The Parkway Preview: Edition #6


Top Shelf, birthdays and safe passage in the FA Vase


By Mike Parrish


The Bolitho grass must feel neglected at the moment with only the recent rain keeping the surface company – along with the muttering of annoyance from the groundsmen trying to keep the pitch safe from the elements. The ground has only seen 90 minutes of football played over the course of a month, but those 90 minutes may have proved key as the club look forward to a busy winter period.

The manner of victory against Shepton Mallet on home soil proved Parkway have learnt from previous hiccups, as professionalism was on show for the full 90 minutes. Exciting, hardworking and always in control would sum up the result and give the club a good platform to build on, or so they thought!

That platform would-be put-on hold as obstacles including the weather and floodlight failure would halt The Yellows progress. Buckland, Westbury and Exmouth Town would all be cancelled as frustration began to build and teams would begin to close the gap in the league. During that time, Bradford Town have moved six points clear at the top of the table and a clutch of teams sit nestled behind Parkway who lay in second place.

Despite the frustration and rain, Lee Hobbs and his players were back in FA Vase action last weekend and showed no signs of lacking match practice. If anything, it appeared to have galvanised the squad. An is it on or off morning was put to the back of the mind as Grigg Lane and Brockenhurst was the setting for another memorable away day.

Wet, difficult pitch… it didn’t matter to the players as they found their rhythm early and never looked back. Hobbs described his side as an express train over the course of the 90 minutes as he couldn’t fault his players. If the 90 minutes were like an express train, the first 30 would have to be described as a freight train, it was a joy to watch. Another inspired away goalkeeping performance kept the score down as Parkway hit three thanks to goals from Jordan Copp, Adam Carter and Teigan Rosenquest as the away fans, along with the home, applauded the team off the pitch.

The day would also see a man of the match performance from birthday boy Ryan Lane. The young full back has emerged as a pivotal figure in the starting 11 of late and the players have noticed this step up in performances. Instead of a quiet word in the ear, they would give the birthday boy a drink after the game filled with more white spirit than a decorator’s van! The drink may have proved a bit dodgy, but it showed the team spirit inside the dressing room, as ‘Laney’ and the players boarded the party bus after securing safe passage into the next round of the Vase.

Another Birthday would be celebrated midweek, this time manager Lee Hobbs would turn a year older, but I suspect he may not have received the same drink as Ryan Lane! He does however deserve a huge number of plaudits. The boss leads by example and in the past year alone has produced a stunning win ratio. Played 45 Won 39 Drawn 4 and lost only 2 – will he get the birthday present he’s after on the weekend, as Chipping Sodbury Town head to Bolitho.

One of those two defeats came against Chipping Sodbury who could be seen as Parkways bogey team.  The T Sods were the only league team the Yellows did not record a victory over last season and despite being rooted to the foot of the table this season, they will remember last season. And rightly so, a friendly, hardworking and historic club will receive a warm welcome by everyone at Bolitho on Saturday. No-one at the club has forgotten the final day of last season when the T Sods showed great understanding and respect to all the players and fans of Parkway who were pipped to the league title by Willand Rovers.

Respect will show in abundance, but it will be within the 90 mins that Hobbs and his men will look to put right last season and pick up three valuable league points.

Will that happen? We shall wait and see. The Bolitho grass will look forward to getting back to work and so will Hobbs and his players as they will look to make it three league wins on the spin.