PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
3 Plymouth Parkway (A Trialist 34, 79, Davis 47) 2 - Torpoint Athletic (Zallick 56, Damerell pen 85)
Parkway continued their pre season build up against SW Peninsula League (step 6) side Torpoint Athletic. In accordance with current FA guidelines and protocols, a game was played in front of spectators at Bolitho Park for the first time since March 7th with the maximum number permitted at steps 5 and 6 being 150. A track and trace system, social distancing and numerous other FA health and safety directives were in operation.
As in previous friendlies, Parkway rotated the squad thereby giving all their players important game time. Parkway almost took an early lead when a good link up between A Trialist and River Allen down the right ended with an Allen shot drawing a smart save from the visiting keeper. Parkway continued to have plenty of possession but with Torpoint looking compact and pressing well, few chances were being created. However on 12 minutes a dangerous cross from the left saw a close range effort well blocked by the keeper. On 16 minutes James Ward replaced Mikey Williams who appeared to have picked up a slight knock. Play continued to be confined to a crowded midfield with neither side able to breach the opposition defences. On 17 minutes Parkway needlessly conceded possession in midfield allowing Torpoint to break only for the final cross to lack quality.
On 18 minutes Torpoint were also forced into an early injury substitution. A Torpoint corner on 20 minutes saw former Parkway favourite John Heveran climb highest and head narrowly over. Parkway continued to dominate possession but too often their final ball lacked quality and penetration as at times they tended to overplay. Torpoint continued to defend strongly and work hard in midfield denying Parkway space or time on the ball with few chances being created. On 28 minutes a neat passage of play between Trialist and Ryan Lane forced a corner which resulted in Trialist poking a shot just over after defensive hesitation in the 6 yard area.
Parkway continued to press and on 29 minutes a sweeping 50 yard cross field ball from Allen found Lane clear on the left whose whipped in cross found Trialist who headed just over. Torpoint continued to frustrate Parkway who were finding them hard to break down with few clear cut chances being created and their ball retention in the final third lacking quality. At the drinks break another Parkway favourite Ben Elphick replaced the starting Torpoint keeper who had picked up an injury. After another period of pressure Parkway finally broke the deadlock on 34 minutes. Good approach play between Allen and Lane saw Torpoint fail to clear their lines with the ball dropping to the unmarked Trialist who slotted home from close range into an empty net.
Torpoint rarely threatened with Kyle Moore remaining largely untested in the Parkway goal and their defence generally in command. On the verge of half time a Parkway break along the right saw Harrison Davis make a strong run and deliver a quality cross which was again well defended. Parkway had started the half well at a high tempo showing good energy and intensity but faded as the half progressed as a well organised Torpoint battled well, defended in numbers and continued to frustrate.
Callum Hall replaced Ryan Richards at the break and an early attack from Parkway saw them double their lead on 47 minutes. Good build up play through the midfield saw a defensive mistake in the Torpoint back line with the alert Davis pouncing on the loose ball and smashing a shot home from around 12 yards. Play continued to lack too much quality however a rare Torpoint break on 56 minutes saw them pull a goal back. A well worked move and cross from the right was poorly defended allowing the unmarked Danny Zallick to stab home from around 10 yards. Isaac Burdon replaced Rob Farkins on the hour as Torpoint came more into the game and almost equalised on 62 minutes. A sliced clearance by Moore just outside the 18 yard area was tidied up by Michael Landricombe just beating a Torpoint player to the ball.
With play opening up and Parkway coming back into the game and with Hall looking lively, an Allen shot from 20 yards was comfortably saved by Elphick. Torpoint continued to play on the break and on 70 minutes a move down the right saw the ball squared to Zallick whose mishit shot lacked power and direction and was comfortably saved by Moore. A good chance wasted. On 72 minutes a precise long crossfield ball from Steve Colwell found Davis wide on the left who showed good skill to get to the bye line and deliver a dangerous cross which was eventually cleared after some desperate defending in the 6 yard area.
Parkway continued to threaten and on 73 minutes Colwell saw his curling effort from around 20 yards fly narrowly wide. Colwell was replaced by a second Trialist on 75 minutes as Parkway continued to dominate possession and apply pressure which eventually paid off on 79 minutes. Determined play by Trialist (1) saw him win the ball close to the right touch line, turn inside, create space and curl a delightful left footed strike from around 20 yards into the top corner past a despairing Elphick for his second goal of the game.
Torpoint continued to compete well, play on the break and were rewarded on 85 minutes when after some hesitant defending they were awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge just inside the area. Curtis Damerell duly converted the spot kick. Parkway saw the game out without any further alarms to clinch their first victory of the season.
A stuttering at times disjointed performance by Parkway against a well organised, committed and spirited Torpoint. Squad rotation, positional changes, minor injuries and unavailabilities undoubtedly contributed to the patchy performance. However pre season games are all about working on building partnerships, giving players game time in different positions, adapting to formations and systems and improving fitness levels. Today’s game did just that and will have given the management team plenty of food for thought as the start to the season approaches. Parkway conclude their pre season preparations next Saturday with a visit to Southern League Division 1(step 4) side Melksham Town which should provide them with a tough test prior to their opening game of the season against Saltash United in the FA Cup on Tuesday 1 September.