Outscored, but not outplayed. Parkway leave Swindon empty handed
Images by Dave Harry
Playing their first game for 2 weeks, Parkway paid their first ever visit to 6th placed and playoff hopefuls Swindon Supermarine, one of the best grounds visited this season.
With a fully fit squad, 5 changes were made from their last game at Chesham United with Jordan Duffey starting in goal in place of Sam Borthwick, and Mikey Williams, Callum Hall, Ben Seymour and Jack Crago returning in place of Toby Down, Gabe Billington, Tom Bath and Aaron Goulty respectively.
The game would be the first of 8 in the next 18 days to the season’s conclusion on Saturday 22nd April.
Full Match Report
In heavy rain but on a good playing surface the game got off to a lively start with Parkway applying early pressure.
On 5 minutes a Parkway free kick to the far post was cleared with a Jack Crago shot on 8 minutes being deflected for a corner which was cleared to Rio Garside who shot just over.
The hosts created their first chance on 10 minutes with a fine covering tackle by Callum Rose just inside the 18 yard area denying James Harding a scoring opportunity.
A penetrating run forward from Mikey Williams who linked well with Crago and Callum Hall ended with Williams seeing his shot from around 18 yards blocked. The hosts responded on 12 minutes with Jordan Duffey doing well to smother a low effort from Zack Kotwicka.
The game continued at a fast pace with both sides moving the ball well and Swindon creating a couple of half chances.
On 17 minutes Kotwicka and Henry Spalding combined well along the right with Duffey doing well to gather the dangerous cross under pressure.
A period of pressure by the hosts saw them take the lead in the 20th minute. A swift break along their left saw Kotwicka and Ryan Campbell link well to get in behind the Parkway defence with a telling cross finding the league’s top scorer Harry Williams who finished smartly, turning the ball in from around 10 yards.
The hosts almost doubled their lead on 24 minutes with Harding cutting in from the left and firing in an angled drive from just outside the 18 yard which smacked against the post and flying away to safety. A big let off.
Parkway continued to compete well in midfield and on 27 minutes another Mikey Williams run from deep was halted by a foul around 30 yards out with Garside sending the resultant free kick well over.
Parkway continued to apply pressure and on 30 minutes won a corner on the right from which Rose’s header was cleared off the line by Harry Williams.
With the rain continuing to fall and the surface becoming trickier, the game continued to be well contested in midfield with Parkway probing openings and Swindon being forced to defend well.
On 32 minutes a long ball from Ryan Lane picked out Ben Seymour on the left who twisted and turned and curled an effort narrowly over. Parkway continued to have their fair share of possession as they searched for an equaliser and on 34 minutes Lane, Crago and Dan Rooney linked well with the final cross being cleared by strong Swindon defending.
Parkway continued to threaten and on 38 minutes another Parkway attack along the right saw Harrison King set up Rooney whose shot from around 18 yards flew just wide.
The same combination forced a corner on the right on 41 minutes with Swindon continuing to come under pressure but defend well. With Austen Booth, Rose and Mikey Williams commanding at the back and Duffey remaining relatively untested, Parkway approached the break in the ascendancy.
On 44 minutes a period of Parkway patient build up play switching the angle of attack from side to side ended with Hall shooting just wide of the far post. The final action of the half saw the host’s debutant goalkeeper Charlie Searle punch clear a corner under pressure with Booth blasting the loose ball just wide.
An entertaining, well contested half with Parkway more than holding their own in deteriorating conditions, creating a few half chances but unable to break down a solid Swindon backline and finding themselves behind to a quality finish by the league’s top scorer but still very much in the game.
Parkway started the second half on the front foot and on 47 minutes almost drew level. Good work between Garside and King on the right created an opportunity with Garside’s shot from inside the 18 yard area being pushed clear by Searle and desperate defending seeing a follow up header blocked.
Parkway continued to press and on 49 minutes more good play down the right between Garside and King saw Tyrone Duffus do well to block the cross. Searle was called into action again on 52 minutes saving low down from a Garside shot which unfortunately lacked power.
