FT: Plymouth Parkway 5 (Krac 22, 35, Annear pen 39, Hillson
57, Smith 84) Cadbury Heath 0
Despite the nasty wet and windy conditions at Bolitho Park, a decent sized crowd of 157, including a few from the Bristol area, turned out hoping to see Parkway extend their current winning run to 5 games. With Adam Carter and Rob Farkins unavailable, a couple of changes were made to last weeks comprehensive victory at Roman Glass St George. In driving rain Heath almost took an early lead when a slip in the Parkway defence allowed Matt Huxley a clear strike on target which was well blocked by Kyle Moore. With both sides taking time to adapt to the difficult conditions, Parkway gradually asserted their authority creating their first chance on 7 minutes with a cross from the right being headed just over. With the hard working Parkway midfield engine room of Shane Krac, Billy Palfrey, Mikey Williams and Christian Pople beginning to dominate, Heath were forced to defend in numbers as chances began to be created. A free kick from the right on 20 minutes saw an on target Jordan Annear header well saved by Matt Semple. The mounting Parkway pressure paid off on 22 minutes when a trademark strong run from midfield by Williams saw him release the supporting Krac who finished crisply, low into the corner from an angle on the right. Mid table Heath continued to compete strongly, enjoying their fair share of possession and on 24 minutes captain Simon McElroy fired a free kick from 25 yards narrowly over. Parkway continued to play some good football in the deteriorating conditions spraying diagonal balls to the left and right flanks to good effect. Another strong run by Williams on the half hour was ended by an excellent block tackle before increasing Parkway pressure saw their lead doubled on 35 minutes. A typically deep run from Ryan Lane from well inside his own half saw him link well with Williams who continued the move, once again releasing Krac who finished expertly from around 18 yards. With Pople and Palfrey both influential in midfield and Nick Milton and Aaron Bentley comfortable in defence, Parkway went further ahead on 39 minutes. A neat passing movement along the left resulted in Williams again surging forward only to be tripped in the box and with normal penalty taker Carter not playing, Annear took responsibility, confidently and comfortably slotting home the spot kick. Heath continued to threaten occasionally with McElroy again looking dangerous breaking clear on the right shooting just wide on 40 minutes. A decent half in difficult conditions with Parkway producing periods of flowing football but being kept honest by Heath who competed strongly creating the occasional chance on the break. On 48 minutes Parkway almost increased their lead with a Sam Hillson shot being well saved by Semple after another neat move down the right. Annear then saw another shot well saved before Parkway forged further ahead on 57 minutes. Annear this time turned provider as with some determined work on the right, he cleverly pulled the ball back to the supporting Hillson running from deep who slammed home a shot from just inside the 18 yard box for a rare goal. More good work from the impressive Annear on 59 minutes saw him set up Krac whose powerful shot was well blocked by a by now overworked Heath defence. Despite this, Heath continued to look to attack with a Huxley header being well saved by Moore. On the hour Lane was replaced at left back by Jordan Trott as Heath pressed forward earning a couple of corners with Parkway having to defend well. The hard working Annear, who had linked well all game, was replaced on 74 minutes by Les Afful with Tiegan Rosenquest replacing the effervescent Williams shortly afterwards. Heath then saw a header fly just over from a corner on 80 minutes before Parkway got their 5th goal on 84 minutes. More good play on the right, this time by Rosenquest, resulted in Afful doing well to keep the ball in play and put in a dangerous cross which found Mike Smith, who had put in a hard working shift, coming in at the far post to stab home from close range. Heath kept going to the end but Parkway comfortably saw the game out to earn a hard fought but deserved 3 points playing at times some delightful football on a difficult surface. Mention should be made of the referee who should be credited for allowing the game to flow and apply common sense with good use of the advantage rule when appropriate. The win consolidates Parkway’s 5th position and closes the gap on the top 4 having between 1 and 4 games in hand of them all. Parkway now make their longest trip of the season, a round trip of 296 miles, on Saturday when they visit 8th placed Bradford Town before making the relatively short 142 miles round trip next Wednesday to 14th placed Wellington in a rearranged game which was snowed off last Saturday. Your correspondent was pleased to see a competitive game at last having just returned at lunchtime today from watching 2 woeful performances by the England cricket team in Barbados and Antigua. The sun and rum punches just about made up for it though!! Also good to meet an old friend from the Bristol area who had travelled down unannounced for the game.