Plymouth Parkway v Evesham United | Match Report & Highlights

Ethan Mitchell’s double earns Parkway 10th win on the spin

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Full Time
Graham Lloyd

Full Match Report

Images: Dave Crawford

Playing their 9th game in the calendar month, Parkway entertained 14th placed Evesham United hoping for a 10th consecutive win which, if achieved, would take them to the top of the table for the first time this season. In front of another good attendance of 546, Parkway made 3 changes from Saturday’s home win over Lymington Town with Tom Bath, Callum Hall and Ethan Mitchell starting in place of Adam Carter, Gabby Rogers and Matt Andrew respectively.

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Attendance

In a lively start, the visitors were first to show with Kyle Belmonte shooting just wide on 2 minutes. Ryan Lane then fired well wide from distance as the game continued at a brisk tempo with both sides feeling their way into the game. On 9 minutes Parkway conceded possession in midfield allowing Jordan Lynn to go clear along the right with his cross being well gathered by Kyle Moore. Evesham continued to threaten and on 10 minutes a free kick was headed behind for a corner with Parkway struggling to retain possession or inject fluency into their game. However it was Parkway who created the first clear chance on 12 minutes when good work by Hall saw him pick out Jack Crago wide on the left who dragged his angled drive just wide of the far post.

Parkway gradually began to take control in midfield with Ethan Mitchell and Hall prominent with the visitors working hard to press, close down and defend in numbers. On 14 minutes a strong run from deep by Billy Palfrey saw him cut inside but slice his effort wide. Good link up play between Bath and Crago then saw the latter’s shot deflected for a corner as Parkway continued to probe an opening but were unable to test Isaac Parry in the visitor’s goal.

With Parkway occasionally guilty of conceding possession too easily in midfield, Evesham looked dangerous on the counter attack and on 17 minutes a teasing cross from their left flashed across the 6 yard area with no one able to get a final touch. On 25 minutes good link up play between Michael Symons and Brandon Smalley saw a clearance drop to Joseph Hunt who shot well wide from around 25 yards. Play continued to fluctuate with Parkway working hard to create openings with Evesham competing well and proving hard to break down. On 30 minutes good work between Hall and Williams saw Hall’s cross reach the unmarked Crago who just failed to get enough on his header to test Parry. On 35 minutes Evesham capitalised on some sloppy Parkway play in midfield by stretching the back line with the impressive Mitchell recovering well to block a shot from Belmonte and clear the danger.

Parkway continued to have the majority of possession but their final ball lacked quality allowing Evesham to defend comfortably and look to play on the break. On 38 minutes a long ball to Belmonte saw him go clear but he lacked support allowing the Parkway defence to close down and clear to safety. Parkway thought they and taken the lead on 40 minutes when most in the ground thought Lane’s thunderous drive from 20 yards had found the back of the net by appearing to rebound off a metal stanchion in the goal frame and back out into play and subsequently being cleared. After some confusion and a prolonged protest, a consultation between the officials resulted in a corner being given.

Approaching half time Jack Horrell saw yellow for a foul on Finley Craske with Parkway then taking the lead in first half stoppage time. A flowing passage of play between Bath, Williams and Crago saw a cross into the 6 yard area not cleared with the Plymouth Argyle young loanee Mitchell reacting quickest to the loose ball and stabbing home from close range for his first goal for the club.

A half not short on endeavour from either side but lacking that little bit of quality and composure in the final third with Parkway creating the clearer chances and deservedly leading at the break against well organised opponents.

Parkway started the second half at a good tempo forcing a couple of early corners with Palfrey seeing his shot from around 18 yards blocked as Evesham continued to defend strongly. Williams then curled an effort narrowly wide after a neat exchange with Lane as Parkway continued to dominate possession looking to stretch the visitors back line with Mitchell a commanding presence in midfield winning numerous tackles and displaying a good range of long and short range passing. Evesham continued to play on the counter and on 58 minutes a loose clearance from the Parkway defence saw Symons go clear in a one on one with Moore who bravely blocked the striker’s effort just inside the 18 yard area. On 64 minutes good build up play along the right between Craske, Williams and Hall breached the Evesham defence with a low cross being pulled back to Lane who shot narrowly wide.

Andrew replaced Palfrey on 65 minutes as Parkway looked to freshen things up. They continued to create half chances but were unable to unduly test Parry who dealt competently with a series of crosses and shots from distance. Both sides made substitutions on 71 minutes with Carter replacing Bath and Sean Brian replacing Symons for Evesham. On 73 minutes a long ball in behind the Parkway defence was well read by Michael Landricombe who under considerable pressure cushioned the ball back to Moore.

With Parkway now looking the stronger and more threatening. they doubled their lead on 75 minutes. A well flighted free kick by Lane saw Crago rise highest at the far post to head back across the 6 yard area where Mitchell had anticipated well and rose above his marker to nod into the roof of the net for his second goal of the game. Hall then saw his angled shot blocked after good link up play between Carter and Williams as Parkway continued to create openings with Mitchell making a strong forward on 79 minutes but shooting well off target from around 20 yards.

Harrison Davis replaced the mercurial Williams on 80 minutes as Parkway remained in control with Hall lifting a shot narrowly over from around 18 yards after good build up play between Craske and Carter. Davis and Carter then combined well on 86 minutes with the pacey Davis shooting just wide from around 20 yards. Evesham replaced Adam Mace with Rhys Bennett on 87 minutes as the pace of the game slowed with Parkway content to see out the 4 minutes of stoppage time out by retaining possession to claim a hard earned 3 points and a 10th consecutive victory which saw them leapfrog Frome Town to the top of the league by 1 point with a game in hand.

A hard working performance from back to front by Parkway against a well organised and resilient Evesham who stuck to their game plan, remained competitive throughout and proved hard to break down.

The climax to the season continues on Saturday when Parkway visit 3rd place Cirencester Town when by a quirk of fate 2nd placed Frome host 4th placed Bristol Manor Farm in games which will undoubtedly have a bearing on the final league positions.

Parkway’s hectic schedule to the end of the season then sees them return to Bolitho Park next Tuesday when 10th placed Highworth Town are the visitors in a much rearranged twice postponed fixture.

Line ups:

Parkway:  1 Moore, 2 Craske, 3 Lane, 4 Mitchell, 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe ©, 7 Williams (Davis 80), 8 Palfrey (Andrew 65), 9 Bath (Carter 71), 10 Hall, 11 Crago

Substitutes: 12 Davis, 14 Rogers (unused), 15 Andrew, 16 Smith (unused), 20 Carter

Evesham: 1 Parry, 2 Hunt, 3 Mace (Bennett 87), 4 Keightley, 5 Geddes, 6 Clayton, 7 Lynn, 8 Belmonte, 9 Symons (Brian 71), 10 Smalley, 11 Horrell

Substitutes: 12 Brian, 14 Judge (unused), 15 Bennett