FA TROPHY 4TH ROUND
Written by Graham Lloyd
Images by David Nelson
3 - Spennymoor Town (Spokes 85, Ramshaw 88, Taylor 90) 1 - Plymouth Parkway (Bath 30)
Parkway made the 787 mile round trip to the North East to face National League North side Spennymoor Town in the 4th Round of the FA Trophy. Spennymoor play at 2 levels above Parkway in the Non-League pyramid but having beaten 4 sides from higher leagues in previous rounds, Parkway as the underdogs were hoping to cause another upset.
Parkway made 5 changes to the starting 11 from their last game at Willand Rovers on 27 December with Kyle Moore, Ryan Lane, Jack Crago, Adam Carter and Mikey Williams starting in place of Tyler Coombes, Harrison Davis, Aaron Bentley, Rio Garside and River Allen. The hosts had played 5 games during the same period and made 4 changes from their previous outing last Saturday with goalkeeper Jordan Amissah having been signed on loan from Sheffield United the previous day.
Spennymoor made the early running and on 3 minutes the pacey Ryan Hall made a blistering run from deep outpacing the Parkway back line forcing Kyle Moore into a smart save from his angled drive. Moments later Glen Taylor saw his header from a cross from the right by Adriano Moke flash narrowly wide. Parkway were struggling to get to the pace of the game however a break along the left on 13 minutes by Jack Crago saw him win a free kick followed by a couple of corners which were comfortably defended.
On 16 minutes a delicate lob from around 40 yards by Billy Palfrey was gathered by Amissah just under the crossbar. Parkway were forced into an early change on 18 minutes when the returning Tom Bath replaced Carter who had picked up an injury. The hosts almost took the lead on 20 minutes when good link up play between Moke, and Jamie Chandler found Taylor in space whose header was superbly blocked by Moore.
Parkway began to grow into the game and gain confidence and on 22 minutes good work by the industrious Callum Hall set up Bath whose shot was blocked and go for a corner. Play became more even with Parkway defending well, seeing more of the ball in midfield and looking dangerous on the counter attack. On 30 minutes, arguably against the run of play, Parkway took the lead. A turnover of possession in midfield saw Williams make a strong run along the right and link well with Crago and Hall who cut the ball back to the unmarked Bath who calmly slotted home into the bottom corner from around 12 yards.
With the game developing into a midfield battle and the Parkway defence holding firm with Mike Landricombe and Callum Rose imposing themselves in central defence, neither side were able to create too many clear-cut chances. On 35 minutes Parkway won another free kick on the right with Lane seeing his whipped in effort pushed behind by Amissah at full stretch. On 37 minutes Spennymoor broke clear on the right with once again Landricombe reading the danger and blocking a Taylor header. With Palfrey, Hall and Matt Andrew all working hard in midfield, competing well and closing down quickly, the game continued to be an even affair with neither side able to dominate possession and the hosts unable to penetrate the formidable Parkway defence.
On 41 minutes another Parkway break saw Hall link well with Bath who was forced wide only to see his shot well blocked by Amissah. Approaching half time another Spennymoor attack was thwarted by yet another Landricombe header when under pressure. On 44 minutes Andrew released Crago along the left with the latter’s cross into the danger being cut out by Amissah. The final action in first half stoppage time saw a snapshot from around 10 yards comfortably saved by Moore. After a nervy start Parkway gradually grew into the pace of the game matching their hosts in all areas, defending strongly, competing well in midfield and taking the one clear chance that came their way.
The second half started with Hall having an early shot for Parkway, but the hosts upped the tempo and became the more dominant side switching play from flank to flank as they looked to stretch the Parkway defence. Spennymoor almost equalised on 54 minutes when a well weighted ball from James Curtis split the Parkway defence releasing Rob Ramshaw who rounded the onrushing Moore only to see his shot cleared off the line by the rapidly recovering Rose. Parkway responded immediately and almost doubled their lead when the persistent Crago won possession and released Williams who, under pressure around 15 yards out, saw his guided low shot superbly saved one handed by Amissah at full stretch with the loose ball being hacked to safety from close to the line. Spennymoor continued to apply pressure and on 56 minutes a header from a free kick went narrowly over.
