Fine margins cost Parkway Once Again
Parkway returned to Bolitho Park but again tasted defeat as Merthyr Town found a late winner to take home the points.
The learning curve continues for the squad with fine margins again proving costly writes Graham Lloyd.
Full Match Report
Images provided by Becky Handley
PLYMOUTH PARKWAY 0 MERTHYR TOWN 1 (Rees 82)
In front of another good attendance, Parkway returned to Bolitho Park after 2 successive 3-1 away defeats looking to pick up their first win of the season. 2 changes were made from Tuesday’s defeat at Dorchester Town with Michael Landricombe and Jack Crago returning in place of Aaron Goulty and the suspended Ben Seymour.
With both sides slowly feeling their way into way into the game, on 4 minutes Parkway almost took the lead. Crago went clear along the left with his cross into the 6 yard area causing confusion in the visitors defence and a close range effort being cleared off the line. Play gradually settled into a pattern with neither side forcing the pace and looking to build through midfield with both defences looking comfortable. With Camden Duncan looking threatening for Merthyr along their right, on 11 minutes he broke clear only to be denied a scoring opportunity by a well-timed tackle by Callum Rose with the ball going for a corner. The game continued to be an even affair with neither side able to dominate with Merthyr looking comfortable in possession and frequently building slowly from the back with neither keeper being tested.
On 22 minutes Crago became the first player to be cautioned after a retaliatory foul as play became scrappy lacking any great quality. Both defences remained on top with neither side able to penetrate in the final third with their final passes lacking direction. On 25 minutes a flowing move through midfield by the visitors was again halted by a strong block tackle by Rose forcing another corner. On 29 minutes good build up along the Parkway left between Billy Palfrey and Jared Lewington released Dan Rooney whose cross to the far post saw Crago just unable to get a final touch. Play then switched to the other end with a Ricardo Rees header being deflected behind for a corner.
With Parkway beginning to apply pressure and Tyler Ashmead making positive runs along the right, on 32 minutes he managed to get to the by-line and deliver a telling cross which was well gathered by Jaimie Cogman in the visitor’s goal. A surging run from deep by Ryan Lane saw him link well with Crago whose cross was pushed behind for a corner. Another strong run by Lane saw his shot from around 25 yards deflected and almost wrong foot Cogman who adjusted well to make the save. On 34 minutes more good Parkway approach play along the right between Lewington and Palfrey saw Palfrey cross from the byline which Merthyr managed to block and concede a corner from which the ball was cleared to Palfrey who shot just wide from 25 yards.
Merthyr then created a period of sustained pressure with, on 36 minutes, the elusive Duncan cutting in from the right and curling a left footed effort narrowly over the bar. On 38 minutes another slick passing movement through central midfield from the visitors saw their player go clear only to be just beaten to the loose ball by a brave and well timed smothering save by Kyle Moore who did well to react the quickest and gather the loose ball. The final action of the half saw Parkway win another corner from which Rose’s far post header was comfortably saved low down by Cogman.
A cagey half with neither side able to dominate or impose themselves, with clear chances at a premium, defences generally on top and a lack of clinical finishes in both boxes.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first with the visitors creating the first chance with the lively Duncan seeing his shot deflected for a corner on 49 minutes. Parkway responded with arguably their best passage of play in the game on 51 minutes with Lewington, Garside and Palfrey exchanging a slick series of passes with Palfrey’s cross finding Lewington who timed his jump perfectly only to plant his header narrowly over the bar. Merthyr then had a good chance on 55 minutes with Ismail Yakubu heading just over when he probably should have done better. Merthyr then had a period in the ascendancy as they looked to work an opening with Rees going clear on the left and forcing a corner. Both sides began to ring the changes around the hour mark with the returning Reece Shanley replacing Ashmead and Lewis Powell replacing Matt Harris for the visitors.
Parkway continued to compete well but were too often guilty of looking to play long balls which were invariably overhit and either easily dealt with by the Merthyr defence or go directly out of play. On 63 minutes more patient build up along the left saw play switched to the right where Shanley went clear with his low cross just evading the incoming Crago at the far post. Lewington then saw his shot from around 15 yards bravely blocked as Parkway continued to apply pressure and dictate the pace of the game. On 66 minutes Shanley and Frazer Thomas saw yellow for a little disagreement as play continued with intensity but still lacked quality in the final third. Merthyr made their 2nd change on 67 minutes with the impressive Duncan being replaced by Zach Maher. On 71 minutes Palfrey tried a speculative effort from around 50 yards which Cogman was able to watch go harmlessly wide.
Parkway had a golden opportunity to take the lead on 73 minutes. A long clearance saw Lewington win a header and link well with Crago who put in a brave header to just beat Cogman to the high ball on the edge of the 18 yard area. After going clear unchallenged to the right of the goal he sliced his effort wide of an empty goal when with a little more composure he would surely have scored.
Merthyr made their final change on 75 minutes with Alex John replacing Yakubu. Parkway continued to apply pressure and on 77 minutes Crago and Garside linked well to set up Palfrey whose shot from around 20 yards went well over. Parkway had a huge let off on 78 minutes when they conceded possession in midfield allowing Powell to pick up the loose ball, race clear unchallenged but he pulled his shot horribly wide of the far post. Merthyr continued to press and threaten and took the lead on 82 minutes. Parkway failed to clear their lines allowing substitute Maher to win the ball on the right just outside the 18 area and play in Rees who finished with a crisply struck angled drive from around 10 yard into the far corner.
Parkway then made their 2nd substitution with Goulty replacing Austen Booth and despite applying late pressure were unable to find an equaliser as the visitors looked to retain possession and slow the game down which they successfully managed to do to hold on for the win. Palfrey and Jack Evans picked up yellow cards in the 5 minutes of added time as Parkway desperately attempted to get something from the game.
A well contested fairly even game with little to choose between the sides with neither able to create many clear cut chances and the keepers only occasionally being called into action. In a game of fine margins, Merthyr managed to convert one of their few chances with Parkway rueing being unable to finish any of the few scoring opportunities they created.
Parkway must now regroup, recover and return to the training ground before next weekend’s 2 challenging fixtures. These see them make the 340 mile round trip on Bank Holiday Saturday to Gosport Borough who lost 2-1 at Chesham United today followed by returning to Bolitho Park on Bank Holiday Monday to face unbeaten Weston Super Mare who won 3-1 at Poole Town today.
Parkway 1 Moore, 2 Ashmead (Shanley 56), 3 Lane, 4 Booth (Goulty 83), 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe ©, 7 R. Garside, 8 Palfrey, 9 Lewington, 10 Rooney, 11 Crago
Substitutes: 12 Shanley, 14 Goulty, 15 Pursall (unused), 18 Hall (unused|)
Merthyr 1 Cogman, 19 Davies ©, 18 Yakubu (John 75), 3 Handley, 4 Ryan-Phillips, 5 Angel, 6 Harris (Powell 59), 7 Thomas, 8 Evans, 10 Rees, 11 Duncan (Maher 67)).
Substitutes: 9 Powell, 12 Maher, 13 Fuller (gk) (unused),15 John 16 Sama (unused).