FT: Plymouth Parkway 2 (Carter 60, M. Landricombe 90+5)
Hallen 2 (Anglin 6, Bamfo 42)
LAST GASP EQUALISER KEEPS PARKWAY ON TOP
Playing their first home game for a month, Parkway looked to put the disappointment of last week’s FA Vase exit behind them and refocus on their promotion challenge as they entertained an in form 4th placed Hallen. With 163 in attendance and 2 more home games to follow this week, Parkway made 4 changes with Ryan Lane, Jordan Bentley, Craig Duff and Jack Calver starting in place of Mikey Williams, Teigan Rosenquest and the unavailable Rob Farkins and Jamie Lowry.
Parkway started the game at a high tempo with Calver and Lane prominent along the left making early breaks with Hallen forced to defend a couple of half chances which Parkway failed to convert. Despite the early dominance by Parkway, it was the visitors who took the lead in the sixth minute with their first meaningful attack. With Parkway appealing unsuccessfully for offside, the pacey Ed Bamfo broke clear down the right, cut into the 18 yard area, rounded an exposed Kyle Moore and squared to the unmarked Aaron Anglin who had an easy tap in from close range.
Parkway looked to respond and a Calver free kick from the left dropped to Jordan Bentley whose shot was comfortably saved by Liam Macfarlane. Hallen began to gain control of midfield looking comfortable in possession and quicker to the ball with Jordan Ricketts shooting just wide on 15 minutes. Parkway were unable to impose themselves, frequently conceding possession in midfield with Hallen looking well organised and defending solidly. On 24 minutes the lively Bamfo broke clear but was tripped by Jordan Bentley who received the game’s first yellow card with the resultant free kick coming to nothing. Hallen continued to look the stronger outfit with Parkway unable to create any clear chances and being restricted to long range efforts with an angled drive from Duff going just wide on 34 minutes.
With the game becoming feisty and Parkway frustration creeping in, Shane Krac was booked on 41 minutes as Hallen continued to look the more dangerous and they doubled their lead on 42 minutes. A free kick from the left saw a point blank header spectacularly saved by Moore and with Parkway unable to clear their lines, Bamfo pounced to fire the loose, bouncing ball home from close range. The visitors combative Sam Hill was then booked and with half time approaching and Parkway looking to get back into the game, Billy Palfrey had a couple of long range efforts, the first going well over, the second being blocked by some determined Hallen defending. After a bright start by Parkway, Hallen took control and were good value for their lead with Parkway unable to create any clear cut chances, invariably sloppy in possession in a generally lacklustre, disjointed display.
Strong words must have been said at half time as Parkway were out very early having made a double substitution with Rosenquest and Steve Colwell replacing Jordan Copp and Duff. They started the second half at a high tempo with more intensity and on 47 minutes a neat interchange between Adam Carter and Krac saw the latter slice a shot just wide. With Parkway now dictating the pace of the game, the increasingly impressive Lane then saw his shot from distance on 52 minutes well saved by Macfarlane. With the visitors conceding a number of free kicks in dangerous areas, a well flighted kick by Carver on 54 minutes saw Aaron Bentley head just wide at the far post.
With Parkway now applying constant pressure and looking a much more determined outfit, another good passage of play along the right on 57 minutes saw a cross cause confusion and a scramble and in the 6 yard box resulting in some desperate defending and a penalty being given for handball. With Carter having missed the last penalty in the West Auckland game, Krac had assumed the duties but unfortunately suffered the same fate by firing his spot kick high over the bar. Rob Latham then replaced the hard working Anglin for the visitors and with Parkway looking to recover quickly from the penalty miss they reduced the arrears in their next attack on the hour. A strong run from the back along the left from the increasingly influential Lane who, showing good pace and control, delivered a quality cross into the danger area where Carter sidefooted home from close range.
Parkway continued to control the game with Hallen being forced to defend deeper and play on the counter however Parkway were unable to create many clear chances despite applying constant pressure. With the visitors looking to slow the pace of the game at every opportunity and frustrate Parkway, Ricketts and Elliot Gibbons were booked for fouls on 70 and 73 minutes conceding free kicks with a Nick Milton header from one of them being comfortably saved by Macfarlane.
A rare Hallen attack on 75 minutes was halted by Aaron Bentley who picked up a yellow card and the resultant free kick almost deceived Moore whose fumbled save was eventually cleared to safety. With Parkway continuing to apply pressure, a strong run forward saw Colwell cynically brought down on the edge of the box by Jack Mills who was booked with Calver’s free kick failing to beat the wall. Hallen continued to defend the wave of Parkway attacks as the pressure increased with Parkway making their final substitution on 85 minutes with Michael Landricombe replacing the hard working Calver.
With the game entering stoppage time Hallen looked to slow the game down replacing the impressive Bamfo with Kyle Anderson-Blagdon. A series of attacks during a lengthy period of stoppage time was finally rewarded as Parkway grabbed a dramatic equaliser in the 95th minute. Yet another quality cross from the left by Lane saw substitute Landricombe climbing highest above a crowd of players at the far post to plant a firm header into the top corner from around 5 yards with the referee blowing for time straight after the restart.
A patchy, disjointed first half performance from Parkway who were clearly second best to a determined, committed Hallen but a much improved second half display was finally rewarded with their desire and perseverance paying off to claim a hard fought but deserved point. With Bradford Town’s game postponed and emphatic victories for Tavistock and Exmouth Town, Parkway remain top on goal difference from Tavistock with two games in hand with Bradford a point behind in 3rd place but having played a game less. With just 4 points separating the top 6 teams, albeit with a differing number of games played, the title race and promotion challenge is shaping up into an exciting climax to the season which, despite the significant number of postponed games for all clubs, has been deemed to finish as planned on 25 April by the FA who have refused league requests for an extension to the season. Weather permitting, mid table Westbury United visit Bolitho Park on Wednesday with Roman Glass St George the visitors next Saturday to conclude a busy 7 days for Parkway. There will be no respite as the following week sees 3 tough away games to sides in the top 6 on Monday, Thursday and Saturday at Exmouth, Bradford and Shepton Mallet respectively. No sure if your hard pressed reporter will be able to keep up!
|1. Kyle Moore|
|2. Aaron Bentley|
|3. Ryan Lane|
|4. Billy Palfrey|
|5. Jordan Bentley|
|6. Nick Milton|
|7. Jordan Copp|
|8. Shane Krac|
|9. Adam Carter||Goal|
|10. Craig Duff|
|11. Jack Calver|
|12. Teigan Rosenquest|
|14. Fletcher Williams|
|15. Mike Landricombe||Goal|
|16. Steve Colwell|
|17. Mikey Williams|