Davis finds top bins and Parkway finally find 3 points on the road
Cinderford Town 2 (Drew 41, Freeman 45)
Plymouth Parkway 3 (Crago 13, Williams 27, Davis 90)
Words By Graham Lloyd
Images by Dave Harry
Looking to break their run of 4 consecutive away league defeats, Parkway made the long midweek journey to the Forest of Dean for a rearranged fixture against Cinderford Town. On a chilly evening, 25 of the Parkway hardcore away supporters were amongst the crowd of 127 hardy souls. 2 enforced changes were made from Saturday’s 1-0 victory over AFC Totton.
Matt Andrew replaced the unavailable Jamie Lowry in midfield with Callum Rose starting in defence with Mikey Williams moving into midfield in place of Rio Garside who was unavailable due to illness. On a good playing surface, the game got off to a lively start with the hosts seeing a shot go wide on 4 minutes.
On 9 minutes a good link between Andrew and Jack Crago forced a corner which was well defended. On 11 minutes the hosts Jake Jackson saw his close range effort blocked as play continued at a high tempo. With Parkway gradually getting into their stride, they took the lead on 13 minutes. A well flighted and directed free kick from the right by Ryan Lane saw Jack Crago rising highest at the far post to glance his header back across Nicholas Jones in the home goal. Play continued at a fast pace from end to end with Cinderford looking to hit long diagonal balls to the flanks with Parkway playing more through their midfield.
On 15 minutes a strong run forward by Williams saw him find Crago who shot just over from around 20 yards. Cinderford, competing well, forced a corner on 17 minutes with a header being tipped over by Kyle Moore. The lively Zachary Drew picked up the game’s first yellow card on 18 minutes as Cinderford continued to look well organised, competitive and threatening. Parkway were forced to work hard to retain possession in midfield with their defence holding firm as the hosts looked to get back into the game. On 20 minutes Lewis Spurrier shot over after good build up play but it was Parkway who doubled their lead on 27 minutes. A strong run from Lane along the left saw him cross from the bye line and with the Cinderford defence unable to clear, Rhys Shirley reacted quickest to the loose ball with his first time shot from around 10 yards being turned in from close range by Williams.
With Andrew looking comfortable in midfield, creating space and displaying a good range of passing, he made a strong run forward on 33 minutes and released Crago whose angled drive from around 18 yards flew narrowly wide of the far post. Parkway continued to press high up the pitch putting the hosts defence under pressure forcing them to play long diagonal balls which were generally comfortably dealt with by the Parkway defence. Cinderford were forced into a substitution on 39 minutes with Jack Freeman replacing the unfortunate Spurrier who had picked up an injury. Despite the scoreline, the game continued to be an evenly contested affair and the hosts pulled a goal back on 41 minutes. Parkway conceded possession wide on the right where the impressive Drew won the ball, cut inside and fired a curling left footed effort into the far top corner giving Moore no chance. Parkway looked to respond and a neat exchange between Andrew and Finlay Craske set up the energetic Callum Hall who shot just wide.
On 44 minutes Sammie Hicks fizzed a 25 yard free kick just wide of Moore’s far post followed closely by Cinderford equalising on the stroke of half time. Parkway gave the ball away in midfield some 40 yards out with the ball dropping to Owen Taylor who released substitute Freeman who raced clear and rifled his shot over Moore from around 18 yards. A half played at a high tempo from both sides with Parkway converting their early chances but Cinderford fighting back well showing good spirit and pegging Parkway back in a period of pressure at the end of the half. The second half started at a similar pace with Parkway forcing another corner on 49 minutes after good work between Hall, Andrew and Crago. Cinderford responded immediately with Drew cutting in from the right again seeing his shot blocked and behind for a corner with the same player then shooting wide from the clearance. Cinderford continued to press forcing Parkway to defend well and almost took the lead on 55 minutes.
A header from a corner saw the perfectly positioned Billy Palfrey head clear from off the line. Harrison Davis then replaced the hard working Andrew as Parkway looked to introduce fresh legs. Davis almost made an immediate impact with a strong run forward and his shot clipping off the top of the bar and behind. Camden Duncan replaced the lively Drew on 57 minutes as Parkway began to dominate possession forcing the hosts to defend in depth and also had a claim for a penalty for a push waved away. Hall then broke clear on 61 minutes with his shot being well saved by Jones. Crago saw yellow on 63 minutes for a foul which halted a Cinderford break with Freeman’s resultant free kick being cleared. The tireless Crago was replaced by Adam Carter on 68 minutes as Parkway looked to change shape as they increased the pressure with Cinderford now holding on. Another Parkway penalty shout, this time for handball, was also waved away as they continued to create further chances. On 70 minutes Williams released Shirley whose shot was easily saved followed by good work from Palfrey and Davis who set up Shirley who this time shot wide. Parkway continued to push forward playing 3 at the back and leaving gaps but Cinderford were unable to take advantage as the extra man in the Parkway midfield forced the hosts on to the defensive. Parkway made their final change on 79 minutes with Tom Bath replacing Shirley up front. Not content to settle for a point Parkway continued to attack and look to create chances for a winner with Palfrey shooting well over on 83 minutes after a good link up between substitutes Carter and Bath. Palfrey was then shown yellow on 86 minutes for dissent as frustration crept in with full time looming. Parkway’s constant pressure, patience and probing finally paid off on 90 minutes. A strong, marauding 50 yard run from the back by Rose saw him brought down around 25 yards out. After a short delay and much discussion, up stepped substitute Davis to rifle a spectacular free kick high into the top corner giving Jones no chance and with Parkway playing out the 4 minutes of stoppage time with no further alarms, it was a fitting way to clinch a closely fought game.
A highly competitive and entertaining game with Cinderford belying their lowly league position by pushing Parkway all the way with both sides showing resolve, desire and character. Certainly not the worst side Parkway have faced this season and proving once again there are no easy games in this league. The decision to rearrange the fixture for midweek involving a 300 mile round trip and an 11 hour absence away from home (departed 1500, arrived back 0200) was clearly vindicated with the victory seeing Parkway chalk off one of their games in hand and climb 2 places in the league to 10th. They now have 3 days rest and recovery before entertaining National League South (step 2) side Hampton and Richmond Borough, 2 steps higher than Parkway, in the 2nd round of the FA Trophy at Bolitho Park on Saturday. Undoubtedly a step up in standard and class and a challenge to relish.
1 Moore, 2 Craske, 3 Lane, 4 Palfrey, 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe ©, 7 Williams, 8 Andrew (Davis 55), 9 Shirley (Bath 79), 10 Hall, 11 Crago (Carter 68)
Substitutes: 12 Bath, 14 Davis, 15 Bentley (unused), 20 Carter
1 Jones, 2 Meredith, 18 Haswell, 4 Payne (Greenslade 79), 5 Molyneux, 6 Davies ©, 7 Drew (Duncan 57), 8 Hicks, 9 Jackson, 20 Spurrier (Freeman 39), 11 Taylor
Substitutes: 12 Greenslade, 14 Duncan, 15 Morford (unused), 16 Freeman, 17 Scotford (unused)
Attendance: 127 (25 Parkway)