A bridge over the river water next stop for Parkway
Written by Mike Parrish and Graham Lloyd
With Bolitho Park playing the perfect host to FA Cup football last weekend, this weekend will see the Parkway boys board the team coach and make the 168 mile round journey to Western League title rivals, Bridgwater Town.
As we all know, Parkway were pipped to the title last season by Russell Jee’s Willand Rovers who would finish on 95 points, two clear of Lee Hobbs’ Parkway. It’s interesting to point out that Karl Baggerley and Dave Pearse’s Robins would finish 4th on 81 points but only suffer defeat once in their final 15 league games.
This season the two teams will pick up from where they left off last season as Fairfax Park will play host to the only Western League fixture this weekend, and what a fixture it could be.
The Robins this season will be looking to compete for the league title and for many of their supporters, they feel the Southern League is where they belong. Towns campaign didn’t get off to the best of starts as the opening day saw Lee Perks’ Brislington claim all three points at Ironmould lane. Despite Jamie Laird equalising in the 34th minute for Town, Oaklan Buck would claim a 43rd minute winner to seal a shock 2-1 win for the home side.
The Fairfax Park outfit would pick up their first point of the season three days later as they were held 1-1 at home by Tony Beecham’s Cribbs. However they have bounced back to form in some style with goals galore in their last two games by beating Chipping Sodbury 8-1 away, followed by reversing the Brislington defeat by comprehensively beating them 7-0 at home in the FA Cup last Saturday. The past two games would see Jack Taylor hit four goals including a hat-trick in the cup annihilation of Brislington. The Robins No.9 is regarded as one of the deadliest front men in the Western League and Taylor backed up those claims by hitting 33 goals in 41 appearances last season.
The two encounters between these sides last season were both hotly contested affairs that made for compelling viewing. Early September witnessed Stuart Yetton hit an 88th minute winner at Fairfax Park and Rob Farkins be shown his marching orders after receiving two yellow cards earlier in the game. The Robins had a chance to avenge that defeat as they travelled to Bolitho in April and almost thought they did as Jake Brown gave his side a 33rd minute lead.
But like Parkway do so many times, they found a way back into the game when not playing at their best, Adam Carter would restore parity in 1st half stoppage time and then hit the bar midway through the second half as both sides took home a point.
Parkway will leave for Bridgwater on Saturday with a 100% record, a record they fully deserve. They started the season with a bang as Adam Carter hit four goals in a 7-1 demolition of Cadbury Heath and haven’t looked back since. Tougher tests have also been overcome in the shape of Buckland Athletic and Exmouth Town which they overcame 1-0 respectively, which also witnessed a different style of play to the free flowing passing games Yellows fans have come to expect. Last weekend saw Lee Hobbs and Karl Curtis’ side dismantle higher league opposition in the FA Cup thanks to goals from Shane Krac, Ryan Lane, Jordan Copp, Mikey Williams and Billy Palfrey.
It’s been a breathtaking start to the 2019-20 campaign as all roads lead to Bridgwater this weekend.
Bridgwater who sit 14th in the table on four points will look to claw back the deficit on their home turf this weekend and if they do, could see them go within 2 points of Lee Hobbs’ men. For the Yellows, a point will see them retain top spot from Bitton who are without a game and 3rd place Bradford, who are involved in FA Vase competition. The Parkway management never go into a game looking for a point and will be looking to extend their advantage over the chasing pack as they look to keep their 100% record intact come 5pm on Saturday.
You can follow live updates from the game by following Plymouth Parkway on Twitter – @PlymouthPFC