3 - Plymouth Parkway (Wright 57, 85, Richards 58) 1 - Newton Abbot Spurs (Chisholm 33)
As football returned to Bolitho Park for the first time for a month, a crowd of 272 were in attendance to see Parkway entertain SW Peninsula League (East) (step 6) Newton Abbot Spurs in the 2ndround of the FA Vase. Parkway entered the competition at this stage having been exempt the early rounds as a result of their reaching the quarter final last season. In accordance with current directives, the clubhouse remain closed creating a rather surreal atmosphere in the ground.
One change was made from their last league game against Street with the suspended Ryan Lane being replaced by Jordan Bentley who slotted in at right back with Harrison Davis switching to left back. On a playable but stodgy surface, both sides took a while to adapt to the conditions with the visitors making the early running earning a couple of free kicks 30 yards out which came to nothing. With Spurs looking well organised in midfield and lively on the flanks, Parkway struggled to get any rhythm into their play which lacked tempo with too many misplaced passes and conceding possession too often in midfield. A tame shot on 6 minutes from Ryan Richards and another mishit effort from Craig Veal on 11 minutes, neither of which tested Dom Aplin in the visitor’s goal, were their only attacking efforts as Spurs grew into the game.
With Charlie Johansen and Josh Webber looking dangerous and stretching the Parkway defence, the visitors almost took the lead on 18 minutes. A quick break along the left saw a cross drop to Ollie Aplin who sliced a good opportunity wide from around 6 yards. A let off and a warning for Parkway. Spurs continued to press and look the more threatening with Parkway unable to create any forward momentum with their passing lacking quality or penetration. Spurs were creating the clearer chances and on 20 minutes only a double save from Kyle Moore prevented them taking the lead. After blocking an angled shot with his feet he recovered quickly to block the follow up effort from Johansen on the rebound. Parkway’s first real chance came on 23 minutes with Rob Farkins flashing a diving header narrowly wide from a free kick. Spurs continued to look the sharper with Parkway lacking quality in their passing in midfield creating little for the strikers with the visitors defence remaining in control and comfortable. Veal poked a close range near post effort just wide after good work along the right between Mikey Williams and River Allen with Davis firing well over from distance on 30 minutes.
With Spurs looking dangerous on the break, a strong run and cross from the left ended with Ollie Aplin’s point blank header being acrobatically finger tipped over the bar by Moore at full stretch. From the resultant corner on 32 minutes the visitors took the lead. A deep cross to the far post found the unmarked Jake Chisholm rising highest to power home a close range header giving Moore no chance. On 34 minutes Parkway made an early tactical substitution with Matt Wright replacing Veal up front. Parkway continued to struggle to retain possession against dogged and determined opponents who looked the more likely to score and almost did so again approaching half time. With Parkway once again losing the ball in midfield, a speculative Spurs effort from around 50 yards went narrowly wide with Moore back peddling and on the stroke of half time another break through the middle saw Ollie Aplin race clear and pull his shot from around 18 yards narrowly wide. By their own high standards a poor half from Parkway with the visitors well worthy of the their lead creating the clearer chances and had it not been for their profligacy in front of goal and some superb saves by Moore, they could well have been 3 or 4 ahead.
Parkway almost equalised at the start of the second half with a cross from the right causing defensive confusion in the 6 yard area with a goalmouth scramble seeing 2 close range efforts being blocked and eventually cleared to safety. A slip on the deteriorating surface by Bentley saw him receive the game’s first caution on 47 minutes as the visitors looked to break clear down the right. Parkway had started the half much sharper and on 51 minutes good work by Williams released Callum Hall who sliced his shot wide from close range. With Parkway now upping the tempo and intensity, Hall received a yellow card on 54 minutes and before the free kick could be taken the visitors manager was shown a straight red card presumably for remarks made to the referee.
With Parkway now beginning to dictate play and increasing the pressure, they equalised on 57 minutes. A well directed free kick from Allen saw Wright muscle his way in front of the keeper at the near post to nod in from close range. With Parkway now looking an entirely different outfit they took the lead with their next attack in the 58thminute. A neat interchange on the right between Davis and Hall saw Williams flick the cross into the danger area where Wright cleverly laid the ball back to Richards who powered home a first time shot from around 15 yards. Parkway continued in the ascendancy with Hall breaking clear on 64 minutes with his angled drive from 15 yards forcing Dom Aplin to save at full stretch. Williams then curled a shot narrowly wide as the visitors defence came under increasing pressure. Ewan Howarth then replaced Kevin Dadd who had picked up an earlier injury.
To their credit Spurs continued to work hard using the flanks to good effect forcing Parkway to defend strongly with a slip at the back on 67 minutes forcing Moore to pull off a fine one handed save on the line whilst off balance. Richards then received a yellow card as Spurs pushed forward looking for an equaliser. With the heavy pitch taking its toll and players tiring, the game opened up creating more space in the midfield area. Levi Landricombe replaced Richards on 70 minutes as Parkway looked to slow the game down and retain possession forcing the visitors to chase the game. Spurs continued to look dangerous on the break but the Parkway defence held firm denying the opposition any clear chances. Jack Rhead replaced Allen on 84 minutes shortly before Parkway just about made the game safe with their 3rdgoal. A free kick 30 yards out from Davis ricocheted off the defensive wall with the ball eventually falling to Wright who fired home confidently from around 10 yards.
Entering stoppage time a neat exchange between Levi Landricombe and Williams saw an effort fly just over with the final whistle coming shortly afterwards. A highly competitive game with the lower league Spurs giving a very good account of themselves and giving Parkway one of if not their toughest games of the season.
With Parkway not being allowed to dominate the first half by an impressive performance by the visitors, they could probably consider themselves fortunate to be only the one goal behind at half time. A vastly improved second half display from Parkway saw their quality and fitness come to the fore with their determination and desire seeing them into Monday’s draw for the 3rd round due to be played on 19thDecember. With the league fixtures still suspended until after the next Government review on 16thDecember, it remains uncertain as to when they will resume. To round off a good the day for your correspondent, his home town Tractor Boys won 2-1 just down the road and he went home £25 better off after winning 2ndprize in the 50/50!
1 Moore, 2 Bentley, 3 Davis, 4 Palfrey, 5 Farkins©, 6 M Landricombe, 7 Williams, 8 Allen (Rhead 84), 9 Veal (Wright 35), 10 Hall, 11, Richards (L Landricombe 70)
Unused Sub: Colwell
Newton Abbot Spurs
1 D Aplin, 2 Dadd (Howarth 65), 3 Adderley, 4 Metters, 5 Stockton, 6 Chisholm, 7 Bridger, 8 Bowden, 9 O Aplin, 10 Johansen, 11 Webber
Unused Sub: Dyson