Plymouth Parkway v Highworth Town | Match Report

Points shared in difficult conditions at Bolitho

2 - 0
Full Time
Graham Lloyd

Full Match Report

Images: Tom Finnie

In front of 628, their highest attendance of the season, Parkway after two postponed earlier meetings finally entertained Highworth Town in what has been a relentless schedule over the last 6 weeks.

Parkway were looking to bounce back after Saturday’s defeat at Cirencester Town and thereby increase their lead at the top of the table.

Two changes were made with Tom Bath replacing Gabby Rogers and Harrison Davis, making his first start for some weeks, replacing Finley Craske.

Almost straight from the kick off the visitors could have taken the lead. A long ball in behind the Parkway defence saw Ashley Edenborough through one on one with the Kyle Moore who spread himself well to save with an outstretched leg. A let off. Parkway were forced into an early substitution on 3 minutes with Craske replacing the unfortunate Davis who pulled up after a strong run forward.

After the early setback Parkway were quickly into their stride playing at a high tempo and on 8 minutes good work between Matt Andrew and Ryan Lane saw a cross from the left headed just over by Bath. Parkway continued to look sharp and on 12 minutes took the lead.

A smooth passage of play through midfield between Ethan Mitchell, Lane and Jack Crago saw the ball played into Bath on the edge of the 18-yard area who turned sharply and rifled a shot low into the bottom corner giving Connor Johns no chance.

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Attendance

After the early setback Parkway were quickly into their stride playing at a high tempo and on 8 minutes good work between Matt Andrew and Ryan Lane saw a cross from the left headed just over by Bath. Parkway continued to look sharp and on 12 minutes took the lead.

A smooth passage of play through midfield between Ethan Mitchell, Lane and Jack Crago saw the ball played into Bath on the edge of the 18-yard area who turned sharply and rifled a shot low into the bottom corner giving Connor Johns no chance.

Parkway continued to dominate possession in midfield looking to switch play and stretch the visitors defence and on 18 minutes a Billy Palfrey free kick from 25 yards was well saved by Johns.

Highworth were battling well but unable to get foothold in the game as Parkway continued to push forward with Mitchell, Palfrey, and Mitchell prominent in midfield and Williams and Crago lively on the flanks.

On 20 minutes Williams weaved his way into the 18-yard area and curled a shot towards the far post which Johns at full stretch parried away with the rebound being blocked and hacked away to safety by a now under pressure Highworth defence.

Parkway created their third good chance on 22 minutes when a short corner played to Lane by Williams caught out the visitor’s defence with Lane curling his angled effort narrowly wide.

Parkway continued their patient build up play by retaining possession, switching play from flank to flank as they looked to probe further openings.

On 24 minutes a neat exchange of passes between Palfrey and Craske saw a cross played into Bath who was causing problems for the Highworth defence but under pressure he scuffed his close range shot which was blocked and cleared to safety.

Little was seen of Highworth as an attacking force as they continued to battle hard and clear their lines with long clearances forward which were confidently dealt with by the Parkway defence.

On 30 minutes another Parkway move switching play from left to right set up Palfrey who shot just wide from around 25 yards.

A rare Highworth break away along the left on 35 minutes saw the hard-working Edenborough latch on to a poor defensive header back to Moore with the keeper reacting well to block the striker’s first effort and do even better to smother the second on the rebound. Another let off.

Parkway responded immediately and on 37 minutes more good work by the tireless and influential Andrew set up Williams whose shot from around 12 yards was blocked.

The resultant corner was only half cleared with Lane recycling the loose ball and crossing to the far post where Callum Rose blasted well over. Highworth continued to launch high balls out of defence and on 40 minutes one such ball dropped o Edenborough whose angled shot from around 20 yards flew wide.

The final action of the half on 44 minutes saw Palfrey’s shot palmed away by Johns and cleared to safety after another incisive move wide on the left.

A dominant half by Parkway with numerous chances being created with the visitors defending in numbers, battling well but creating little and just about staying in the game.

The 1-0 score line was hardly a true reflection of the performance and Parkway will be disappointed not to have been further ahead.

