Parkway Bounce Back In Style
The Full Time Match Report
By Graham Lloyd
FT: Bitton 1 (og Bentley 73) Plymouth Parkway 5 (Palfrey 6, 69, Bentley 54, Carter 62, Copp 89)
Parkway travelled to many peoples fancied title contenders Bitton who finished 3rd last season and currently lie 5th looking to bounce back from last week’s 3-3 draw with Keynsham where they conceded a 3 goal lead.
Bitton were playing their first game for 3 weeks and made a few enforced changes from their last outing. Parkway made 3 changes from last week with Jack Calver, Ryan Lane and new signing Elliot Ward replacing Shane Krac, Teigan Rosenquest and Fletcher Williams. On a sloping, undulating pitch, both sides started at a fast tempo with the hosts Aysa Corrick looking dangerous along their right flank. However it was Parkway who created the first chance with Billy Palfrey seeing his angled shot pushed behind on 2 minutes with Aaron Bentley‘s header being cleared off the line from the resultant corner. Parkway continued their positive start and took the lead on 6 minutes. A neat exchange of passes on the left between Lane and Jordan Copp saw the latter’s deep cross reach the unmarked Palfrey who fired home a fierce angled drive from around 15 yards.
With the game developing into an intense midfield battle, Bitton won a free kick in a dangerous position on 12 minutes with Billy Fletcher heading well over. Parkway continued to play at a high tempo looking comfortable in possession in midfield, moving the ball at pace and remaining strong at the back with Nick Milton and captain for the day Rob Farkins forming a solid central defensive partnership. Bitton looked to switch the play whenever possible with Corrick and Matt Groves proving dangerous on the flanks but Parkway continued to defend comfortably withKyle Moore relatively untested. On 19 minutes Copp was foolishly sin binned having already been verbally warned for his dissent to officials moments earlier. With 10 minute sin bins for dissent having been introduced this season, this is an area Parkway must eradicate as it could prove costly in the long run.
Whilst down to 10 men, a period of Bitton pressure then followed with Josh Egan seeing his shot comfortably saved by Moore on 22 minutes. Another Bitton attack on 24 minutes saw Dean Griffiths receive the game’s first yellow card after unnecessarily bundling into Moore who was clearly in full control of the ball having made a smart save low down. With Bitton continuing to apply pressure, Griffiths then fired wildly over on 25 minutes when well placed. With Copp returning to fray on 29 minutes, Parkway won a free kick with Calver fizzing his effort just wide. Corrick continued to have plenty of the ball but his final ball lacked quality with little end product. Play then went a through a scrappy period with little flow or direction and a series of stoppages for silly infringements by both sides. Ward saw his shot blocked at close range on 36 minutes with the rebound being fired just wide.
Bitton responded with Egan lobbing over Moore and the bar from distance on 39 minutes followed by a quick break involving Griffiths and Egan setting up Corrick who fired wastefully over. With both sides battling well to create further openings and defending strongly, the half came to an end with Palfrey picking up a yellow card on 42 minutes followed by the host’s Kristian Miller also being booked just before the break. As expected, a tight, tense tussle with neither side able to dominate for long and Parkway just about deserving their slender lead.
Bitton started the second half the sharper with Moore saving well from a close range header on 47 minutes. Bitton continued to press creating a few half chances with Parkway being forced to defend in numbers, at times desperately. Having weathered the early storm, Parkway gradually gained some control in midfield with Ward becoming more influential showing shrewd movement and a good range of simple passing always looking to set up attacking positions and being well supported by Mikey Williams, Lane, Palfrey and Calver. On 53 minutes a strong run down the right by Bentley saw his whipped cross fly across the 6 yard box with no one able to get the final touch. Arguably against the run of play, Parkway doubled their lead on 54 minutes. A foul on the impressive Ward wide on the right saw Calver deliver a perfectly flighted free kick to the far post where Bentley powered home a header for the defender’s 4th goal of the season. With Parkway now in the ascendancy, another flowing move through the midfield ended with the Bitton defence hacking clear a dangerous Williams cross from inside the 6 yard area. The hosts replaced Jordan Whittaker with Ibrahima Diallo on 56 minutes as Parkway, now playing with some freedom, looked threatening with every attack. It was no surprise when they increased their lead on 62 minutes.
More neat build up play saw another Williams cross find Carter in the 6 yard box who turned well and stabbed home the rebound after his initial effort had been blocked. Bitton’s Fletcher was then sin binned for remarks made to the officials about the build up to the goal. With Bitton now trying to force their way back into the game Rob Farkins was booked for a foul on 65 minutes with Egan suffering the same fate shortly after. With Parkway now attacking at will and Ward continuing to probe and prompt from central midfield, they went further ahead on 69 minutes. Superb work wide on the right by Copp saw him beat two defenders, get to the bye line and pull the ball back to Palfrey who drilled home a crisp, low effort from around 15 yards for his 2nd goal of the game. Bitton now playing on the break continued to battle hard and pulled a goal back on 73 minutes via an own goal. Parkway conceded possession in midfield and a cross from the right into the danger area saw the attempted clearance from the Parkway defence unluckily hit one of their own defenders and trickle over the line.
Parkway quickly bounced back and from the restart another smart move ended with Calver hitting a piledriver of a shot from around 35 yards which was instinctively somehow blocked by Sam Burgess in the home goal. On 77 minutes Bitton were reduced to 10 men with Miller receiving his second yellow card for a poor, unnecessary challenge wide on the left with no danger threatening. With Parkway continuing to slice through the Bitton midfield at will, Bentley fired over after more excellent link up play between Williams and Copp. With Parkway now content to manage the game out and Bitton offering little threat for the final 10 minutes, they got their 5th and arguably best goal of the game on 89 minutes. Another incisive move ended with Palfrey sending Copp clear wide on the right with Copp turning his marker inside out and cutting inside to curl a superlative left foot shot from around 25 yards around the keeper and high into the top corner rebounding off the stanchion.
An impressive overall performance from Parkway who showed many sides of their game with their battling qualities when required, strong defending when under pressure and periods of slick passing football of which they are known to be capable. Their outstanding 15 minute spell of attacking football midway through the second half took the game away from Bitton completely to cement an ultimately comfortable victory. Unusually they did not use any substitutes today. The win sees Parkway remain on top of the league 2 points clear of Bridgwater but with a far superior goal difference. With many of the chasing pack having games in hand, they must look to sustain their standard of performance and not have a poor October as they did last season if they are to maintain their promotion ambitions. Parkway now travel to 8th placed Hallen next Saturday in the 2nd of 3 consecutive away games.
|1. Kyle Moore|
|2. Aaron Bentley||Goal|
|3. Ryan Lane|
|4. Billy Palfrey||GoalGoal|
|5. Rob Farkins|
|6. Nick Milton|
|7. Mikey Williams|
|9. Adam Carter||Goal|
|14. Jack Calver|
|15. Jordan Copp||Goal|
|20. Elliot Ward|
|11. Teigan Rosenquest|
|13. Will Tinsley|
|17. Fletcher Williams|
|18. Antonio Costa|