FT: Westbury United 1 (Stradling 58)
Plymouth Parkway 2 (Williams 20, M. Landricombe 67)
PARKWAY BOUNCE BACK WITH HARD FOUGHT VICTORY.
Parkway travelled to Westbury looking to bounce back from their narrow Boxing Day defeat to Tavistock. Parkway made 2 changes with Rob Farkins returning after a one match suspension and Michael Landricombe starting in centre midfield. Westbury reported numerous changes from their narrow Boxing Day 2-1 defeat at league leaders Bradford Town.
Parkway started at a high tempo and almost took the lead on 3 minutes. Good work on the right between Mikey Williams and Billy Palfrey saw the ball squared to Adam Carter who just failed to get a good connection with his effort being blocked by Westbury keeper Ed Baldy. With the game continuing at a fast pace, a Westbury attack was halted by a fine block tackle by Nick Milton denying the hosts a shot on goal on 6 minutes. Westbury continued to threaten on the break with a long bouncing ball causing a misunderstanding between Farkins and Kyle Moore with Moore pushing the ball behind for a corner on 16 minutes. From the corner, a Louis Wilkins header was cleared off the line by Jack Calver. The early scares seemed to galvanise Parkway who upped their game and began to control the congested midfield with Westbury playing very narrow. A period of Parkway pressure saw them win a free kick on the left on 20 minutes. From the kick Rob Farkins at the back post directed his strong header into the 6 yard area with Carter stabbing the ball goalwards from close range which seemed to get a slight touch off Williams as it trickled over the line. After some post match discussion and a view of video footage, the goal was credited to Williams.
With Parkway now beginning to dominate, a flowing move along the left ended with a teasing cross from Jordan Copp being touched just wide by Carter. Westbury continued to compete well with Parkway being forced to defend strongly. From a Westbury attack down the right on 25 minutes, Calver chasing back to cover appeared to pick up an injury and was replaced by Tiegan Rosenquest. Copp dropped into the left back slot with Rosenquest playing ahead of him wide on the left. Parkway continued to play with intensity forcing Westbury on to the defensive and good link play between Palfrey and Shane Krac saw Palfrey’s shot on target deflected for a corner on 35 minutes. The corner was played deep to Krac who fizzed a shot just wide from around 25 yards. Westbury still looking to play on the counter had a good chance to draw level on 40 minutes with William Thompson blasting over unchallenged when well placed. The game saw it’s first yellow card on 41 minutes with Wilkins cautioned for a late challenge on Farkins as he cleared the ball.
Parkway almost doubled their lead on 42 minutes. A smart passage of play down the right saw a deep cross find Carter who blasted an angled first time shot against the bar from around 15 yards with the follow up effort being cleared off the line. Just before the break Westbury almost equalised. Dan Demkiv broke clear into the 18 yard area on the left unchallenged and curled a shot around Moore who at full stretch managed to fingertip the ball on to the post and behind for a corner. A crucial save at a crucial time. A couple of wild shots off target from Parkway ended a tense first half with Parkway just about deserving their narrow lead with Westbury not out of the game.
Parkway started the second half the sharper forcing a couple of early corners the second of which on 48 minutes created an almighty scramble in the 6 yard area with Westbury eventually managing to clear after defending manfully. Another corner on 52 minutes saw Copp pull a shot just wide. With Parkway now forcing the pace, a neat interchange down the left between Copp and Rosenquest saw the latter’s shot blocked by Baldy with another goalmouth scramble ensuing with Parkway unable to apply a finishing touch. Parkway continued to create half chances but it was Westbury, having probably their best period of the game, who equalised on 58 minutes. Joe Stradling picked up a loose ball in centre midfield and powered on unchallenged through a stretched Parkway defensive line and finished clinically from around 20 yards low to Moore’s right.
Westbury continued to threaten with a shot going wide on 64 minutes however Parkway regrouped and regained the lead after a period of pressure on 67 minutes. A corner on the right saw Farkins smash a trademark header against the bar with the ball looping back out to Landricombe who nodded into the top corner from 6 yards. A spectacular overhead kick from Krac on 71 minutes flew high and wide as Parkway applied more pressure. Landricombe picked up a soft looking yellow card on 76 minutes with Copp following him into the book for a rash challenge a minute later after being caught in possession. A strong run along the left by Krac on 79 minutes tested the Westbury defence with William’s persistence on the opposite flank winning a corner in their next attack.
On 81 minutes Bradley Ausden replaced the hard working and league’s top scorer Carter who on another day might well have had a hattrick. The game continued to be hard fought as Westbury strived for an equaliser forcing Parkway to defend deeper and in numbers. As the game approached stoppage time Parkway had a massive let off with Moore pulling off a superb save at point blank range and with Westbury looking dangerous and Parkway hanging on and defending desperately they almost snatched an equaliser in the 92ndminute. Yet again Moore came to the rescue clawing a close range effort away at full stretch from substitute Ricky Hulbert with Westbury claiming the ball had crossed the line. Parkway eventually managed to break away and retain possession deep in the Westbury half with the final whistle coming as a relief to Parkway players, management and supporters alike.
A tough, uncompromising game with a dogged performance by Parkway displaying character, desire and determination to grind out the victory against a spirited Westbury. Moore was rightly made man of the match with his vital saves at the end of either half. With leaders Bradford losing 3-1 at Keynsham Town, Parkway remain in 2ndplace with the gap reduced back to 3 points but still with a game in hand. With Exmouth Town gaining a narrow 4-3 victory at Street, they are emerging from the pack as genuine promotion contenders lying in 4thplace 3 points behind Parkway but with a game in hand. Parkway now start a testing January with 8 scheduled games with the first a visit from Brislington next Saturday.
|1. Kyle Moore|
|2. Aaron Bentley|
|11. Jack Calver|
|15. Mike Landricombe||Goal|
|5. Rob Farkins|
|6. Nick Milton|
|17. Mikey Williams||Goal|
|8. Shane Krac|
|9. Adam Carter|
|4. Billy Palfrey|
|7. Jordan Copp|
|12. Teigan Rosenquest|
|15. Bradley Ausden|
|14. Fletcher Williams|
|18. Antonio Costa|