PLYMOUTH PARKWAY v FAREHAM TOWN SAT 10 APRIL – MATCH REPORT
Parkway entertained Wessex League Fareham Town on the 3G pitch at the Devon FA HQ in Newton Abbot in the much delayed/postponed FA Vase 3rd round tie. With no spectators allowed in, clubhouse and changing rooms still closed, players changing in the stands with team talks taking place on the pitch and the sight of a few familiar faces peering through the trees from outside the ground, the occasion had a rather surreal feel. Prior to kick off, with both teams wearing black arm bands, a minutes silence was held in respect to the passing of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The visitors made a bright start with on 3 minutes Curtis Robins seeing his powerful effort pushed behind by Kyle Moore at full stretch. From the resultant corner Archie Willcox headed just over. Fareham continued to look the sharper as Parkway struggled get to the early pace of the game. From Parkway’s first meaningful attack on 8 minutes, a Ryan Lane free kick was punched behind with Michael Landricombe heading the corner just wide. Fareham continued to press and look dangerous and on 9 minutes a break along the right saw Josh Benfield round Moore who had rushed way outside his area with Lane covering back putting in a superb block on Benfields goal bound shot. The visitors Tom Settle then saw his 30 yard free kick skim just wide before Parkway began to see more of the ball in midfield and create chances of their own. With Matt Wright causing problems with his strength, movement and linking of play, Fareham began to concede a number of free kicks in the midfield area but their defence continued to hold firm.
On 22 minutes Parkway were forced into their first substitution after Callum Hall sustained a nasty looking injury after a heavy fall and was immediately replaced by the experienced Steve Colwell. Parkway now began to play at a higher tempo showing more control in midfield with Mikey Williams and Ryan Richards causing problems along the flanks. They forced a couple of corners however both lacked quality and did not trouble the Fareham defence.
After a period of end to end play with very few chances being created and both defences looking solid, the game took a twist on 32 minutes. A series of robust challenges in midfield saw Fareham’s Garry Moody shown a straight red card for an apparent stamp on Wright, this after the Referee had consulted his assistant. Wright was shown a yellow card for his part in the incident.
Play became untidy with neither side showing any real quality as the challenges continued to fly in. On 35 minutes the visitors Connor Messenbird was the next to go in the book after a heavy challenge on River Allen with Williams also seeing yellow shortly after. With Parkway now beginning to look the more dangerous, they took the lead on 39 minutes. A pinpoint 60 yard diagonal ball from left to right from Lane found the impressive and influential Williams who took a delicate first touch, turned sharply, cut into the penalty area and was brought down by Ashley Tattersall for a no arguments spot kick. Richards duly delivered from 12 yards in his customary manner. With Parkway now able to push forward more and stretching the visitors, an Allen shot on 41 minutes was comfortably saved by Dan Kempson with their next attack on 43 minutes seeing them double their lead. A rare foray forward by Lane saw him make good ground and play a neat one two with Billy Palfrey who threaded a neat pass through to Richards who, showing good composure, drew the keeper sliding the ball past him at the near post.
As half time approached Fareham had a period of pressure with Settle firing another free kick just over, Benfield firing just wide from around 30 yards after Parkway had again squandered possession in midfield and Charlie Cooper setting up Benfield who clipped an effort just over. A closely fought half lacking too much quality which could have gone either way with Parkway taking advantage of the extra man and improving as the half progressed with their goals coming at a key time.
Parkway almost increased their lead on 47 minutes. A neat exchange between Wright and Williams set up Colwell whose precise sidefooted effort from around 15 yards was comfortably dealt with by Kempson. Parkway continued to threaten and a smart passage of play saw another close range effort smothered by the keeper. On 53 minutes Fareham’s George Davis then saw yellow after a heavy challenge on Allen as Parkway remained on top playing with intensity and at a good tempo.
