FT: Elburton VIlla 0 Plymouth Parkway 2 (Krac 64,82)
Parkway, backed by a large contingent of the Bolitho faithful in a crowd of 95, made their shortest away trip of the season in the quarter final of the Devon St Lukes Bowl of which they are the current holders. It had been a while since Parkway visited their old rivals who now play at a step below them in the SWPL Premier Division. With the central defensive pair of Rob Farkins and Nick Milton unavailable, 4 changes were made from the previous game including Aaron Bentley and Ryan Lane making welcome returns from injury lay offs. With persistent rain sweeping across the pitch there was nothing much between the teams in the early exchanges as both came to terms with the testing conditions. Chances were few and far between with Elburton seeing a long range effort go over on 7 minutes. Parkway struggled to get into the game in a congested midfield with Elburton proving to be well organised, committed and clearly up for the game. The first clear chance fell to Parkway on 17 minutes when a cross from Tiegan Rosanquest from the left was cleared off the line with the rebound falling to Adam Carter who blasted a close range shot high into the night sky landing closer to the clubhouse than the goal! Play continued to flow from end to end with Elburton more than holding their own and looking dangerous on the break down both flanks. Rosanquest then shot over on 22 minutes followed by a period of Elburton pressure ending with a shot zipping just wide. Both sides continued to try and move the ball around on the slippery surface which, considering the recent and continuing rain was holding up well but defences were generally on top with both sides being restricted to long range efforts and neither keeper being unduly tested. Parkway forced a series of corners which were comfortably defended with, on 36 minutes, Shane Krac seeing his free kick from 25 yards being blocked. With neither side able to make the breakthrough and Elburton giving a good account of themselves, the half ended all square which reflected the evenness of the game. Parkway almost took the lead on 47 minutes when a fine passage of play down the left saw a cross from Lane find Carter unmarked at the far post only to see his downward header from close range bounce up into the hands of Jack Dixon in the Elburton goal. Play immediately switched with aJake Miller shot being well saved by Kyle Moore. Elburton were now looking the better side and with the impressive Miller prompting and probing from midfield, should have taken the lead on 50 minutes. A mistake on the Parkway left saw an Elburton player go clear only to see his angled shot pulled wide of the far post. A let off for Parkway who were then reduced to ten men on 54 minutes. Lane, having picked up a foolish yellow card in the first half, received his second yellow for a rash, unnecessary challenge. Parkway were forced to ring the changes with Jordan Annear and Less Afful replacing Stewart Yetton and Rosanquest respectively and going to 3 at the back. Elburton continued to press, forcing Parkway to defend in numbers with Krac and the ever industrious Christian Pople working hard in midfield to stem the Elburton attacks. The deadlock was finally broken on 64 minutes with Parkway taking the lead. A neat interchange of passes between Carter and Annear saw the latter fouled some 30 yards out with Krac firing the resultant free kick over the wall and the despairing Dixon high into the net. Elburton bounced back continuing to create problems on the flanks and had a close range effort hacked off the line by Sam Hillson on 71 minutes. Annear was then put clear one and one with the keeper with Dixon doing well to smother the ball just inside the box. Jack Rhead replaced Carter on 78 minutes to bolster the midfield in another formation change as Elburton threw more men forward. The change paid off as Parkway doubled their lead on 82 minutes. A sweeping move from left to right saw Rhead receive the ball wide on the right and showing excellent control and vision, lay the ball back to Krac who, on the run, clipped a superb angled shot into the top corner giving Dixon no chance. Elburton continued to push hard but found the Parkway defence, with Bentley in particular outstanding, in no mood to concede and happy to see the game out to the end. Another hard earned victory for Parkway with Elburton contributing fully to an absorbing game and with a bit more quality up front may well have taken the tie to penalties. Weather permitting, Parkway return to league action at Bolitho Park on Saturday with 4th placed Bitton the visitors. With their scheduled opponents Cadbury Heath engaged in FA Vase action and keen to avoid two successive blank Saturday’s and potential end of season fixture pile up, the club hastily rearranged the fixture, bringing it forward from mid March.