Parkway shake off two cup exits with a commanding all Devon win under the lights at Bolitho
Parkway 4 (Lane 3, Williams 30, Copp 60, Bath 79) Bideford AFC 0
Words: Graham Lloyd
Images: Tom Finnie, Dave Crawford
After two successive cup defeats on the road and after a ten day break, Parkway returned to league action at Bolitho Park against an injury hit Bideford AFC in front of an impressive crowd of 449. Two changes were made from the defeat at Barnstaple Town with Aaron Bentley replacing Michael Landricombe in central defence and Tom Bath starting up front in place of the unavailable Adam Carter. With Kyle Moore injured, young Tyler Coombes retained his place in goal.
Parkway got off to a blistering start with Jack Crago heading narrowly wide from a Harrison Davis cross on 2 minutes before taking the lead with their next attack a minute later. A swift passage of play along the right, with River Allen instrumental, saw Ryan Lane driving forward along the left and drilling a low angled first time strike in via the base of the far post. Parkway continued playing at a high tempo and another flowing move on 8 minutes saw Bath stab the ball home from close range only to be denied by an offside flag. Bideford offered little threat in attack with Callum Rose and Bentley forming a solid central defensive partnership allowing Lane and Davis to go forward at will along the flanks.
On 11 minutes another Davis run and cross from the right found Matt Andrew whose shot from around 20 yards was smothered by Jack Arthur in the Bideford goal. Parkway continued to dominate possession, building from the back, moving the ball at pace through midfield and looking dangerous in the wide areas. Bideford were unable to create any forward momentum and were looking to defend in numbers as Parkway continued to threaten. On 23 minutes the game took a twist as the visitors George Nancekivell was shown a straight red card after he was deemed to be the last man denying Crago a goal scoring opportunity with a foul just outside the 18 yard area. Allen’s resultant free kick was driven straight at Arthur who saved easily.
Parkway were forced into an early substitution on 26 minutes with Jordan Copp replacing Andrew who had picked up an injury a few minutes earlier and was unable to continue. Parkway’s constant pressure paid off on 30 minutes when another flowing move along the right saw a cross to the near post reach Mikey Williams who stooped low to head home from close range. A corner from the left on 34 minutes saw Lane flick an effort on to the roof of the net as Parkway remained in control looking to increase their lead. Approaching half time a Crago header from a free kick was comfortably saved by Arthur as the visitors continued to come under threat but with some resolute defending managed to keep the score at 2-0. An assured half from Parkway who dominated throughout, playing with intensity, creating numerous chances and looking solid at the back with Coombes untested and whose only touches were from a few routine back passes and a couple of goal kicks.
The visitors George Tucker picked up an early yellow card on 49 minutes for a foul as Parkway continued in the ascendancy. On 52 minutes Allen saw his shot deflected for a corner after good link up play with Davis who had made another strong run forward. With the pace of the game dropping slightly, Bideford began to have more possession and on 55 minutes Louie Slough fired over from distance from their first shot of the game. On 57 minutes a telling ball from deep by Billy Palfrey found Williams who headed narrowly wide from around 10 yards. On 59 minutes Davis picked up a yellow card after a strong challenge in midfield which incensed the visitors and on another day may well have been a red. On 61 minutes a smart passage of play from deep between Palfrey and Allen along the left saw the ball pulled back to Copp who fired his first time effort just over from around 20 yards.
The ten men continued to work hard, seeing more of the ball and drawing a yellow card for Crago after a foul in midfield. On 69 minutes Davis was replaced by Landricombe who slotted into central defence with Bentley moving to right back. Parkway increased their lead on 70 minutes after more good work along the left saw the ball fall to Copp who nonchalantly hit a looping first time drive from around 25 yards over the retreating Arthur. On 72 minutes the hard working Palfrey was replaced by young Plymouth Argyle academy player Ethan Mitchell signed earlier in the week on a one month work experience deal to continue his football development. Despite the pace dropping, Parkway continued to control the game and on 75 minutes a strong run along the left by Lane saw him cut the ball back to Crago who fired just over. Bideford made the first of their 3 changes on 76 minutes with Aaron Wellington replacing Tucker before Parkway forged further ahead on 79 minutes. Good link up play between Bath and Williams saw the latter unselfishly slide the ball to the unmarked Bath who fired home an angled drive from around 10 yards for his first league goal of the season much to the clear and obvious delight of all his team mates. Entering the last 10 minutes Parkway looked to slow the game down which allowed Bideford to come more into the game and on 80 minutes only a fine save from Coombes, arguably his first of the game, denied the visitors a goal. On 85 minutes Coombes was called into action again this time flying to his left at full stretch to make a superb save from a rising drive heading for the top corner. After being a virtual spectator for 80 minutes to pull off 2 excellent saves late on was a credit to the young keeper’s powers of concentration. Bideford made 2 further substitutions in the last 5 minutes to replace tired legs as Parkway eased to an ultimately comfortable victory.
Displaying the necessary desire and application, a good solid all round performance from Parkway, albeit against 10 men for an hour, against gritty opponents who worked hard throughout but offered little in attack until the final 10 minutes when the pace of the game had dropped. The win sees Parkway in 6th place with 10 points from 5 games with 9th placed Paulton Rovers on 7 points, also from 5, the visitors to Bolitho Park on Saturday. With the early pacesetters AFC Totton and Cirencester both drawing tonight and Sholing winning and all still remaining unbeaten, Parkway remain just outside the play off places as the table begins to take shape at this very early stage of the season.
1 Coombes, 2 Davis (Landricombe 69), 3 Lane, 4 Palfrey (Mitchell 72), 5 Rose, 6 Bentley, 7 Williams, 8 Allen ©, 9 Bath, 10 Andrew (Copp 26), 11 Crago
Substitutes: 12 Copp, 14 Landricombe, 15 Mitchell, 16 Veal (unused), Richards (unused)