On 56 minutes a Parkway break saw Allen release Richards wide on the right with his whipped in cross into the danger area finding the alert Williams who from a narrow angle could only find the side netting. A short delay then ensued as the punctured side netting was repaired! On the hour a strong, unchallenged run forward by Cooper saw him shoot narrowly over however Parkway increased their lead shortly afterwards. A clearing header by Wright from a corner found Richards whose long ball released Williams who rounded the last defender and coolly slotted home past the onrushing Kempson. Both sides then made substitutions, Levi Landricombe and Craig Veal coming on for Richards and Wright respectively with Simon Woods, Gary Austin and Luke Slade replacing Benfield, Robbins and Davis.
The visitor’s substitutions made an immediate impact with Austin pulling a goal back on 65 minutes, lashing home his shot after good work by fellow substitute Slade. Parkway then lost composure, shape and control as the visitors upped the tempo looking to reduce the deficit further. As Parkway continued to look shaky, their passing became sloppy and their defending desperate with Fareham scoring their second goal on 68 minutes. Parkway conceded possession too easily in their own half allowing substitute Woods to break forward and square the ball to the unmarked Austin who finished easily from around 6 yards.
With Fareham in the ascendancy they went looking for an equaliser as Parkway looked to regain their shape and composure which they gradually did after a frenetic passage of play. With Fareham pressing high and pushing more men forward, this left wide open spaces at the back allowing Levi Landricombe to win a header which released Veal whose deft lob from around 12 yards was well anticipated by Kempson. On 72 minutes Woods made a mazy run into the 18 yard area only for his final ball to let him down. With the game opening up and players tiring, Levi Landricombe broke clear curling an angled effort just wide.
With Parkway adjusting their formation slightly by stiffening the midfield and now looking to play on the break, they restored their 2 goal lead on 83 minutes. Good work by Veal saw him play the ball into space behind the defence with Williams timing his run perfectly to remain onside and with Palfrey in support create a two on one with the keeper. Williams then unselfishly squared the ball to Palfrey who rolled the ball home into the empty net from close range.
With Parkway now back on the front foot, Veal raced clear with Kempson doing well to block his effort. On 85 minutes a neat link between Veal and Allen set up Palfrey who shot just wide from 25 yards. Fareham continued to throw men forward and another strong run by the impressive Cooper resulted in the ball falling to Austin who scooped his shot wide when well placed. Parkway finally secured the tie in stoppage time with their fifth goal after Levi Landricombe flicked the ball over a tiring defence to Veal who raced clear and remained composed by rounding the keeper and running the ball in from close range. A highly competitive at times uncompromising game with both sides understandably showing signs of rustiness after such a long layoff but also showing signs of their capabilities. Apart from the 10 minute spell in the second half when they looked rocky and became exposed at the back, Parkway defended strongly with central duo of Rob Farkins and the steadying influence of Michael Landricombe providing a solid base.
Full backs Lane and Harrison Davis didn’t attack along the flanks as much as has been seen in the past, tending to concentrate on their defensive duties with Moore also playing his part when required. The only real sour note of the day was the post match news that the popular Callum Hall had suffered a double break of his wrist, will be in plaster for at least 6 weeks and he sadly will take no further part in what remains of the season. I’m sure everyone at the Club including all supporters will wish him all the best for a speedy and complete recovery. More lessons will have been learned today and more work will be required before returning to Coach Road next Saturday when fellow Western League side Clevedon Town are the visitors for the last 32 4th round tie. With the breaking news that the funeral of the Prince Philip will be at 3pm next Saturday, news from the FA is awaited as to whether or not the tie will go ahead and if not, the alternative arrangements.
1 Moore, 2 Davis, 3 Lane, 4 Palfrey, 5 Farkins (c), 6 M Landricombe, 7 Williams, 8 Allen, 9 Wright (Veal 62), 10 Hall (Colwell 22), 11 Richards (L Landricombe 62)
Unused Sub: Bentley, Krac