down both flanks and on 32 minutes an exchange of passes along the right between the impressive Finley Craske and the tricky Gabby Rogers set up Palfrey whose low shot was well saved. The hosts continued to battle hard with the Parkway defence holding firm against their occasional attacks and a number of long throw ins. On 34 minutes a low drive from around 15 yards by Joe Charles was well saved by Moore who quickly released Callum Rose who made a strong run forward with his final ball picking out Bath who was unable to get his shot away. Approaching half time Bath received the game’s first yellow card for apparent simulation in the penalty area. Parkway ended the half strongly and took the lead on 44 minutes with a slightly fortuitous goal. A smart passage of link up play between Andrew and Mitchell released Ryan Lane along the left with his first time deep cross on the run to the far post deceiving Seedhouse-Evans who under no pressure failed to gather the ball cleanly allowing it to drop just over the line behind him. From the kick off Parkway carelessly conceded possession in midfield allowing Bideford to break clear only to be halted by a timely covering tackle by Rose.

A half lacking too much quality and of few clear chances for either side with the battling hosts frustrating Parkway by denying them time and space in a congested midfield with both defences remaining solid with neither keeper being unduly tested.

Parkway started the second half at a high tempo and almost doubled their lead on 48 minutes. A free kick into the 18 yard area was hooked back into the 6 yard area by Rose with Mikey Williams just failing to get a final touch at the far post. Parkway continued to pressure the hosts back line with the keeper slicing his clearance behind for a corner which was comfortably defended. On 55 minutes a long ball in behind the Parkway defence saw Moore race from his area forcing Charles Hanson to go wide with Michael Landricombe reading the danger and making a timely covering tackle. Bideford continued to threaten on the counter and on 58 minutes a header by James Mayne from a well-directed free kick flew just over. Palfrey then saw yellow for a heavy challenge as play continued to be a battle in midfield. Bideford continued to defend strongly with the imposing Fisher winning the majority of the aerial exchanges and 50/50 challenges in a no nonsense manner.

Harrison Davis replaced the hard working Rogers on the hour and almost made an immediate impact. A strong run forward by Craske on 61 minutes saw the ball played wide to the pacey Davis whose angled shot from around 15 yards was deflected behind. Parkway continued to dominate possession and a deep cross from Davis on 66 minutes found Williams who headed narrowly over.

The hosts made a double substitution on 67 minutes with Matt Buchan and Louis Jagger-Crane replacing Ben Wood and Hanson respectively. Buchan was quickly into the game and got the equalising goal on 68 minutes with virtually his first touch. A free kick from the right was not fully cleared with the ball finding its way to the far post where the unmarked Buchan hooked home from close range. With both sides continuing to play with intensity, Parkway replaced Bath with Adam Carter on 73 minutes as they went searching for a second goal. Bideford continued to frustrate and compete well with Aaron Taylor picking up a yellow card as Parkway pushed forward probing an opening but still unable to test Seedhouse-Evans.

Parkway’s persistence and patience finally paid off on 80 minutes as they retook the lead. A quality delivery from a free kick on the right by Lane saw substitute Carter rise highest in a crowded 6 yard area and power his header into the top corner. On 81 minutes Parkway injected fresh legs for the closing stages with Callum Hall replacing Andrew who once again had been influential in midfield. Saddam Bello replaced Taylor for the hosts shortly after as they pushed players forward forcing a couple of corners and free kicks with Parkway now defending in numbers. On 83 minutes Alex Moyse volleyed just over from the around 20 yards after a corner had not been fully cleared. With Parkway looking to manage to game out and retain possession, Bideford continued to push forward and from another free kick on 88 minutes Bello’s close range header in the crowded 6 yard area appeared to hit the base of the post with Moore reacting smartly to smother the loose ball. Parkway managed to ride out the 6 minutes of stoppage time with Craske making another timely challenge to stunt the final Bideford attack.

Not a classic but a competitive, closely fought game of few clear cut chances between two well organised and highly motivated sides. Parkway’s persistence and patience finally paid off in a game of fine margins with a set piece ultimately deciding the outcome. Credit to Bideford whose game plan pushed Parkway all the way and never allowed them to settle or be at their best. However good sides invariably find a way of winning and Parkway proved that tonight with once again the substitutes making valuable contributions.

The 3 points see Parkway remain in 6th place but gain ground on all teams above them having between 3 and 5 games in hand on them with 5th placed Bristol Manor Farm just 4 points ahead but having played 5 games more.

Parkway now have a crucial encounter on Saturday when 4th placed Winchester City, who are also 4 points ahead but have played 4 games more, are the visitors to Bolitho Park. The reverse midweek fixture ended in a 3-3 draw with Parkway playing with 10 men for 70 minutes, coming from behind 3 times with the stoppage time drama of Moore saving a penalty and Palfrey equalising from the spot in the 96th minute. Should be fun then! Hold tight!

Lineups:

Bideford: 1 Seedhouse-Evans, 2 Heeney, 3 Byrne, 4 Charles, 5 Mayne ©, 6 Fisher, 7 Nancekivell, 8 Moyse, 9 Hanson (Jagger-Cane 67), 10 Taylor (Bello 82), 11 Wood (Buchan 67)

Substitutes: 12 Buchan, 14 Piper (unused), 15 Jagger-Cane, 16 Davey (unused), 17 Bello

Parkway: 1 Moore, 2 Craske, 3 Lane, 4 Mitchell, 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe ©, 7 Williams, 8 Palfrey, 9 Bath (Carter 73), 10 Andrew (Hall 81), 11 Rogers (Davis 60)

Substitutes: 12 Davis, 14 Hall, 15 Smith (unused), 16 Bentley (unused), 20 Carter