clinical finishing backing up Parkway's incisive approach play and solid defending
Parkway travelled to unbeaten Brislington looking to build on their encouraging start to the season. For various reasons the midfield trio of Shane Krac, River Allen and Steve Colwell were unavailable and 4 changes were made to the starting line up from the midweek goalless draw with Buckland Athletic. Levi Landricombe and Craig Veal started up front in place of Ryan Richards and Matt Wright, Callum Hall came into midfield replacing Nick Hurst and Michael Landricombe moved into midfield with Jordan Bentley replacing him in central defence.
On a bobbly surface and in a swirling wind, Parkway made a fast start with Rob Farkins heading just wide from a corner on 6 minutes. They continued to press and on 8 minutes a slick interchange between Billy Palfrey and Mikey Williams saw the latter release Levi Landricombe who pulled his shot just wide from around 15 yards. Parkway’s early dominance paid off as they took the lead on 9 minutes. A strong run from deep along the right by Harrison Davis saw him cleverly beat two defenders and pull the ball back to Palfrey who finished smartly with a crisp low shot on the turn from around 10 yards.
Brislington began to get into the game and on 11 minutes created their first chance with Farkins heading behind for a corner. They almost equalised on 15 minutes with Mason Dagger finding himself in the clear on the left only for his weak shot to be easily saved by Kyle Moore when he should have done better. Brislington continued to compete well and on 19 minutes a dangerous corner was again well defended by Farkins. Play continued to be fairly even with Palfrey looking sharp in midfield, constantly breaking up play and looking to play simple balls to set up attacking positions with an astute range of short and long range passing. On 25 minutes a neat exchange between Williams and Levi Landricombe saw Williams just beaten to a through ball by the home keeper George Dorrington.
With Parkway looking dangerous down the flanks, on 28 minutes another break along the right involving Davis, Williams and Veal saw the latter’s cross headed narrowly over by Michael Landricombe at the far post. Parkway pressure finally paid off on the half hour when another superb run by Davis exposed the hosts left flank with the mobile Veal’s low cross being turned in from close range at the far post by the supporting Hall. Williams then saw a curling effort go narrowly wide as the hosts defence was again breached after another flowing pass and move exchange through midfield. Brislington continued to work hard and on 33 minutes a break along their left saw Kye Simpson head just over from a well directed cross.
Parkway continued to look threatening and on 35 minutes another surging run by Davis saw his cross reach Levi Landricombe who shot wildly over when well placed. The hosts Jayden Nielsen then saw an effort well saved by Moore on 37 minutes before another Parkway attack saw Farkins prod just wide after a short corner move between Davis and Ryan Lane.
The half ended with a snapshot from Nielsen being deflected behind for a corner with Parkway breaking away and Levi Landricombe seeing his shot well saved by Dorrington. A good half from Parkway with the early goal settling them down and numerous other chances being created. Brislington created chances of their own but lacked the cutting edge at vital moments as Parkway defended solidly with Bentley and Farkins generally in control and dominating the aerial exchanges.
Parkway almost increased their lead on 47 minutes when a long clearance caused confusion in the hosts defence with Levi Landricombe pouncing on the difficult bouncing ball and firing just over from 18 yards. A Brislington break along the right on 50 minutes saw a dangerous cross well anticipated and superbly defended by Farkins. The next Brislington attack on 54 minutes saw Farkins and Neikell Plummer chase and compete for a long ball with Farkins pulling up in the race and after treatment, being unable to continue. Michael Landricombe took the captain’s armband and dropped back into central defence with Richards coming off the bench. The change proved seamless and more good work by Palfrey saw him link well with Lane who set up Levi Landricombe whose angled drive was well saved by Dorrington. With Hall and Palfrey continuing to impress in midfield, Parkway created another chance on 56 minutes as Richards, with his first meaningful touch, scooped his powerful shot just wide.
Around the hour mark Brislington made a couple of substitutions with James Peart and Cameron Brown replacing Simpson and Dagger respectively. Parkway continued to dominate possession with the hosts playing a series of long balls on the wind which were competently dealt with by the Parkway defence. The hard working Levi Landricombe, still yet to reach full match fitness, was replaced by Wright on 67 minutes as Parkway looked to maintain the pressure going forward. On 70 minutes Bentley found himself in a forward position with his powerful acrobatic shot from the edge of the 18 yard area being superbly blocked by Dorrington with Bentley’s follow up attempt from the rebound also being blocked and cleared to safety. Parkway’s constant pressure eventually paid off on 72 minutes when a defensive slip on the right allowed the tricky Veal to capitalise and pick out Richards who swept home clinically from around 6 yards.
Richards and Wright then combined well with Richard’s effort being ruled out for a marginal offside. Another direct run by Veal saw him pull the ball back to Hall whose effort failed to trouble Dorrington with Veal himself shooting over on 79 minutes after more good play down the right. On 82 minutes Parkway increased their lead further. Another long run from deep by the irrepressible Davis saw him show superb pace, control and balance on a difficult surface and release the ball to the unmarked Wright on the left who finished first time with aplomb with an angled drive from around 12 yards. Parkway were then content to slow the game down, retain possession and manage the game to its conclusion.
An impressive all round performance from Parkway from back to front with clinical finishing backing up their incisive approach play and solid defending. Brislington competed well throughout creating the occasional half chance in the first half but leaving Moore virtually untested in the second. The victory sees Parkway 2 points clear at the top from Street and now the only unbeaten team in the league after 5 consecutive clean sheets from their 6 games played. Also worth noting is after a plethora of cautions in the first three games, whilst remaining competitive, discipline has improved with no cautions in the last four games. Parkway complete their rigorous start to the season with their eighth game of the month on Wednesday with a visit to lowly Wellington who are yet to win from their 4 starts before returning to Bolitho Park next Saturday when Shepton Mallet are the visitors. Credit must be given to the hosts for their implementation of the recently introduced Covid 19 regulations regarding the operating of clubhouses and bars. It’s a steep learning curve which we’ll have to get used to if games at our level are permitted to continue.