Evesham claim all three points as Parkway fall to third successive league defeat
Written by Graham Lloyd
Images by Dave Harry
3 - Evesham United (Ebanks 18,52, Smalley 38) 1 - Plymouth Parkway (Copp pen 10)
Parkway travelled to Evesham, their furthest away trip of the season, a 340 mile round trip, looking to bounce back after last week’s narrow defeat at Melksham Town. 3 changes were made from last week with Tom Bath starting in place of Adam Carter up front, Michael Landricombe in for River Allen in midfield and Jordan Copp for Jack Crago.
The game got off to a lively start with the hosts almost taking the lead on 4 minutes. A break along the left saw the young Cheltenham Town loanee Callum Ebanks cut inside and hit a powerful shot against the post and fly away to safety. A warning of things to come. Parkway responded well looking to build play through midfield in contrast to Evesham’s counter attacking approach. On 10 minutes neat link up play along the right between Callum Hall and Rio Garside saw Hall brought down for a clear penalty which, in the absence of usual penalty taker Allen, was duly despatched by Copp to give Parkway the lead. Parkway continued to look to build play through midfield and utilise the flanks with Landricombe shooting just over on 14 minutes.
Play continued to flow from end to end and on 18 minutes the hosts equalised. A long goal kick deep into the Parkway half saw the strong running Ebanks burst through the centre of the Parkway defence firing home a powerful shot from around 12 yards giving Kyle Moore no chance. Play continued to be fairly even with Parkway looking to play through the midfield with Evesham looking to be more direct and hit the front pair of Mike Symons and Ebanks at every opportunity. Defences generally however remained on top with neither side creating any clear chances and both keepers relatively untested. On 24 minutes more good work by Garside along the right saw his cross reach Mikey Williams at the far post whose tame effort was comfortably saved by Lewis Clayton. Despite having their fair share of possession, Parkway were unable to penetrate the host’s solid back line with all too often their final ball lacking direction and precision. However they should have restored their lead on 27 minutes after their best passage of play in the game. A flowing move down the left saw Copp, Williams and Bath link well to find the unmarked Billy Palfrey at the far post who fired over from close range when well placed.
Parkway continued to defend well against the constant threat of Evesham’s strong running front two of Symons and Ebanks with Moore rarely called into action. On 37 minutes the imposing Ebanks worked himself into a good position only to fire wildly over from around 20 yards. In their next attack on 38 minutes the hosts took the lead. Good work along the right by Jordan Lynn saw a cross find the recently signed Brandon Smalley who, showing excellent technique, fired home an unstoppable left footed angled volley from around 20 yards. Parkway looked to respond but were unable to create any further chances in a fairly even half with Evesham going into the break ahead having been the more clinical with the few chances created. Parkway replaced Williams with top scorer Crago at half time and created an early chance only to be denied by an offside flag. On 50 minutes Crago picked up a yellow card for an innocuous looking challenge with Hall then firing wide on 51 minutes after a good Parkway move along the left. Evesham went further ahead on 52 minutes after Parkway conceded possession in midfield allowing the impressive Ebanks to power forward and finish confidently into the bottom corner from around 18 yards.
With the hosts now in the ascendancy and playing with intensity they almost increased their lead further on 57 minutes. More good work by Lynn saw his cross reach Ebanks who was denied his hattrick by a brave smothering save by Moore. Parkway continued to work hard looking to find a way back into the game against the well organised hosts with Palfrey shooting over from distance on 59 minutes after a neat exchange between Garside and Hall. On the hour Carter replaced Hall as Parkway looked to add to their striking options but it was Evesham who created the next chance with the dangerous Ebanks seeing his effort well saved by Moore.
With the hosts continuing to control the game, Lynn shot wide on 65 minutes with the same player firing well over on 69 minutes. Parkway were finding it harder to maintain midfield possession and although working hard to try and create openings, where unable the find the necessary guile or invention to penetrate the home defence. On 70 minutes the hard working Palfrey saw yellow for a strong challenge and was replaced by young Jacob Smith on 75 minutes. With the hosts now dropping deeper looking to hold on to their lead, Parkway came back into the game with Crago hitting an overhead kick just wide after Evesham failed to clear a free kick.
Despite a period in possession Parkway were unable to create any clear-cut chances with the Evesham defence remaining solid and Clayton rarely being tested. On 86 minutes Calvin Dinsley saw yellow after bundling over Crago on the edge of the 18 yard area with the resultant free kick from Copp rebounding off the wall and the follow up shot being cleared. With Parkway pushing men forward looking to retrieve something from the game and Evesham looking to break on the counter into the spaces at the back, Callum Rose was booked on 86 minutes for preventing an Evesham player from breaking clear. Evesham made their only substitution on 87 minutes with Ben Hayes replacing Smalley as they looked to run the clock down and retain possession in the final third. Parkway continued to try and create openings with the Evesham content to manage the game out. Garside saw his snapshot on 87 minutes acrobatically saved by Clayton with the final action being a Crago shot flying harmlessly over.
A tight first half but with a well organised Evesham generally controlling the second in a game of few clear chances. The clinical finishing of the hosts with Symons and the outstanding Ebanks, who was rightly awarded the home teams man of the match, a constant threat was ultimately the difference between the sides. Parkway worked hard throughout but were unable to break down a solid Evesham defence and there is still much work to be done as they adjust to the demands and standard of the higher league. Their third successive league defeat sees Parkway drop to 12thbut with only 6 points separating 5thand 13thplaces, there remains plenty to play for at this relatively early stage of the season. Attention now turns to the FA Trophy when step 3 Southern Premier side Merthyr Town visit Bolitho Park next Saturday for the 3rdround qualifying tie. This will be Parkway’s first home game since their defeat of Paulton Rovers on the 18thSeptember.
Line up:1 Moore, 2 Davis, 3 Copp, 4 Palfrey (Smith 75), 5 Rose, 6 Bentley, 7 Williams (Crago 46), 8 Landricombe ©, 9 Bath, 10 Hall (Carter 60), Garside
Substitutes: 12 Crago, 14 Smith, 17 Coombes (GK unused), 20 Carter