FT; Cullompton Rangers 3 (Donohue 30 secs, 49, Reed 62) Plymouth Parkway 4 (Annear 38, J. Heveran 44, Carter 80,
Parkway travelled to SW Peninsula League side Cullompton Rangers in the semi- final of the Devon St Lukes Challenge Bowl, a trophy they currently hold, with 6 of their squad unavailable and only 2 substitutes named. Personnel and positional changes were therefore enforced from Saturday’s draw at Bitton. An above average number of away supporters were in attendance. The game got off to a dramatic start with Cullompton taking the lead after 30 seconds. From the kick off Parkway sloppily conceded possession in midfield allowing Ash Donohue to race clear of the static Parkway defence and shoot home past a startled Kyle Moore. Parkway quickly regrouped and in an open game got their passing game going and began to get a foothold in the game with Aaron Bentley heading just over from a free kick on 11 minutes. With Tiegan Rosenquest looking positive and causing problems down the right flank, Parkway continued to attack with Cullompton restricted to counter attacking. On 19 minutes Jordan Annear was brought down on the edge of the 18 yard area with Less Afful’s free kick flying just over. Play continued to be evenly balanced with Parkway enjoying plenty of possession but being let down by their final ball as Cullompton defended well and withstood the mounting pressure. They created a couple of chances of their own with an effort being stabbed narrowly wide after a corner on 24 minutes and Lloyd Beech having a free header from another free kick well saved by Moore on 27. As Parkway continued to attack relentlessly, Adam Langabeer received a yellow card for a foul on Annear as he went clear on 34 minutes only for Lane to fire the free kick wildly over. The pressure finally paid off on 38 minutes as Parkway drew level. Good build up play between Mikey Williams and Adam Carter set up Annear who spun and turned sharply, finishing clinically from around 8 yards. Parkway continued to press in an open game and took the lead on 44 minutes. A deep corner from the right to the far post was nodded home by central defender John Heveran with Adam Seedhouse-Evans unable to gather the ball cleanly. After a sluggish start, Parkway gradually got into the game with their midfield dominating and their constant pressure eventually paying dividends towards the end of the half. Cullompton continued to compete well and looked dangerous on the break with Donohue looking particularly threatening. The second half started well for Cullompton as they drew level on 49 minutes. The pacey and dangerous Donohue latched on to a long ball well into the Parkway half, drove forward and cleverly lobbed the back peddling Moore from around 30 yards. Parkway continued to attack by building slowly from the back and through the midfield with Cullompton defending well and restricting Parkway to a couple of half chances. With Parkway pushing forward and Cullompton playing on the counter, Cullompton regained the lead on 62 minutes. A fast break down the right flank exposed the Parkway back line and a deep cross to the far post saw the unmarked Isaac Reed, who had made a strong run from his own half, stab home from close range. Parkway bounced straight back and another Aaron Bentley header from a free kick flew just wide. Lane then picked up yellow card along with Donohue after a little touchline tete a tete. With Parkway now pressing forward looking for an equaliser, they substituted Tiegan Rosenquest with Lee Bevan on 71 minutes with Williams pushed forward into a more advanced role. Cullompton replaced Tom Beddow with Danny Baily at the same time. This paid off almost immediately with Williams cutting speedily in from the right, evading a couple of tackles and seeing his well struck effort superbly saved by Seedhouse-Evans. Parkway eventually drew level on 80 minutes after a lengthy period in possession and constantly switching the direction of their attacks. An exquisite 50 yard perfectly paced and placed diagonal ball from substitute Bevan from the left into the danger area saw Carter show excellent awareness and anticipation and drill home a smart low volley from around 6 yards. A quality strike and assist. With the competition rules stating no extra time or replays, the penalty shootout looked the likely outcome going into the last 5 minutes. However Parkway had other ideas as they continued to press and probe, eventually being rewarded in stoppage time as the game ended as dramatically as it had started. A foul on the left edge of a crowded penalty area resulted in a penalty being awarded for a foul and a yellow card for Beech. Carter took responsibility and under considerable pressure, nervelessly converted the spot kick albeit via the base of a post! His reward was to be immediately to be replaced Jack Rhead, on his 18th birthday, for the final few minutes as Parkway ran the clock down and managed the game to it’s end. An entertaining game against a well organised side from a step lower in the pyramid with Parkway yet again showing the desire and will to win and in spite of their depleted squad. Credit to Cullompton who gave a good account of themselves in a tight, competitive game and who did well to take the few chances they created. Parkway will now hope to retain the trophy at the HQ of the Devon FA in Newton Abbot on Tuesday 30 April where they will meet either Exmouth Town or Exeter City. Parkway return to league action on Saturday when 4th placed Bridgwater Town visit Bolitho Park in another top of the table clash when most of tonight’s missing players are expected be available.