FT: Shortwood United 0 Plymouth Parkway 8 (Trott 14, Hillson 19, Yetton 31, Williams pen 49, 74, Annear 65, 79, 88)
Parkway made their second longest trip of the season (a 286 mile round trip) to basement club Shortwood who had who had not gained a single point from their 17 games. Included in the Parkway squad was former Plymouth Argyle apprentice Billy Palfrey signed the previous day on a one month loan from Truro City. In driving, heavy rain and a strong, cold wind, Parkway could have taken the lead on 5 minutes. A slick move ended with Mikey Williamsbeing brought down in the box only for Shane Krac to blast his penalty against the top of the crossbar and behind for a goal kick. With both sides adjusting to the testing conditions, play was pretty even for the first ten minutes with Shortwood looking lively up front but with few chances being created. Parkway began to assert themselves and took the lead on 14 minutes. A corner from the left found full back Jordan Trott unmarked at the far post scoring with a rare header. Shortwood continued to compete well and on 17 minutes a long range shot thudded against the bar eventually being scrambled to safety by the Parkway defence. Parkway doubled their lead on 19 minutes when a superb cross field ball from the increasingly influential Krac found Tiegan Rosanquest linking well with Stewart Yetton who cleverly set up Sam Hillson who fired home from around 6 yards.The second fullback to score. Parkway continued to dominate with Rob Farkins seeing his header cleared off the line on 24 minutes however Shortwood remained competitive, occasionally looking dangerous on the break forcing Kyle Moore into a couple of saves from long range efforts. They almost pulled a goal back on the half hour when neat play between the lively Jamie Walker and Levi Matthews saw the latter pull his shot just wide. Parkway then increased their lead on 31 minutes with Yetton slotting home from close range after Rosanquest’s shot had been blocked by Adam Clarke in the Shortwood goal. Parkway continued to keep the pressure on and another sweeping move along the left between Jordan Annear and Rosanquest ended with Trott seeing his cross-cum-shot bounce off the bar. Shortwood then had a period of possession with the pacy Walker seeing his cross shot well saved by Moore on 36 minutes and Joey Tustain shooting narrowly wide on 42 minutes. Parkway were good value for the half time lead with Shortwood having their moments but generally being on the back foot. With the wind still blowing and the rain still falling, Shortwood started the second half on the attack with Walker seeing an effort cleared off the line on 47 minutes only for Parkway to break and increase their lead shortly after. Another flowing move saw Williams brought down after making a typical weaving run into the box. Williams took responsibility this time and sent Clarke the wrong way with a cool penalty. Parkway, now playing with the strong wind behind them, continued to dominate with Palfrey coming on for his debut replacing Krac in midfield on 58 minutes. Palfrey was immediately into his stride and a neat exchange with Annear saw a shot from the latter cleared off the line. Trott then saw an angled shot pushed over on 62 minutes with Shortwood replacing Matthews with Andreas Ali just prior to Parkway going further ahead on 65 minutes. A long ball down the left towards Annear saw Clarke charge way out of his goal, slice his clearance with Annear showing instant awareness to control the loose ball and fire a looping, angled effort from all of 45 yards from close to the touchline over the back peddling keeper into the unguarded net. A class finish. With Parkway now in complete control, Rosanquest then saw his 20 yard shot well saved on 71 minutes. Jake Miller replaced Farkins on 72 minutes with Miller slotting into central midfield and the ever versatile and dependable Christian Pople dropping into the back four. On 74 minutes Williams scored his 2nd goal and Parkway’s 6th with a close range finish after a tiring, besieged Shortwood defence failed to clear their lines. Shortwood replaced Lewis Bainbridge with Hassan Sadiq with Adam Carter coming on for Yetton on 76 minutes as Parkway continued to threaten, going further ahead on 79 minutes. A fine passage of play between Williams and the impressive looking Palfrey saw Palfrey put Annear clear with the predatory striker coolly slotting home low down at the near post from around 10 yards. Trott then fired a free kick from 20 yards just over on 86 minutes followed by Carter pulling his effort just wide after a strong break from Rosanquest. Annear completed a classy 23 minute hattrrick in the 88th minute when a long ball saw Carter neatly deflect the ball into his path with Annear showing good composure and control to deftly flick the ball over Clarke from around 10 yards. In extremely difficult conditions, a highly efficient all round performance by Parkway against a young, spirited and sporting Shortwood who, to their credit, continued to try and play their football in the correct manner throughout but were ultimately outclassed by a far more experienced and physically stronger outfit as they suffered their heaviest league defeat of the season. Annear was duly presented with the man of the match award by long standing supporter John Hillson celebrating his 75th birthday. Despite the conditions, credit is due to the Shortwood groundstaff and club with the pitch holding up remarkably well unlike a game less a half a mile away. The EFL League 2 game at Forest Green Rovers was abandoned at half time due to a waterlogged pitch! Parkway remain in 6th position still with games in hand over teams above them with 7th placed and in form Shepton Mallet visiting Bolitho Park next Saturday having suffered only 1 defeat in their last 11 league and cup games. Prior to that, Parkway make a rearranged visit to 1st Division Wells City on Tuesday in the 2nd round of the Les Phillips League Cup. Your correspondent will be unable to make the journey as will be attending a family festive function. Any volunteers to come off the bench??