Five star Parkway ease past Rovers and move into the top six
Words by Graham Lloyd
Images by Tom Finnie
Parkway 5 (Williams 7, Bentley 18, Crago 63, 90+2, Carter 75) Paulton Rovers 1 (Fowler 85)
Parkway played their first Saturday home league match of the season with an impressive crowd of 442 in attendance. Two changes were made from the midweek victory over Bideford with Kyle Moore, having recovered from injury, returning in goal for Tyler Coombes and Jordan Copp replacing the injured Matt Andrew in midfield. Paulton almost made the perfect start on 2 minutes with Ed Butcher seeing his curling free kick from 25 yards smack against the cross bar and be cleared to safety. Parkway responded immediately with a Jack Crago cross just failing to get a final touch and Harrison Davis seeing his dangerous cross being headed behind for a corner. Parkway’s early pressure saw them take the lead on 7 minutes. A corner on the left saw the clearance recycled and crossed in to Ryan Lane whose neat first touch and drilled in low cross found Mikey Williams who slotted home from close range. The visitors Leighton Tuaodolo then fired over after breaking along the right as play switched from end to end.
Parkway almost doubled their lead on 11 minutes with Tom Bath linking well with Williams who went clear only to be thwarted by keeper Aaron Sainsbury who spread himself well to save with his feet. Parkway began to dictate the pace of the game with River Allen, Billy Palfrey and Copp prominent, playing with intensity and looking to probe openings. Parkway doubled their lead on 18 minutes when a well worked short corner saw Allen display good close control to engineer a cross from the dead ball line to the far post where Aaron Bentley nodded home from close range for his second goal of the season. Parkway continued to dominate in midfield and only some desperate defending by the visitors denied Lane and Davis who both saw their shots deflected and cleared.
On 23 minutes Bath fired over from around 25 yards as Parkway continued to create chances. Paulton’s Braeden Symes saw yellow for a foul on 27 minutes with Williams sliding an effort just wide on 31 minutes when well placed. Butcher saw an effort comfortably saved by Moore on 36 minutes as the visitors struggled to break the Parkway back line well controlled by the imposing Callum Rose. Further efforts from Allen and Rose failed to trouble Sainsbury as chances continued to be created with the final action of the half seeing a Rose header well saved by the keeper. After an early scare, a generally competent display by Parkway who were good value for their half time lead despite at times tending to overplay, with their final ball lacking quality. George Fowler replaced Symes for the visitors at half time with Sainsbury pulling off a fine save from Copp’s 30 yard free kick on 49 minutes.Parkway continued to control the game without creating too many clear cut chances as Paulton defended strongly, working hard to stay in the game and began to have more possession but unable to carve out many openings.
On 58 minutes Jacob Slogget replaced Leo Eglin with David O’Hare shooting well wide for the visitors when well placed. Adam Carter replaced Bath on the hour with the tempo dropping and play going through a scrappy phase with both sides guilty of conceding possession too easily in midfield with a series of misplaced passes. Parkway did however increase their lead on 64 minutes. A smart passage of play along the right saw Davis stride forward, cut inside and deliver a cross into the danger area where Crago glanced home a header from around 6 yards. Paulton began to look more threatening and on 66 minutes O’Hare saw his free kick touched on to the post by Moore at full stretch with the rebound being cleared to safety.
The lively Sloggett then shot just wide as the visitors came more into the game forcing Parkway to defend in numbers. The hard working, influential Allen was replaced by Ethan Mitchell on 72 minutes with Parkway going further ahead on 75. Good link up play between Crago and Williams saw the latter weave his way into the 18 yard area with his curling shot being parried by Sainsbury and bounce up to the predatory Carter who nodded home from point blank range. Paulton continued to compete well forcing Moore to save well from Sloggett with Nathan Brown replacing Daniel Dempsey on 77 minutes. With the game opening up, on 81 minutes Rose saw his powerful header from a corner rattle the cross bar followed by astute pass by Mitchell releasing Williams whose shot was well saved with Copp firing the rebound narrowly wide. On 84 minutes Parkway had a strong appeal for a penalty waved away as Crago appeared to be bundled over by the last man when clear.
Parkway seemingly incensed by the decision, temporarily lost concentration allowing Paulton to break away along the left with Fowler slotting home a well delivered cross from close range. Davis and the Parkway manager were then shown yellow cards for remarks made to the officials. Two minutes into stoppage time Parkway got their fifth goal with Carter cleverly releasing Crago who was not to be denied on this occasion as he went clear finishing with aplomb from around 10 yards for his fourth brace and ninth goal of the season. A solid, workmanlike, if unspectacular performance against a gritty, well organised Paulton who made Parkway work hard for their fourth successive league victory which sees them move up to third place in the table at this embryonic stage of the season.
With Sidmouth Town pulling out of the planned Devon St Lukes Challenge Bowl fixture at Bolitho Park on Tuesday, Parkway have responded to a late, general request by Tavistock for a friendly and will now instead visit Langsford Park on Tuesday with a 7.30 ko. With no game scheduled for next Saturday, Parkway return to league action at Bristol Manor Farm on Tuesday 28 September, ko 1945.
Line Up: 1 Moore, Davis, 3 Lane, 4 Palfrey, 5 Rose, 6 Bentley, 7 Williams, 8 Allen © (Mitchell 72), 9 Bath (Carter 60), 10 Copp, 11 Crago
Substitutes: 12 Mitchell, 14 Landricombe (unused), 20 Carter.