The Undefeated Streak Over But Can Parkway Produce Another?
By Mike Parrish
Defeat is never nice for any club, and certainly for a club that are not used to it. For Lee Hobbs and Plymouth Parkway, that losing feeling in the league was last tasted back on January 5th of this year, a staggering eight months ago. On that day, Joe White got the winner in a 3-2 defeat by Chipping Sodbury at Bolitho Park and yesterday, Bridgwater Towns Jack Taylor and Jake Llewellyn grabbed the goals in a 2-0 defeat at Fairfax Park.
Bridgwater were good and clinical when the chances presented themselves and never looked liked giving up their two goal lead. The game itself was a bad day at the office at times for Parkway. The free flowing, confident football that has been on show in the early days of this season barely shifted out of second gear, which left players, management and supporters scratching their heads.
But it’s not all doom and gloom as the club look ahead to next weekend’s FA Cup fixture against Merthyr Town. The tagline “title favourites” which was branded around by Robins fans after yesterdays defeat will not alter how the club go about their business. Normally after defeat comes a reaction from Hobbs and his players. After losing to Chipping Sodbury in January, many wrote off Parkways title credentials but then the streak started. A run which would see them take the title race down to the final day of the season. The question for this seasons players: can they produce that ‘bounce back ability’ that was evident last season?
Wise heads are needed in changing rooms when a set back occurs and the experience of Kyle Moore amongst others will be key in the coming weeks. The shot stopper knows that nothing lasts forever, not even that winning feeling: “The winning streak wasn’t going to last forever. Bridgwater isn’t an easy place to go and we learnt that from last year. I think if we were still there now we still wouldn’t of scored, it was one of those days.”
Despite a Shane Krac effort early on, the Yellows never looked liked putting the ball in the net like they have done 19 times in their previous five games.
Positives can be taken from the game which Moore echoes: “I felt we dominated the first half possession wise and their keeper made some good saves. Missed chances and poor quality in the final third punished us in the end. The lack of concentration within the back four conceding two late goals so late on in the first half are what ultimately killed us.”
The number one also believes that this result will refocus the squads mindset as the club move into September. “It is never nice losing, I’m probably the worst in the world for it. We are a group of winners and let’s be honest, we aren’t used to losing so when it happens, it hurts. It’s probably brought us back down to earth a little bit and reminded us that this league isn’t a breeze and we’ve got another big and tough year ahead of us.”
Next weekend will see the club compete in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup at Bolitho Park against Merthyr Town. Defeating Paulton Rovers in the last round was fresh off the back of a fine 1-0 win over Exmouth Town, so will defeat hamper preparations for next weekend? Moore explains: “I don’t think it will be hard to forget about going into Saturday, we will regroup this week and train hard to put things right. Saturday is a freebie, its in the FA Cup. Merthyr are two leagues higher and we won’t be going in as favourites as we usually are. But, it’s an FA Cup game and anything can happen. We will go out wanting to win and cause an upset and we won’t make Bolitho an easy place for them to come”
As Moore explains, Saturday can be seen as a free hit for the club, another chance to make history in the most famous cup competition in the world. The history that the club are ultimately after, is the search for life in the Southern League. For that history to be made, the club will look ahead to fixtures coming up in September against Street, Keynsham and Bitton as arguably the most important of the season.