Better late than never! Palfrey’s penalty earns Parkway the points
Full Match Report
Images: Dave Crawford
In a blustery wind and on a bobbly surface, 6th placed Parkway entertained 4th placed Winchester City in front of good crowd of 377. Parkway’s starting 11 was unchanged from Tuesday’s narrow win at Bideford with Jack Crago returning from injury named among the substitutes. Parkway thought they had taken the lead in the 2nd minute only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. Neither side were able to establish early dominance with play being compressed into a congested midfield. On 9 minutes a Winchester break along the right saw a cross from Josh McCormick scrambled clear. On 10 minutes a strong run along the right by Finley Craske saw the ball laid into Tom Bath who was caught offside.
With no real pattern to the game and both sides cancelling each other out, play became a stop start affair lacking any real quality with Billy Palfrey picking up an early yellow card for a foul. On 13 minutes a Winchester break along the left ended with Simbarashe Miambo hooking an effort wide from around 15 yards. With both defences proving hard to break down and too many passes going astray, the game became attritional lacking any flow. On 19 minutes a rare moment of quality from Mikey Williams saw him weave his way forward releasing Palfrey whose shot from distance was way off target. Williams then saw his shot from 20 yards comfortably saved by Charlie Philpott as the visitors defence remained firm. Callum Rose then ventured forward with his shot from distance again being easily saved.
Parkway continued to probe an opening but were being restricted to long range efforts with Ethan Mitchell firing well over from 25 yards on 25 minutes. Winchester looked threatening on the counter attack but with Michael Landricombe and Callum Rose imposing at the back and defending solidly, Kyle Moore was rarely tested. Play continued to be scrappy with neither side able to retain any meaningful possession in midfield with a Palfrey free kick from 25 yards on 36 minutes being deflected behind. Matt Andrew then saw yellow for a strong challenge on 39 minutes as Parkway pushed forward but the game continued to lack cohesion or quality with neither side able to impose themselves in a scrappy affair.
A generally forgettable half lacking quality with few chances being created and neither side able to gain control of the game with defences on top throughout.
Winchester applied some early pressure at the start of the 2nd half with Craig Feeney seeing his angled shot on 47 minutes easily saved by Moore. Gabby Rogers engineered an opening on 48 minutes with his shot being blocked and Mitchell firing the rebound over from around 25 yards. The visitors Warren Bentley then fired wildly over on 50 minutes as the second half continued in much the same vein as the first. On 57 minutes a Winchester shot was blocked and went behind for a corner which, as many before, came to nothing. Ryan Lane then picked up a yellow card for another foul with Jamie Barron’s free kick lacking direction or quality.
On 62 minutes Parkway made a double substitution with Jack Crago and Callum Hall replacing Rogers and Andrew respectively in a bid to inject fresh energy and increase the game’s tempo. On 64 minutes good link up play along the right between Craske and Hall saw Bath attempt a speculative overhead kick from around 10 yards which was easily cleared. On 66 minutes another long range effort from the visitors Ollie Bailey failed to trouble Moore as the stalemate continued. On 68 minutes Oliver Balmer replaced Feeney with Harry Brooks coming on for Bailey for the visitors with Carter replacing Bath for Parkway.
Parkway began to gain an element of control and stretch play but were still unable to penetrate the visitors back line with McCormick picking up a yellow card for an untidy challenge. Rose then saw his shot on 70 minutes blocked with Winchester breaking clear from the corner and Daniel King pulling a shot well wide. A period of Parkway pressure on 75 minutes created an opening for Williams whose lobbed effort flew just over. Ollie Griggs replaced McCormick for the visitors on 75 minutes with Parkway continuing to press high but still unable to breach the solid Winchester defence with Philpott rarely being called into action. Further shots from Lane, Crago and Carter failed to test Philpott as Parkway looked to make their pressure pay and breach the visitor’s stubborn defence. Parkway had a huge let off on 83 minutes after a break along the right saw the ball reach the unmarked Balmer at the far post who scuffed a weak effort just wide when he should have done better.
Parkway continued to apply pressure and on 87 minutes won a free kick midway in the visitors half. Lane’s delivery into the danger area was not fully cleared, with the ball eventually finding Landricombe at the far post who having won the first ball was tripped going for the second close to the bye line and a penalty given. After protests and a lengthy delay, Palfrey showing composure and conviction calmly slotted home the spot kick. As Parkway celebrated, the visitors prolonged protests continued with a raft of yellow cards being shown to Miambo, Barron and Griggs. Entering stoppage time Winchester broke along the right with Miambo firing straight at Moore from close range when well placed. Parkway managed to see out the game without further alarm with the final action seeing Carter being booked for closing down Philpott and blocking the keeper’s clearance.
In what was always expected to be a tight affair, a dour, uninspiring game that will not live long in the memory with very few clear chances being created by either side, defences generally on top and neither goalkeeper unduly tested. Yet again Parkway’s patience, perseverance and resilience paid off and they found a way to win while not allowed to be at their best against determined and well organised opponents with the added bonus of a clean sheet.
The win sees Parkway remain in 6th place but now only1 pt behind 5th placed Winchester who dropped a place and still with games in hand over all teams above them.
Parkway’s busy schedule continues on Tuesday when 7th placed Sholing visit Bolitho Park where a win would propel Parkway up into into 4th place and a playoff position,. The reverse fixture 2 weeks ago saw Parkway come away with a 2-0 victory. Sholing drew 2-2 at Evesham today courtesy of a late equaliser.
Parkway: 1 Moore, 2 Craske, 3 Lane, 4 Mitchell, 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe ©, 7 Williams, 8 Palfrey, 9 Bath (Carter 68), 10 Andrew (Hall 62), 11 Rogers (Crago 62)
Substitutes: 12 Davis (unused), 14 Hall, 15 Crago, 16 Krac (unused), 20 Carter
Winchester: 1 Philpott, 2 McCormick (Griggs 75), 3 King, 4 Smith, 5 Walster, 6 Nolan, 7 Feeney (Balmer 68), 8 Barron ©, 9 Bentley, 10Miambo, 11 Bailey (Brooks 68)
Substitutes: 12 Balmer, 14 Griggs, 15 Callaghan (unused), 16 Hayward (unused), 17 Brooks,