Parkway started the second half at a high tempo showing good energy levels and on 47 minutes a snapshot from around 18 yards by the industrious Andrew was pushed behind by Johns.

Parkway continued to control the game with Highworth being forced to defend in numbers with Michael Landricombe and Rose dealing comfortably with the occasional counterattack by the visitors with Moore a virtual spectator.

With Lane and Craske pushing forward at every opportunity in support of the attack, Parkway continued to threaten and on 57 minutes a cross from the right fizzed across the 6-yard area with no one able to get the final touch.

On 61 minutes Parkway had a strong shout for a penalty waved away after Crago had gone clear and appeared to be bundled over by the last defender.

Highworth then countered winning a free kick some 35 yards out with Edenborough’s low shot being comfortably saved by Moore.

Parkway’s constant pressure finally paid off on 65 minutes as they doubled their lead. Good play along the right saw Bath link well with Williams who ghosted in trademark style past a couple of static defenders to caress an angled drive into the far corner past a helpless Johns.

Parkway then sent on Callum Hall for Andrew who once again had put in a tremendous shift and had been at the centre of much of the midfield dominance.

On 68 minutes Parkway almost increased their lead further. From yet another corner, Mitchell’s powerful header from around 10 yards smacked against the cross bar and was eventually cleared away by the overworked Highworth defence.

Lane then shot wide after more patient build up play as Parkway continued to create chances. On 78 minutes Harry Ayres replaced the strong running Edenborough who had put in a good shift and looked the visitor’s most threatening player.

On 72 minutes Highworth launched a rare counterattack with Oliver Case heading just wide from a deep cross from the left.

On 80 minutes Rogers replaced Crago who once again had put in an all action, energetic display and been a constant threat to the visitors with his strong running, work ethic and never say die attitude.

On 82 minutes another Parkway attack saw the ball drop to Bath who turned quickly and with no defender near him dropped to the ground and after a lengthy delay was assisted from the pitch and eventually stretchered away to the dressing room and was seen to leave the ground on crutches after the game.

With Parkway already having used all three substitutes, they were forced to see the game out with 10 men and this they did comfortably by retaining possession and slowing the game down to its conclusion.

However, they did create one final chance on 88 minutes when a neat exchange between Hall and Rogers saw Hall’s shot from around 15 yards well saved low down by Johns.

A gritty Parkway performance and a deserved victory against willing and hardworking but limited opponents who competed well throughout, proved resilient and hard to break down but offered little threat.

With all their games in hand now completed, the win sees Parkway remain top now 3 points clear of Frome Town and 4 ahead of Cirencester Town, all with three games left to play.

These start on Saturday with Parkway’s opposition the sides currently occupying the bottom three places in the league.

Second bottom Mangotsfield United visit Bolitho Park on Saturday with Parkway travelling to already relegated Barnstaple Town on Easter Monday with the final game seeing third from bottom Cinderford Town the visitors the following Saturday.

With two of those games against sides fighting for survival, none will be easy.

Having managed to get so far into the season having picked up no serious injuries, to get two in the same game at this late critical stage is most unfortunate and will be of concern to the management. At the time of writing, the severity of the injuries are unknown to your correspondent, and we await the full medical diagnosis and an expected official statement from the club later today. It is hoped that with the strength of the squad and careful management, Parkway will be able to successfully negotiate the remaining games.

On a personal note, I hope both players will make a full recovery in due course, and I send them my best wishes.

Line ups:

Parkway: 1 Moore, 2 Davis (Craske 3), 3 Lane, 4 Mitchell, 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe ©, 7 Williams, 8 Palfrey, 9 Bath, 10 Andrew (Hall 65), 11 Crago (Rogers 80)

Substitutes: 12 Craske, 14 Duffey (gk)(unused), 15 Hall, 16 Rogers, 20 Carter (unused)

Highworth: 1 Johns©, 2 Case, 3 Roper, 4 Haines, 5 Comer, 6 Hall, 7 Dean, 8 Morrison, 9 Edenborough (Ayres 78), 10 Drewett, 11 Jones

Substitutes: 12 Ayres, 14 McCrae (unused), 15 Adams (unused)

Attendance: 628

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