On 57 minutes Luke Spokes replaced Brad Abbott for the hosts with Rose seeing yellow shortly after for a robust challenge in midfield followed closely by Frank Mulhern replacing the lively Ryan Hall. Spennymoor continued to press with the Parkway defence coming under increasing pressure with Spokes, Chandler and Landricombe all seeing yellow in a frantic phase of play. Parkway continued to defend valiantly and in numbers as the hosts piled on the pressure with Kenton Richardson just failing to apply enough contact to a Spokes free kick on 75 minutes. With Parkway defending deeper and unable to get out of their own half, Spennymoor forced a series of corners with Parkway now riding their luck and just about managing to retain their narrow lead.
On 75 minutes Moke blazed over when well placed and was almost immediately replaced by Mark Anderson. With the pressure mounting and Parkway backs to the wall and continuing to defend manfully, Moore was booked for time wasting on 78 minutes. On 82 minutes Moore saved a close range header from Kenton Richardson with Taylor blasting over from a tight angle from the rebound. Bentley then replaced the tireless Williams on 83 minutes. With Parkway now camped in their own 18 yard area they continued to put their bodies on the line with a series of blocks and clearances but their stout resistance was finally broken on 85 minutes. Another corner was headed away but only as far as Grimsby Town loanee Spokes just inside the 18-yard area who kept his composure to drill a low shot through a crowd of bodies for the equaliser.
With Parkway visibly tiring, the hosts came again and from another corner on 88 minutes they took the lead after an attempted clearance deflected kindly to Ramshaw who stabbed home the loose ball from very close range. Parkway immediately sent on Rhys Shirley for Hall with Rose being sent forward as another attacking option only for Rose to receive a second yellow card for a strong challenge just inside the Spennymoor half which was unlikely to affect the outcome of the game. With Parkway throwing men forward in search of an equaliser Spennymoor capitalised with a ball in from the right finding the league’s top scorer and highly impressive Taylor cleverly turning his marker and shooting low into the far corner from around 15 yards to seal the victory.
Despite the 7 minutes of stoppage time Parkway were unable to gain further momentum as the hosts managed to see the game out to its conclusion no doubt with a certain amount of relief. Parkway can have no regrets about their efforts or performance with every player giving their all for the cause. They were ultimately beaten by undoubtedly the best side they have faced this season who showed their extra quality and touch of class at the end when it mattered but will know they have been pushed all the way. To reach the last 32 of a national competition in the first time they have entered it and beating 4 sides from higher leagues along the way conceding only 1 goal against them is a terrific achievement which has created club history and should not be underestimated.
After a short period of rest and recovery, Parkway will hope for a positive reaction as their attention now returns to league action as they look to make up their games in hand and push towards a playoff place. This starts on Tuesday evening with the relatively short 322 mile round trip to 4th placed Winchester City followed by another 234 miles to 7th placed Paulton Rovers next Saturday.
Spennymoor: 44 Amissah (gk), 3 Pye, 4 Chandler, 5 Tait, 6 Curtis ©, 8 Moke (Anderson 72), 9 Taylor, 14, Abbott (Spokes 57), 17 Hall (Mulhern 59), 19 Richardson.
Substitutes: 11 Anderson, 13 Flatters (not used), 15 Mason (not used), 20 Mulhern, 21 Mclean (not used), 22 Spokes, Short.
Parkway: 1 Moore, 2 Craske, 3 Lane, 4, Palfrey, 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe ©, 7 Williams (Bentley 83), 8 Andrew, 9 Hall (Shirley 89), 10 Carter (Bath 18), 11 Crago.
Substitutes: 12 Davis (unused), 14 Shirley, 15 Bentley, 16 Allen (unused), 17 Bath, 18 Baggott (unused)