Parkway starting 11: Moore (gk), Hillson, Farkins (c), Bentley, Lane, Palfrey, Allen, Colwell, Williams, Wright, Levi Landricombe.
Although the Western League season has been curtailed, the FA Vase is continuing to be played which means Parkway will entertain Fareham Town of the Wessex Premier League in the much delayed/postponed 3rd round tie next Saturday with the winners at home to Clevedon Town in the 4th round the following Saturday. With Bolitho Park undergoing extensive ground redevelopment and pitch replacement, by kind permission of the Devon FA, that tie will take place on the 3g pitch at their HQ in Newton Abbot. With clubs being permitted to commence training post lockdown only last Monday, just 2 training sessions have taken place before today’s fixture with neither club having played any football since last December. Today’s opponents, fellow Western league side and old rivals Buckland Athletic, kindly agreed to provide the opposition and play at Coach Road in order for Parkway to prepare and familiarise themselves with playing on a 3g surface. Both sides had large squads available and made frequent substitutions throughout the game. In accordance with current regulations the game was played behind closed doors with no spectators allowed and only club officials permitted to attend and with strict Covid protocols in place.
Parkway continued to create the clearer chances with Sam Hillson breaking forward and setting up Williams who fired over from 18 yards on 23 minutes. Lane then shot well over on 25 minutes before Buckland took the lead on 27 minutes. Parkway conceded possession in midfield with a long ball finding the impressive Charlie Johansen who broke clear of the last defender to fire home from around 12 yards. Parkway almost replied immediately with Williams heading over from 6 yards after more good work along the left by Lane. Parkway equalised on 34 minutes after forcing a couple of corners which ended with a deep cross from Hillson finding Wright at the far post nodding back across goal to Rob Farkins who stooped to head home from close range.
Buckland quickly regained the lead 2 minutes later after Lane was dispossessed midway in his own half by Joe Belsten who stormed forward unchallenged through the central midfield area and fired home powerfully from around 20 yards past a seemingly unsighted Kyle Moore. Parkway could have drawn level shortly after when a quick break along the right saw a whipped in cross touched just wide by Levi Landricombe. In the next attack Landricombe went clear, rounded the keeper only to see his angled strike blocked and cleared just short of the line. Approaching half time a melee in the Buckland 6 yard area after a corner saw the ball deflected up on to the cross bar and cleared to safety.
An even, entertaining, competitive 45 minutes which increased in tempo as the half progressed with both sides moving the ball well as they became accustomed to the surface. Ryan Richards and Callum Hall replaced Landricombe and Colwell respectively for the second half with Buckland also making a couple of changes. A sharp Buckland move through midfield on 47 minutes saw Johansen shoot just wide with a Parkway free kick on 48 minutes just outside the 18 yard box seeing River Allen’s effort blocked by the defensive wall. With Hall making an immediate impact,
Parkway equalised on 50 minutes. Another cross from Hillson found Wright whose smart header down into the 6 yard box was clipped in at the near post by Hall. Another Buckland break on 51 minutes saw the dangerous Johansen go clear only to see his well hit shot well saved by Moore. On 53 minutes Allen and a Buckland defender were yellow carded and withdrawn shortly afterwards with the returning Colwell and Danny Gaze respectively replacing them. Hall then followed them into the book for a foul on 59 minutes. Johansen continued to cause problems for the Parkway defence with his pace and movement and his dangerous cross flew just wide on the hour.
On 62 minutes the quietly efficient Billy Palfrey saw his rasping drive parried by the keeper to Williams who pulled the ball back with the subsequent shot being cleared off the line. Wright was then replaced by Craig Veal with Buckland continuing to threaten and seeing a shot go just wide. Parkway took the lead for the first time on 68 minutes. A surging 50 yard run from deep by the impressive Lane saw him skip past a couple of tackles and with everyone expecting him to square the ball to supporting players he rifled an angled drive from around 18 yards high into the net at the near post. A quality individual goal. They almost increased their lead on 72 minutes when Veal fired narrowly over after good build up play through central midfield. A period of Buckland pressure then saw Farkins block a goal bound effort before Parkway responded with Richards going clear only to scuff his shot which was easily saved.
On 82 minutes Buckland equalised after a fine run and superb strike by Ford with his effort from 18 yards cannoning in off the inside of a post. Buckland then retook the lead on 85 minutes with Webber hammering home a free kick from around 20 yards giving Moore no chance. Williams was then replaced by the returning Landricombe and Parkway equalised almost immediately. A neat interchange in midfield saw the ball played to Richards who turned smartly and lashed home an angled drive from around 25 yards. After such a long absence, a good workout for both sides in a highly competitive encounter which improved as the game progressed. Some excellent goals, some indifferent defending at times and plenty to work on and areas to develop in the next week in preparation for the FA Vase game. Those preparations continue with another friendly on Tuesday evening at Tavistock who got up and running today with a 6-1 victory against lower league side Bere Alston.