Parkway’s unbeaten home record comes to an end as 10 man Farm take all three points at Bolitho
Written by Graham Lloyd
Images by Tom Finnie
0 - Plymouth Parkway 2 - Bristol Manor Farm (Ford 40, Gosling 77)
Bolitho Park attracted its biggest attendance of the season, 580, which included a sizeable contingent from the visitors, with Parkway looking to build on their comprehensive midweek win over Slimbridge. One change was made with Harrison Davis starting in place of Mikey Williams who was among the substitutes. The game got off to a cagey start with both sides feeling each other out and neither able to gain control. Parkway had the first effort on goal with Billy Palfrey shooting wide from around 20 yards on 4 minutes with Manor Farm already looking to have a solid back line.
The visitors broke clear on 10 minutes with a shot going well over. Parkway gradually began to have the better of possession but their passing generally lacked quality or precision with the visitor’s defence dealing comfortably with a series of over hit long balls. On 15 minutes an on target free kick from River Allen from around 30 yards was deflected behind for a corner as Parkway continued to probe an opening. They continued to have the majority of possession but lacked a cutting edge in the final third as Manor Farm continued to be comfortable at the back. On 17 minutes a strong run along the right by Finlay Craske saw him reach the bye line and pull the ball back but again the Manor Farm defence read the danger and cleared to safety. Manor Farm looking well organised and disciplined continued to press the Parkway midfield trio denying them time and space, forcing them to play too many long balls.
On 21 minutes Jayden Nielsen, spotting Kyle Moore off his line, attempted an effort from around 50 yards which flew well wide. The visitors Theo Llewellyn saw the game’s first yellow card on 23 minutes for a foul as play became untidy and disjointed with few chances being created and neither keeper being unduly tested. Parkway’s first clear chance came on 29 minutes after a poorly delivered corner was recycled with the ball finding its way to Tom Bath some 12 yards out whose snapshot went harmlessly over. The visitors were dramatically reduced to 10 men on 30 minutes with Ben Bament being shown a straight red card for a studs up challenge on Ryan Lane just 3 minutes after receiving a yellow card for another foul. On 34 minutes Bath saw his shot on the turn comfortably saved by Ben John as Parkway looked to create openings but rarely looking like scoring. The game continued to lack rhythm or tempo with Manor Farm remaining solid at the back, combative in midfield with Parkway guilty of conceding possession too easily and their passing wayward and lacking direction.
On 38 minutes Davis saw yellow for a foul with the visitors then taking the lead on 40 minutes via their first corner of the game. Moore failed to gather the ball cleanly from the corner with central defender Josh Ford bundling home the loose ball from right on the goal line. A fairly even half of few chances with Parkway, despite having the majority of possession, looking off the pace and unable to break down a well organised Manor Farm defence who readjusted well after being reduced to 10 men.
Mikey Williams replaced Michael Landricombe in defence for the second half with the visitors lining up with two banks of four leaving Michael Bryant as the lone forward player. On 50 minutes a Palfrey shot from distance sailed harmlessly over as Manor Farm set their stall out to defend deep and in numbers, absorb Parkway pressure and attack on the counter. Steve Kingdon saw yellow on 56 minutes with the resultant free kick by Davis being blocked. On 62 minutes Shane Krac and Adam Carter replaced Allen and Bath respectively as Parkway looked to inject more energy and strength into their play. They continued to dominate possession but their final ball invariably lacked quality as Manor Farm remained solid in the final third with John rarely tested.
Parkway forced a series of corners and almost equalised on 64 minutes when a close range header from Carter was deflected on to the bar and cleared. A set piece looked the most likely route for a Parkway equaliser with Palfrey heading another corner just wide on 65 minutes as the pressure increased. Parkway continued to press and on 69 minutes brave keeping by John blocked a Carter close range effort with the loose ball being scrambled off the line. Good play between Krac, Carter and Crago on 72 minutes saw the latter’s shot from around 18 yards comfortably saved as Parkway continued to press forward with Manor Farm restricting the hosts to mainly long range efforts.
Shea Bennington-Mannings replaced Lloyd Mills for the visitors on 76 minutes with Parkway being caught by a sucker punch shortly after. They again conceded possession deep in the Manor Farm half with the ball being cleared wide on the right to Jake Gosling who raced forward unchallenged and fired an angled drive from around 18 yards into the far corner past the exposed Moore for arguably their first clear chance of the half. Parkway continued to press but were unable to get in behind or breach a resolute Manor Farm defence. Parkway almost pulled a goal back on 84 minutes with a Carter header being cleared off the line after more good work along the right by Craske. Manor Farm continued to defend well in the 4 minutes of stoppage time and almost went further ahead with Bennington-Mannings going clear unchallenged but firing wildly over for the final action of the game.
Probably a game too far for Parkway who, playing their fifth game in fifteen days, at times looked leggy and jaded and were unable to provide the necessary spark or quality in the final third to break down the visitor’s solid defensive wall. They can have no complaints about going down to what was their first home defeat for some considerable time. Credit must be given to Manor Farm who, despite playing with ten men for around an hour, reorganised, maintained their shape and discipline, defended solidly and took the few opportunities that came their way for an ultimately deserved victory. In doing so they became the first team this season to do the double over Parkway. Despite the defeat, Parkway remain in eighth position with games in hand and now have a week to recover, reenergise and regroup before visiting Highworth Town next Saturday having already won 5-3 there in the FA Trophy on 9 October.