Two different performances, yet equally important
By Mike Parrish
From the elation of victory against Bitton on Saturday, to the frustration of victory over Wellington on Wednesday evening. This in essence, is the difficulty of the Western League. One minute you are playing in front of 300 people in an action-packed game, and the next you are playing on a cold night in front of 60-70 people against a team focused on defending.
If Parkway are to maintain their fine start and league position, they may have to get used to more nights like the one they endured at The Playing Fields on Wednesday evening. Wellington are a team in transition after long serving manager Clive Jones left the club and defender Tim Legg took charge of the Tangerines. They set up to stifle Parkway and hit them on the break which very nearly worked. Dual signed Luke Mortimore bundled in arguably the easiest goal of his career to settle the nerves of the travelling fans and management team. Despite going a goal down, Wellington stuck to their game plan as frustration began to creep into Parkways play. You can’t win every game by playing total football, but if your name is Adam Carter you will always have a chance of finding the back of the net every game. It was the No.9’s right footed fizzed effort from the edge of the box that would seal the 3 point and move the striker onto 23 goals for the season.
The win would elevate Lee Hobbs’ men back to the top of the table after picking up six points in the space of five days. The Yellows sit level on points with Bradford Town but top the table on goal difference. The victory over Bitton last Saturday means Parkway will not face them again this season and judging by the performance Bitton produced at Bolitho, it will be one less worry Hobbs’ will have to deal with this season. The away side looked a different animal than the one that were convincingly beaten by Parkway only a month earlier. Dan Langdon’s men gave it everything and very nearly left Bolitho with all three points, only for Parkway to find their never say die attitude. At 3-2 down, two quick fire goals by Adam Carter and Mikey Williams turned the tables as Bolitho produced the backdrop for an enthralling game of football, watched by a crowd of nearly 300.
A swings in roundabouts performance kind of week will have no thrilling crescendo as the Yellows will enjoy a deserved weekend off and it may just have come at the right time. Aaron Bentley, Mikey Williams would start on the bench on Wednesday evening as they both recover from niggling injuries. Fletcher Williams will be close to returning after a few weeks out with injury and Hobbs will be waiting to hear on the prognosis of midfielder Elliot Ward. The impressive new signing picked up an injury five minutes into the Wellington game, as the Yellows injury list begins to grow.
Parkways next outing will take place next Tuesday evening in the County Cup when Peninsula East side Ilfracombe make the trip to Bolitho Park. With an ever-growing injury list and a huge 3rd round FA Vase fixture only four days later, it will be interesting to see the team Hobbs will play. It was a last-minute winner by Aaron Bentley that secured victory against Bideford in the previous round of the County Cup with a string of trialists named in the starting eleven, will that be the case again next Tuesday evening?
To finish the preview, we must mention the big day out in Dorset as Parkway will look forward to resuming their FA Vase journey next Saturday when they face Hamworthy United on a 4G pitch! The Yellows will go into the game in good form despite what happens in the County Cup. It is now eight wins on the spin in all competitions including the superb 3-0 away victory against Brockenhurst in the last round of the competition. That result alone has wetted the appetite of what will surely be another day out to remember for the travelling fans who will be hoping the journey home will see Parkway still in the Vase.
The Hammers will not be taken lightly despite sitting 12th in the Wessex Premier League. United will have home advantage and on 4G, will give the Parkway players a big test in versatility. Hamworthy’s last fixture ended in a 2-2 draw at the Specsavers County Ground against AFC Stoneham with goals from Ashley Pope and Harrison White. This weekend they travel to AFC Porchester before having a full seven days to prepare for the visit of the Yellows.
But that is then and this is now. A weekend off to recharge the batteries ahead of the FA Vase and an extremely busy winter schedule. Oh, to be a non-league fan…