The Full Time Match Report
By Graham Lloyd
FT: Plymouth Parkway 0 Merthyr Town 1 (Traylor 76)
Parkway entertained Merthyr Town in the 1st Round Qualifying of the Emirates FA Cup looking for the win which would take them forward and equal last seasons best ever showing in the competition. Merthyr play in the Southern League Premier Division, 2 levels above Parkway. A good crowd of 201 including a considerable number from over the Severn Bridge were in attendance on a bright, late summers afternoon in perfect playing conditions. Parkway made 4 changes from last week’s defeat at Bridgwater Town with Will Tinsley and the unavailable Jack Calver, Jamie Lowry and Curtis Damerell being replaced by Aaron Bentley, Tiegan Rosenquest, Jordan Copp and Adam Carter.
Parkway got off to a quick start with Rosenquest seeing his shot fly just over on 3 minutes after good play along the right involving Mikey Williams and Shane Krac. Merthyr responded on 5 minutes with the prolific Ian Traylor heading just wide after a telling cross from the right by former Swansea City professional Kerry Morgan. Another dangerous cross by Morgan was cleared behind for a corner with Merthyr having a strong appeal for a penalty turned down as Parkway cleared the ball from a scramble in the 6 yard box.
After the initial burst from both sides, the game settled down and developed into an even affair with Merthyr looking to play the ball from the back and looking composed and comfortable in possession. Parkway looking neat and tidy in midfield with Billy Palfrey and Krac prompting and probing, looked to spread the play and created a couple of half chances. The dangerous Traylor then saw his shot palmed away by Kyle Moore on 15 minutes after a quick break down the Merthyr left. Parkway continued to have their fair share of possession with Ryan Lane seeing his shot blocked on 16 minutes and a Palfrey shot from distance being parried away by Alex Harris in the Merthyr goal shortly after. Bentley then saw his shot fumbled low down by Harris as Parkway continued to apply pressure.
Merthyr looking to break quickly using their flanks to good effect had the next chance on 22 minutes with once again Traylor providing the threat with his shot being superbly blocked by Copp. A surging run from midfield by Krac saw him release Rosenquest whose angled shot was well blocked by Harris at his near post. On 25 minutes a free kick from 25 yards by Morgan flew well over as the game continued to ebb and flow. Parkway continued to create opportunities with Merthyr looking dangerous on the break but unable to penetrate the Parkway defence with central defenders Rob Farkins and Nick Milton commanding in the air and dealing comfortably with the threat.
On 28 minutes Merthyr’s Owain Jones was booked for simulation in the Parkway penalty area. Morgan continued to be influential on the Merthyr right with a series of crosses which were generally comfortably dealt with as Moore remained relatively untroubled. On 34 minutes a shot on the turn from the edge of the 18 yard box by Tom Meechan flew narrowly over. Parkway had the next chance on 38 minutes with Copp breaking clear on the left and crossing to Palfrey whose shot from around 20 yards was blocked. Merthyr continued to be patient and look to play from the back with Parkway competing well in midfield and matching their opponents with neither side able to dominate or gain the upper hand. The final action of the half came on 41 minutes with a powerful run forward down the left by Rosenquest being ended by a foul with the resultant free kick being well defended. An absorbing first half ended all square with both sides looking to move the ball quickly with clear chances at a premium and little to choose between the sides.
Merthyr made the better start to the second half with a shot by Traylor being blocked on 47 minutes. A Parkway break on 49 minutes saw Krac link well with Williams whose cross cum shot flew across the Merthyr 6 yard box with no one able to get the final touch. A Merthyr free kick then went well over as they continued to apply pressure with Farkins seeing yellow for a foul on 52 minutes with the resultant free kick from Morgan going well wide. Parkway continued to defend well and created the next chance on 57 minutes. A good move between Lane, Carter and Williams ended with a snap effort from Lane being cleared off the line by Kyle Patten. With Parkway now having a period on top, Craig Macdonnell was the next to be booked after wrestling Carter to the ground just outside the penalty area when the striker was almost through on goal. Krac and Williams then linked well with Krac shooting when he maybe should have taken a better option. On the hour Merthyr made a double substitution with Ben Swallow and Ashley Evans replacing Morgan and Meechan respectively. On 64 minutes another Merthyr free kick from the left to the far post saw a free header from central defender Jarrad Wright superbly blocked low down by Moore.
Merthyr continued to apply pressure with Lee Lucas shooting wide from distance and Milton then being forced into a superb covering tackle to prevent another Merthyr strike. On 75 minutes Fletcher Williams replaced Krac for Parkway as Merthyr continued to force the pace and control the midfield area. The deadlock was finally broken on 76 minutes. A loose crossfield pass midway in the Parkway half was intercepted by the alert Traylor who ran forward unchallenged and shot low into the corner from around 20 yards giving Moore no chance. Despite Parkway now having to push forward looking for an equaliser, the Merthyr defence remained solid and composed with Harris rarely being called into action. Merthyr continued to remain in control as Parkway, despite pushing men forward and having plenty of possession, were unable to create many clear cut chances. Sean Thomson, making his debut, replaced Palfrey on 83 minutes as Parkway continued to drive forward with Merthyr snuffing out the threat with relative ease. On 84 minutes Lucas was booked for kicking the ball away after conceding a free kick as Merthyr looked to contain Parkway and retain possession in the Parkway half. With Farkins now playing up front, Tinsley replaced Bentley on 86 minutes as Parkway searched desperately to get on level terms. Merthyr looked to clear the ball long into the now wide open spaces in the Parkway half with Swallow shooting wide on 88 minutes from a quick break. A long throw from Tinsley into the 6 yard box was well defended by Merthyr as they remained calm under pressure as the game entered stoppage time. Tinsley was the final player to be booked with Parkway unable to create any further clear cut chances as their participation in the competition ended for another season.
A good close game played in the right spirit from two sides two leagues apart both looking to play the game in the right way with the visitors showing that little bit of extra quality at key times in key areas. In a game of fine margins, it was ultimately decided by a misplaced pass being clinically punished. In his immediate post match interview the Merthyr manager was complimentary about the Parkway performance considering they play at two levels below his own team. Parkway now resume their league campaign with a visit to Street on Wednesday where they will be looking to get back on track and consolidate their league position.
|1. Kyle Moore|
|16. Aaron Bentley|
|3. Ryan Lane|
|8. Billy Palfrey|
|5. Rob Farkins|
|6. Nick Milton|
|7. Mikey Williams|
|14. Shane Krac|
|9. Adam Carter|
|11. Teigan Rosenquest|
|12. Jordan Copp|
|13. Will Tinsley|
|15. Fletcher Williams|
|18. Antonio Costa|