a superb day as parkway welcomed argyle to Bolitho
A full capacity at Bolitho Park would be the No.1 venue in Plymouth as over 2,000 fans enjoyed their day out in PL5.
The hard work behind the scenes made the day run smoothly as the Parkway faithful would get a first taste of the new look squad ahead of the new season.
They would have left Bolitho very pleased with what they would witness as the squad impressed on their first 90 mins of football as Graham Lloyd writes…
THE PARKWAY REVIEW
Plymouth Parkway entertained Plymouth Argyle in the now traditional first pre-season friendly in front of a capacity sell-out crowd at a bouncing Bolitho Park. Parkway’s starting eleven included 5 of their 6 close season signings with a number of trialists on the substitutes bench. Argyle fielded a strong starting eleven which included Finley Craske who had spent a successful loan period at Parkway last season with most of the remainder of their first team squad on the bench.
As expected, Argyle dominated possession in the early stages switching play well and providing a number of crosses from both flanks which were dealt with comfortably by the Parkway defence. Parkway looking organised in midfield and strong in defence looked content to play on the break with new signing Ben Seymour showing excellent pace and looking a potential threat. Argyle continued to control the game without creating any clear chances, but it was the hosts who took the lead on 12 minutes with their first meaningful attack. A break along the right involving Mikey Williams and Tyler Ashmead saw the ball played in to Seymour who cleverly chested the ball into the path of the supporting Billy Palfrey who slotted into the far corner with an angled drive from around 10 yards. Argyle continued to have the lion’s share of possession, but their final ball lacked the necessary quality to penetrate a resolute Parkway back line. On 19 minutes Parkway won a free kick on the right with Ryan Lane’s in swinging kick seeing a header go narrowly wide.
On 21 minutes a long ball from the Parkway defence found Seymour racing clear only to be denied getting his shot away by a fine covering tackle by James Wilson. Parkway continued to look dangerous on the break and 23 minutes Palfrey tried an audacious lob from around 40 yards, something he had successfully done more than once last season, only to be denied by the visitor’s keeper Callum Burton who gathered the ball just under his crossbar.
Argyle continued to press and despite going close on a couple of occasions were unable to hit the target with Parkway keeper Kyle Moore rarely called into action. With new signing Austen Booth a reassuring presence in front of the back four and the Parkway midfield battling and competing well, Argyle despite their dominance of possession, were unable to get on level terms with Niall Ennis seeing his effort go narrowly wide on 25 minutes.
Luke Jephcott then saw an effort go just wide as Parkway continued to defend solidly and withstand the Argyle pressure and their intricate play which too often was halted by being caught offside. On 38 minutes a Parkway attack along their left saw good link up play with the ball finding Palfrey whose shot from 20 yards was comfortably saved by Burton.
Jephcott then did well to round Moore and set up Adam Randell whose shot was blocked at close range and cleared to safety. Argyle almost equalised on 43 minutes when a corner from their left found Ennis unmarked at the back post with his header finding Wilson who poked his effort just wide from around 8 yards.
After absorbing more pressure, it was Parkway who doubled their lead in the first of two minutes of stoppage time. A Parkway break along the right flank saw the ball played in behind the Argyle defence with the pacey Seymour timing his run well to lift his angled shot over the advancing Burton into the far corner.
An absorbing first half with Argyle dominating possession but unable to provide the cutting edge to make their pressure pay. Parkway looking well organised and content to play on the break clinically converted the 2 clear chances they created.
The second half continued in similar vein to the first with Argyle controlling possession and Parkway defending deep and in numbers. On 48 minutes Joe Edwards and new signing Matt Butcher combined well to set up Jack Endacott whose looping header dropped on to the top of the net. On 55 minutes another Argyle attack saw Moore comfortably take the cross as Parkway continued to come under pressure but held firm with Michael Landricombe and Callum Rose combining well to provide a formidable barrier in the centre of defence. On 57 minutes Ryan Hardie saw his angled shot from the left fly across the face of the goal and behind for a goal kick as Argyle continued to press.
Parkway rang the changes around the hour mark with Sam Hillson, Callum Hall, Jack Crago and Theo Simpson replacing Ashmead, Palfrey, Williams, and Seymour respectively.
On 61 minutes a short corner on the Argyle right saw a Butcher effort superbly tipped over by Moore for arguably his first meaningful save of the game. Carlo Garside then replaced Booth who appeared to have taken a slight knock and was quickly into the action with his long-range effort on 65 minutes being easily saved by Michael Cooper. Parkway continued to defend strongly as Argyle were unable to find a way through with a couple of efforts from Edwards and Jordan Houghton failing to hit the target. Parkway continued to look dangerous on the break with Crago and Rio Garside linking well on 73 minutes with the latter’s shot being easily blocked and cleared to safety. Rio Garside was then replaced by A Trialist on 75 minutes with Craske coming back on for Randell for the visitors shortly afterwards.
With the Parkway defence coming under continued pressure but managing to withstand the onslaught, Jephcott saw his close-range effort saved by Moore on 80 minutes shortly before Moore was replaced by A Trialist with Landricombe also being replaced by another Trialist.
On 82 minutes Argyle finally made their pressure pay against a tiring Parkway with Hardie hooking home a close-range volley after Parkway had failed to clear their lines. They almost equalised a minute later with Edwards close range shot being superbly instinctively saved low down by the young trialist keeper. Parkway had one last break on 88 minutes with A Trialist effort being comfortably saved by Cooper when one on one with the keeper when arguably he could have done better. With 4 minutes of stoppage time being signalled and Parkway looking to see out the game, in the second minute of stoppage time Argyle grabbed an equaliser which their constant second half pressure probably warranted with Edwards glancing home a close-range header from Jeff Forkuo’s right wing cross.
Whilst pre-season is all about improving fitness levels, bedding in new players, forming partnerships and working on formations with results of secondary importance, an encouraging first 90 minutes for Parkway against their League 1 neighbours who play at 4 levels above them. Considering they only had their first training session last Tuesday, Parkway can be proud of today’s performance and has given them plenty to build on as they look to carry on their pre-season friendlies around the South West the next of which is next Saturday against old friends across the water Torpoint Athletic, newly promoted to the Western League Premier Division (step 5).
A bumper capacity crowd, coupled with good weather and a good performance made for an excellent day for the club on and off the pitch and it is hoped some of those visiting Bolitho Park for the first time today may be encouraged to return once the Southern League Premier Division (step 3) starts in August.
Parkway (Palfrey, 12 Seymour 45+1)
Argyle (Hardie 82, Edwards 90+1)
The Parkway Line-up
1 Moore (A Trialist 80), 2 Ashmead (Hillson 58), 3 Lane, 4 Booth (63 C Garside), 5 Rose, 6 Landricombe (A Trialist 80), 7 Williams (Crago 58), 8 Palfrey (Hall 58), 9 Seymour (Simpson 58)
10 D Rooney, 11 R Garside (A Trialist 75)
Hillson, Hall, Crago, Simpson, C Garside, 5 Trialists (1 unused)