Swindon made an early double substitution on 53 minutes which would ultimately decide the outcome of the game with Joe Tumelty and Brad Hooper replacing Harry Williams and George Dowling respectively.
Parkway continued to dominate possession in midfield using both flanks to good effect with Swindon competing and defending well but Parkway unable to find a breakthrough.
On 61 minutes a clever through ball from Crago saw Searle race from his line to smother the ball just ahead of the onrushing Seymour.
Parkway made their first change on 63 minutes with Gabe Billington replacing Hall who once again had worked hard throughout. Parkway continued to prompt and probe openings and on 64 minutes James Edge saw yellow for cynical trip on Seymour preventing the striker from going clear. Parkway continued to threaten with the host’s defence holding firm and being restricted to playing on the counter.
Parkway thought they had equalised on 66 minutes but saw the effort ruled out for a foul on Duffus in the penalty area. On 69 minutes a strong run from King saw his cross cleared from close to the line with Garside’s follow up effort from the loose ball being blocked.
Swindon then broke away with Henry Spalding going clear and setting up Harding whose effort was beaten away by Duffy and cleared. Swindon continued to defend in numbers denying Parkway time and space on the ball but they should have equalised on 74 minutes. A strong run by Lane along the left saw his cross reach the unmarked Garside whose diving header from around 6 yards flew narrowly over.
As often happens after a near miss the opposition break away and score. On 76 minutes a Swindon attack along the left caused hesitation and confusion in the Parkway defence close to the byeline allowing substitute Tumelty to latch on to the loose ball and run the ball around the exposed Duffey into the unguarded net from close range.
The goal seemed to galvanise Swindon and briefly unsettle Parkway with Duffey saving well from Harding before the hosts increased their lead and surely sealed the game on 81 minutes with a quality finish. Tumelty picked up a clearance wide on the left, cut inside and curled a superb right footed shot into the far corner from around 15 yards beyond Duffey’s despairing dive.
On 83 minutes Tom Bath replaced Seymour with Tom Sharpe replacing Edge for the hosts. With Swindon now content to contain and see the game out Parkway did not give up and almost pulled a goal back on 86 minutes after Crago had raced clear of the offside trap into the 18 yard box only to be denied by some brave goalkeeping by Searle who spread himself well to block the shot.
Aaron Goulty replaced Garside in the 88th minute with Lane picking up a late yellow card for a robust challenge on Hooper borne out of frustration more than anything else. Swindon then comfortably saw the game out in stoppage time with the final action seeing Booth hammer a free kick narrowly wide.
An absorbing contest between two evenly matched sides with Parkway no doubt disappointed with the outcome of the game for much of which they were arguably the better side particularly in the 2nd half.
However they were unable to provide the clinical finishing to match their approach play or breakdown a solid, resolute Swindon defence. The scoreline probably flattered the hosts who took their few chances clinically with two quality finishes and a defensive mistake at a critical time the difference between the two sides.
Despite the defeat Parkway remain in 11th place with 7 games still to play in a busy climax to the season. They now have a short recovery period before returning to Bolitho Park for an Easter Bank Holiday double header. 15th placed Hanwell Town travel from London on Saturday followed on Monday when landlords Parkway “visit” their tenants, promotion hopefuls Truro City currently in 2nd place.
1 Searle. 2 Turl, 3 Campbell, 4 Edge (Sharpe 83), 5 Duffus, 6 Liddiard ©, 7 Spalding, 8 Dowling (Hooper 53), 9 H Williams (Tumelty 53), 10 Harding, 11 Kotwicka
12 Sesay (unused|), 14 Hooper, 15 Tumelty, 16 Sharpe, 17 Guinan (unused)
1 Duffey, 2 King, 3 Lane ©, 4 Hall (Billington 63) 5 Rose, 6 Booth, 7 M Williams, 8 Rooney, 9 Seymour (Bath 83), 10 Garside (Goulty 88), 11 Crago
12 Goulty, 14 Billington, 15 Down (unused)|, 16 Bath.