A bridge too far for Parkway
The Full Time match report by Graham Lloyd
FT: Bridgwater Town 2 (Taylor 43, Llewellyn pen 45+3) Plymouth Parkway 0
Parkway travelled to Bridgwater in a rearranged fixture knowing at least a point would take them to the top of the league as with most other teams involved in FA Vase action, this was the only league fixture played today. With Adam Carter, Tiegan Rosenquest and Antonio Costa all unavailable, Parkway made personnel/positional changes from last week’s FA Cup victory over Paulton Rovers. Will Tinsley replaced Aaron Bentley at right back, Jack Calver reverted from midfield to left back replacing Jordan Copp with Jamie Lowry coming into midfield.
A good crowd of 232, including around 30 away supporters, saw Parkway make a strong start with Curtis Damerell going clear one on one with Jake Viney on 3 minutes only for the home keeper to get a vital touch on the ball preventing Damerell getting his shot away. Bridgwater then had an effort ruled out for a clear offside. Viney was called into action again on 6 minutes when, at full stretch, he pulled off a terrific save pushing a stinging Shane Krac shot behind for a corner.
As the game settled down, Parkway continued to threaten with Krac again going clear on 12 minutes only to let down by his final touch. A smart turn in midfield by Damerell on 17 minutes saw him release Mikey Williams who linked well with Ryan Lane with his cross falling to Krac whose shot was saved low down by Viney. Bridgwater continued to soak up pressure and were content to play on the counter. On 18 minutes Tom Ellis saw his header from a corner saved by Kyle Moore in the Parkway goal. A sharp Bridgwater move on 22 minutes saw a Sam Towler effort blocked by Nick Milton with Jamie Lowry clearing the danger. Parkway continued to have plenty of the ball but with Bridgwater pressing well, they were unable to build too many attacks with their final ball lacking quality and the home defence looking strong and well organised.
Play became scrappy with both sides guilty of hitting too many long balls in the stiff crossfield breeze and neither able to retain possession for too long. A couple of long throws from Ellis caused problems in the Parkway 6 yard box with a close range header from one being saved by Moore. On 39 minutes a quick break on the left from Williams forced another smart save from Viney as Parkway continued to force the pace but were still unable to breach the home defence. A rare error at the back saw Jamie Laird misjudge a header allowing Lane to get in behind only for his shot to well blocked by Viney. Despite Parkway having most of the play and creating the better chances, Bridgwater took the lead on 43 minutes. With the home defence claiming offside and seeming to stop, a long ball over the top caused confusion leaving Steve Murray and Jack Taylor well clear and Moore exposed. An unchallenged interchange of passes between the two ended with a simple tap in by Taylor from very close range with Moore helpless. Williams then saw another shot saved after good work by Damerell before Bridgwater doubled their lead in first half stoppage time. Another long ball over the top wide on the left saw Murray break clear, get to the bye line and drive into the penalty area where he was tripped by Rob Farkins. Jake Llewellyn confidently despatched the spot kick with the referee blowing immediately for half time. Although Parkway shaded possession in the first half and created the better chances, they were unable make their pressure pay and were caught by two sucker punches late on giving the home side a slightly flattering 2-0 lead.
Parkway started the second half on the attack as they tried to get an early goal to reduce the deficit. On 49 minutes good build up play saw Damerell set up Krac who shot just over from around 18 yards. With Bridgwater content to contain, Parkway continued to push forward but too often their final ball lacked quality with the impressive Viney commanding his area well dealing comfortably and confidently with a series of high and low crosses. On 57 minutes a deep cross to Lane found him in the clear only to be let down by his first touch with the ball running out for a goal kick. Billy Palfrey was then replaced by Bentley who went up front to add some height with Bridgwater responding by going 5 at the back.
On 59 minutes Bridgwater’s Dave O’Hare received the game’s first yellow card for a cynical foul. With Parkway struggling to retain possession in midfield, Milton was the next to be booked as frustration began to creep into their play. Bridgwater continued to play on the break seeing a shot blocked on 62 minutes with Harry Horton the next player to receive a yellow card as play became fragmented and disjointed. With Parkway pushing forward, gaps started to appear in midfield with the home side having a golden opportunity to increase their lead on 64 minutes. A quick break saw Moore block a close range shot with his feet with the ball looping in the air to Dave Thorne who inexplicably headed the ball straight at Moore with an open goal in front of him.
Calver saw a shot from distance sail harmlessly wide on 65 minutes as the home side continued to defend deep and in numbers denying Parkway time and space. Copp replaced Lane on 68 minutes with Calver pushing further forward. A smart move along the right on 70 minutes involving Williams, Krac and Tinsley resulted in a low cross by the latter being well smothered by Viney. Bridgwater began ringing their changes on 71 minutes with Mark Armstrong replacing Towler. Viney then saved comfortably from a curling effort from Williams. With Parkway camped in the home half, Bentley fired over on 75 minutes when well placed. Fletcher Williams then replaced Tinsley as Parkway continued to look for a breakthrough. On 77 minutes Mikey Williams saw his close range shot superbly saved by Viney with Bentley smashing the rebound against the post from a narrow angle. Bridgwater continued to defend strongly with Parkway unable to find a way through with their final ball continuing to let them down.
On 84 minutes another Parkway attack broke down allowing Bridgwater to exploit the midfield space with Murray racing clear unchallenged only to see his powerful strike go over Moore but cannon off the cross bar and away to safety. Bridgwater were now happy to slow the game down making their final substitutions on 84 and 86 minutes with Finley Wilkinson on for Llewellyn and Pat O’Halloran replacing the hard working Murray. They still found time to break forward with Taylor going clear on 90 minutes firing into the side netting from an angle on the right. Parkway kept pushing forward to the end but were unable to penetrate the well organised and resolute home defence. Bentley received the game’s final yellow card in stoppage time as the home side continued to frustrate and blunt further Parkway attacks.
A disappointing result for Parkway who, despite long periods in possession, were unable to make their pressure pay against a well organised defensive unit backed up by an extremely competent goalkeeper. Lack of composure in vital areas and conceding 2 goals in quick succession just before the break were ultimately the reasons for the defeat which was their first since in the league since being beaten at home by Chipping Sodbury on 5 January 2019. It was also the first time they have failed to score since the 1-0 home defeat to Westbury United on 18 October 2018. Credit to Bridgwater who stuck to their game plan, defended well, countered quickly and took their chances at a crucial time. Parkway will now look to react and respond positively prior to their next game which is at Bolitho Park next Saturday when Merthyr Town of the Southern League Premier Division South (step 3) are the visitors in the 1stRound Qualifying of the FA Cup. This will be a repeat of the fixture at the same stage of the competition in the 2015/16 season when the Welsh side ran out 2-0 winners.
|1. Kyle Moore|
|3. Ryan Lane|
|8. Billy Palfrey|
|5. Rob Farkins|
|6. Nick Milton|
|7. Mikey Williams|
|14. Shane Krac|
|4. Jamie Lowry|
|13. Will Tinsley|
|4. Jack Calver|
|16. Curtis Damerell|
|16. Aaron Bentley|
|12. Jordan Copp|
|15. Fletcher Williams|