A welcome return to Bolitho after a long midweek away trip

By Mike Parrish

Away days can prove tricky at times and Wednesday night certainly proved that for Lee Hobbs and his squad. When the fans, players and management left Bolitho at 4pm, nobody would have envisaged them rolling into The Tannery just after 7:15pm. A faulty coach meant Parkway had to wait for a replacement and then to make things worse, a shunt on the M5 delayed matters further with kick-off having to be put back 15 mins to 8pm.

The awkward travel situation seemed to spill out onto the pitch, with Parkway mirroring the fortunes of their coach ride up. They started well against Street as Adam Carter hit two within six minutes but they just couldn’t seem to get going after that. The old saying goes that winning ugly shows the character of a team and that was evident at The Tannery. Rob Farkins would earn a first sin bin for a Parkway player this season and full back Aaron Bentley would put his name on the scoresheet as The Yellows picked up three points on a night the travelling parade won’t mind forgetting about.

The home comforts will come as a welcome relief on Saturday when Odd Down (Bath) make the trip to Bolitho, and hopefully a trip without any issues. The Down will be forever etched into Parkway history as they would be the first fixture in The Yellows Western League journey after gaining promotion from the SWPL in 2018. On that history making day at Bolitho, Shane Krac would receive a red card and Anthony Conradi would find the net as Bath lead at the break. Second half goals from Adam Carter and former Parkway player Ben Joyce would give The Yellows victory and form a season that would spawn second place and a league cup title.

Odd Down would go onto pick up 41 points and finish 15th in last seasons standings as consistency proved an issue for Lee Rendell’s men. Back in 2016, Odd Down claimed the title with a game to spare as Troy Simpson bagged a memorable 40 minute hat-trick in a 4-0 victory over Welton Rovers, Simpson would go down in folk law history amongst fans of The Down but they have faltered in recent campaigns. Subsequent seasons have seen them finish 10th and 14th place twice, but things have started brightly for them this season.

An opening day win over Roman Glass would be followed by defeat over Westbury, but two further victories over Brislington and Wellington would ensure The Down a place in the top six as they head to Plymouth this weekend.

Hobbs will no doubt have his sights set on three points this weekend and maintain Parkways 100% home league record in the campaign this season. He will also look to see a step up in performance from his players also. They were magnificent in the FA Cup defeat to Merthyr but have been slightly off the boil in their last two league fixtures against Bridgwater and Street on Wednesday night.

With other top of the table teams in the Western League starting their FA Vase journeys on Saturday, it may mean the home side could be sitting top of the pile if the result goes their way, but Lee Rendell will know a surprise away win will propel his men into second place in the table at this early stage of the season. Another big weekend of drama will no doubt be on show this weekend at Bolitho and it may be the place to be for local football fans as The Yellows once again, aim for the summit of The Western League.