FT: Plymouth Parkway 4 (Carter 22, 62, Krac 45, Williams 65)
Bitton 3 (Egan pen 26, 44, Groves 59)
PERSISTENT PARKWAY PREVAIL IN 7 GOAL THRILLER
Due to the visitors late arrival after being held up in traffic as a result of a serious accident on the M5, kick off was delayed until 3.15. Prior to kick off a moving tribute was paid and a minutes silence observed in honour of a Parkway stalwart Alan Horswell who sadly died recently after having been associated with the club in many guises since its inception some 30 years ago.
Parkway made 2 changes, one enforced, from last Saturday’s victory over Chipping Sodbury with Billy Palfrey replacing the injured Aaron Bentley at right back and Jamie Lowry coming in for Elliot Ward in midfield. The game got off to an even start with both sides feeling their way into the game with Bitton seeing an early break along the right on 10 minutes solidly defended by Rob Farkins. There was little flow or pattern to the play which was continually being disrupted by a series of petty infringements and free kicks with neither side able to gain control or create any clear chances.
The first worthwhile effort on goal came on 15 minutes when a good passage of play along the right saw Mikey Williams and Adam Carter link well to set up Billy Palfrey whose shot was blocked by some determined Bitton defending. Play continued to lack too much quality with the referee finally losing patience and booking Bitton’s Ryan Bath for a series of persistent infringements. Parkway gradually began to gain some momentum with Shane Krac and Jamie Lowry prominent in midfield and they took the lead on 22 minutes. A strong run forward from deep by Parkway’s player of the month for October Ryan Lane saw him release Jordan Copp down the left whose first time low cross on the run into the 6 yard box found Carter who, unchallenged, side footed home from close range.
With Aysa Corrick a constant threat down the right and Josh Egan also lively up front, Bitton soon drew level. On 26 minutes a period of pressure along the left saw a low cross hit a Parkway hand and a hotly contested penalty given. Egan smashed home the spot kick giving Kyle Moore no chance. Play continued to be highly competitive swinging from end to end with both sides looking to probe an opening. Bitton almost took the lead on 34 minutes with Bath’s header from an Egan cross being blocked on the line by the commanding Farkins.
Frequent free kicks continued to break up play with both sides lacking quality in their delivery of set pieces. A Parkway attack on 38 minutes saw a smart turn and close range shot by Carter superbly saved by Sam Burgess but it was Bitton who took the lead on 44 minutes. A counter attack breached the Parkway back line leaving Moore exposed in a two on one situation with Egan having time to pick his spot and calmly finish from around 10 yards. Almost straight from the restart Parkway grabbed an equaliser. A long ball into the 18 yard box saw Carter flick on a header with Krac reacting the quickest and deftly lobbing Burgess from around 8 yards. A dramatic end to the half which had lacked too much quality with play at times scrappy and disjointed with the score all square just about right.
Parkway made the early running in the second half with Williams seeing his shot from 18 yards well saved by Burgess on 48 minutes. Parkway continued to threaten and on 54 minutes a fine run from midfield by Lowry and a neat exchange between Williams and Carter saw a shot by Williams blocked by the chest of Burgess. However on 59 minuts it was Bitton who took the lead for the second time. A quick break along their right saw the Parkway defence outpaced with a well directed cross finding the unmarked Matt Groves at the far post who slotted home from close range.
Just after the hour Jack Calver was replaced by Craig Duff with Parkway once again equalising almost straight away, this time with an element of good fortune. A dangerous cross into the six yard box was poorly defended with the ball looping high into the air with top scorer Carter reacting the quickest to nod a header over Burgess from around 5 yards. Parkway continued to apply pressure with Duff making an early impact by winning a couple of headers and their persistence paid off on 65 minutes.
Another cross from the left saw Carter win a header which dropped nicely to Williams, now playing just behind the striker, who smashed his shot high into the roof of the net from around 10 yards. Bitton remained well in the game and on 68 minutes a fierce shot from distance by Egan was pushed round the post by Moore. Bath was replaced by William Fletcher on 69 minutes with Corrick then firing narrowly over after a Bitton corner had not been cleared. Williams then saw his neat lob cleared close to the line after a Duff header had sent him clear. Williams was replaced by Tiegan Rosenquest on 78 minutes with Bitton’s Kyle Harrison coming on for the impressive Egan.
With Parkway now looking to manage the game out, they were at times guilty of conceding possession too easily allowing Bitton to apply pressure and forcing Parkway to defend deeper and in numbers. However they remained solid defensively and despite a number of yellow cards in the last few minutes, including one for Copp, they manged to see the game out and held on for the narrow victory. Not a game for the purists with two well matched, well organised, highly committed sides slugging it out to provide an entertaining game with some rare moments of quality for the above average crowd of 256. Parkway, in a gutsy performance, showed their resilience and dogged determination not to be beaten by twice coming from behind with the key factor being them able to draw level within minutes of going behind on both occasions thereby not allowing Bitton to consolidate their leads. Parkway remain in second place behind Bradford Town who also narrowly won today and should they win their game in hand at lowly Wellington on Wednesday would go top on goal difference. With no fixture next Saturday, Parkway have a short period of recovery prior to entertaining Ilfracombe Town in the Devon Bowl on Tuesday 26th and the eagerly anticipated visit to Hamworthy United in the 3rd round of the FA Vase on Saturday 30th. The twice postponed Les Phillips Cup 1st round tie at Exmouth Town has just been rearranged for Wednesday 4th December with a 1930 kick off.
|1. Kyle Moore|
|3. Ryan Lane|
|4. Billy Palfrey|
|5. Rob Farkins|
|6. Nick Milton|
|7. Mikey Williams||Goal|
|8. Shane Krac||Goal|
|9. Adam Carter||GoalGoal|
|10. Jamie Lowry|
|14. Jack Calver|
|15. Jordan Copp|
|11. Teigan Rosenquest|
|20. Elliot Ward|
|21. Craig Duff|