Crago shines as Parkway pick up first three points of 2023

After a couple of postponements Parkway returned to Bolitho Park for the first time since Boxing Day and entertained 4th placed and promotion hopefuls Poole Town who arrived on the back of a 6 match winning run in all competitions. Parkway made 3 changes from their narrow 1-0 defeat at Metropolitan Police two weeks ago with Callum Rose replacing Toby Down,

Jack Crago returning for Jack Rhead and Billy (back from baby leave) Palfrey in for Callum Hall. Recent loan signing from Swindon Town Oscar Massey was named among the substitutes.

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Full Time
Graham Lloyd

Full Match Report

The game got off to a fairly even start with neither side unable to retain any quality possession with Poole forcing a couple of early corners which were comfortably dealt with by Parkway.

From their first meaningful attack on 10 minutes Parkway took the lead with a quality team goal. A superb interchange of one touch passes close to the right hand touchline involving Rio Garside, Dan Rooney and Harrison King released the elusive Ben Seymour who showed terrific vision in picking out the unmarked Crago in the 18 yard box who finished clinically with a crisp left footed drive from around 12 yards into the bottom corner.

Parkway gradually began to control the midfield area playing at a high tempo with Garside, Palfrey and Dan Rooney dictating the pace of the game with their pressing forcing errors from the visitors. On 16 minutes a Parkway corner was not fully cleared with Mikey Williams hooking an effort just over the bar.

However constant Parkway pressure saw them double their lead on 17 minutes. More incisive build up play along the right between Seymour and King released Crago wide on the right who seeing Luke Cairney well off his line curled an audacious angled lob from around 25 yards over the stranded keeper into the far corner.

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Parkway continued to dominate possession playing with intensity and composure with Poole competing well but unable to create much going forward with the Parkway defence dealing comfortably with the visitors sporadic attacks.

Palfrey fired a long range effort just wide on 20 minutes with Cairney doing well to narrowly beat Crago to a teasing through ball after good build up play between Palfrey and Seymour shortly afterwards.

On 24 minutes Poole created their first real chance with Jack Dickson’s cross finding Toby Holmes whose close range strike was scrambled away to safety. On 25 minutes Tony Lee became the first player to see yellow after a strong challenge in midfield. Parkway continued in the ascendancy with the quietly impressive Rooney constantly finding pockets of space in midfield, prompting and probing with a fine display of long and short range passing.

Parkway continued to threaten in the wide areas and it was no real surprise when they forged further ahead on 35 minutes. Yet again the visitors defence were unable to combat Seymour’s pace and movement forcing the exposed Cairney to bring down the striker for a clear penalty.

Seymour planted the penalty into the bottom corner just evading Cairney’s full length dive. Parkway continued to threaten and on 38 minutes had a strong shout for second penalty waved away after Seymour appeared to be wrestled to the ground for arguably a stronger case for a spot kick than the one previously given.

Parkway continued to deny the visitors too much quality possession with Austen Booth, Callum Rose and Williams looking strong at the back restricting Poole to long range efforts with Adam Parkes yet to make a save. On 42 minutes a speculative strike from distance by Jack Dickson flew narrowly over but it was Parkway who finished the half the stronger.

On 44 minutes a penetrating run by Seymour was halted by a foul on the edge of the 18 yard area by Adeoye Olumuyiwa who received a yellow card with Palfrey firing the free kick well over. In the first of two minutes of stoppage time Parkway almost increased their lead further.

More good link up play between Garside and Rooney released Crago whose quick feet wrong footed Cairney only to be denied his hattrick with his low shot hitting the base of the post with the ball being cleared to safety.

An impressive, dominant performance from back to front by Parkway playing with intensity on the front foot and thoroughly deserving of their 3 goal lead which could easily have been more.

Not much to show from Poole who despite working hard and competing well were second best all over the pitch to a rampant Parkway.

Will Fletcher replaced Olumuyiwa for Poole at the break but it was Parkway who effectively sealed the game on 50 minutes. Crago’s persistence blocked a defensive clearance midway in the visitors half and he raced clear to coolly slot home into the bottom corner across a despairing Cairney to complete a memorable hattrick.

Parkway continued to control the midfield exchanges with Seymour winning possession wide on the right on 58 minutes and crossing to Crago whose close range effort was well saved by Cairney.

On the hour Poole thought they had pulled a goal back after bundling the ball home from a corner but the referee had already blown for a free kick after some pushing and shoving in the 6 yard area.

On 61 minutes Massey replaced the irrepressible Crago with the tempo of the game dropping and Parkway looking content to retain possession and deny the visitors time or space on the ball. In a rare Poole attack they forced a corner on 62 minutes after a strong run by Dickson with Fletcher heading just over.

Both sides made changes on 65 minutes with Hall replacing the impressive Seymour who had worked tirelessly on and off the ball constantly pressuring the Poole back line with Gabriel Billington replacing Corby Moore for the visitors.

Play then went through a scrappy phase as Parkway adjusted their formation with Poole continuing to battle hard but still unable to penetrate the host’s solid defence with Booth and Rose continuing to dominate the aerial exchanges.

On 78 minutes a dangerous cross from Cameron Murray was well defended by Parkway shortly before Poole made their final change with Addwell Chipangura replacing Dickson. Parkway were now playing deeper but remaining in control and looking to play on the counter with Poole rarely threatening.

On 80 minutes a raking cross field ball from Ryan Lane found Garside who linked well with King to force a corner which came to nothing. With the game petering out, a strong run from Lee on 84 minutes saw his curling effort clear the bar as Parkway looked to slow the pace, retain possession and manage the game to it’s conclusion.

Aaron Goulty replaced Garside in the first of four minutes stoppage time with the final action seeing Murray firing well over after latching on to a loose ball from a Poole free kick.

An accomplished all round display by Parkway with the scoreline reflecting the performance which they had threatened in previous games despite the two narrow 1-0 defeats.

They belied their arguably false lowly league position against a strong side in a playoff position by being composed and resolute in defence, tenacious and creative in midfield and clinical and ruthless in the final third.

With Parkes looking comfortable and confident in dealing with high crosses and hardly having a meaningful save to make and the visitors rarely hitting the target, a welcome clean sheet capped off a fine day which sees them climb a place to 20th still with numerous games in hand over every other team.

Parkway now face another tough challenge on Tuesday when 9th place Beaconsfield Town make the long midweek journey from Buckinghamshire to Bolitho Park on the back of their eye catching 5-2 victory over high flying Chesham United today. The reverse fixture in August was Parkway’s first ever away game in the Southern Premier League where they were defeated 3-1 after being ahead at the break and they will be looking to avenge that defeat on Tuesday.

Match Info

Parkway:

1 Parkes, 2 King, 3 Lane ©, 4 Rooney, 5 Rose, 6 Booth, 7 Williams, 8 Palfrey, 9 Seymour (Hall 65) 10, Garside (Goulty 90+1), 11 Crago (Massey 61)

Substitutes: 12 Goulty, 14 Hall, 15 Down (unused), 16 Stephens (unused), 17 Massey.

Poole:

1 Cairney, 4 Spetch, 7 Olumuyiwa (Fletcher 46). 8 Moore (Billington 65), 5 Whisken ©, 3 Hutchinson, 12 Murray, 11 Dickson (Chipangura 79), 16 Pardoe, 14 Holmes. 9 Lee

Substitutes: 10 Fletcher, 13 Butler (gk) (unused), 15 Hubbard (unused), 17 Billington, 20 Chipangura.

Attendance:  688