Winchester City v Plymouth Parkway | Match Report & Highlights

A frantic final few minutes earns Parkway a valuable point

Written by Graham Lloyd

3 - Winchester City (Balmer 11, Douglas 40, Bentley 48)

3 - Plymouth Parkway (Crago 16, Douglas og 45+2, Palfrey pen 90+6)


Just 43 hours after returning from the epic travelling weekend to and from Spennymoor, Parkway returned to league action with a relatively short 320 mile round trip to 4th placed Winchester City! Parkway travelled with a depleted squad due to injuries and players being unavailable. Two changes were made from Saturday with Rhys Shirley and Tom Bath starting in place of Adam Carter and Callum Rose with the versatile Mikey Williams reverting from midfield to central defence. Only 2 substitutes were on the bench and around 20 hardy Parkway souls were among the attendance of 195. Play got off to a frantic start with little quality from either side. However on 5 minutes a neat exchange between Jack Crago and Ryan Lane along the left set up Billy Palfrey whose powerful strike from 35 yards cannoned off the post with Bath following in being adjudged offside as he attempted to turn in the rebound. With the hosts adopting a more direct style of play they took the lead on 11 minutes. Parkway conceded possession in midfield allowing Winchester to break clear along the left with a deep cross from Oliver Bailey finding Oliver Balmer who finished clinically from around 8 yards. Play continued at a fast pace from end to end with Williams picking up the game’s first of many subsequent yellow cards on 13 minutes. Parkway looking the sharper in midfield quickly equalised on 16 minutes. A perfectly weighted through ball from the already influential Palfrey found Crago who reacted the quickest and calmly lifted the ball over the advancing keeper Charlie Philpott from around 18 yards.

With the game continuing at a pace, the game took a dramatic turn on 18 minutes with an arguably controversial incident. Callum Hall was shown a straight red card after chasing a long ball into the penalty area and was deemed to have fouled the onrushing Philpott in a one on one situation. With Parkway beginning to dominate possession in midfield and looking to create openings, good work by Shirley on the right saw his cross headed just over by Bath whilst under pressure from a defender. The hosts continued their direct style of play looking to hit the channels with long balls with the Parkway defence holding firm and Kyle Moore remaining relatively untroubled in the Parkway goal. Making light of being a man short Parkway, continued to probe and switch play and on 25 minutes good link up play between Bath and Shirley saw the latter’s angled drive well smothered by Philpott. With Palfrey and Matt Andrew working hard in midfield and pressing well and Crago and Lane causing problems along the left, Parkway continued to look the more dominant and were creating the better chances. On 37 minutes Joshua McCormick became the first Winchester player to see yellow after a series of petty infringements. Palfrey again became provider on 38 minutes with his deep cross to the far post finding the towering Michael Landricombe who headed just wide. Winchester continued to look dangerous along their left flank and a break on 39 minutes drew a foul from Lane for which he was booked. From the resultant free kick on 40 minutes the hosts took the lead for the second time with central defender Kieran Douglas rising highest to power home a header from around 6 yards giving Moore no chance. Parkway responded almost immediately forcing a free kick on the left from which Williams was fouled in a crowded 6 yard box, a penalty given and Jamie Barron seeing yellow. With Parkway’s usual penalty takers absent, up stepped Palfrey only to see his powerful effort superbly pushed away by Philpott.

Parkway continued to apply pressure winning another free kick wide on the left which brought them level for the second time. Palfrey’s well delivered kick to the far post caused confusion in the Winchester defence with the unfortunate Douglas, under pressure, turning the ball into his own net from close range.

A breathtaking half with two contrasting styles of play, short on too much quality but not short on incidents.

Winchester started the second half on the front foot forcing a couple of early corners. Parkway were unable to clear the first and from the second on 48 minutes the hosts regained the lead with Warren Bentley bundling home from close range. Play went through a scrappy phase punctuated by a series of stoppages for free kicks for sometimes seemingly minor infringements by both sides with no real flow or rhythm to the game. The hard working Shirley was replaced by Harrison Davis on 54 minutes with Davis slotting into his customary right back role with the quietly efficient Finlay Craske moving into midfield. Parkway continued to prompt and probe with their passing and movement with the hosts content to absorb pressure and look to hit Parkway on the counter.

The game took yet another twist on 59 minutes with Winchester being reduced to 10 men after McCormick saw yellow for a second time after a crude challenge. Bentley then shot just over for the hosts shortly before Ollie Griggs replaced Bailey on the hour. On 63 minutes the tenacious Andrew became the next player to see yellow after an innocuous looking challenge in midfield as play continued at a frenetic pace. On 66 minutes Douglas did well to block a goal-bound effort after a period of Parkway pressure with the resultant corner being cleared to safety.

Winchester made their final changes in the 69th and 74th minutes with Max Smith and Dan Walster replacing Balmer and Patrick Nolan respectively. With numbers now even, players tiring and space opening up, Parkway continued to press without creating any clear cut chances as the Winchester defence held firm. A frustrated Crago saw yellow for dissent on 75 minutes with Walster finding his way into the book shortly after coming on for his first contribution to the game. With time running out, Parkway continued to dominate possession and went to 3 at the back with Williams moving into midfield and Callum Rose replacing Bath on 88 minutes as they desperately searched for an equaliser. Approaching 90 minutes Bentley became the next player to see yellow but there were still more twists to come.

With 7 minutes stoppage time indicated, the hosts had a golden opportunity to seal the game on 92 minutes in a rare counter attack. Palfrey was again involved as he bundled over Smith just inside the penalty area for which he received a yellow card. Moore who had rarely been tested in the second half stayed big, superbly saving Bentley’s spot kick to give Parkway hope of salvaging a point and salvage one they did. On 96 minutes Parkway pressure along the left resulted in a cross into a crowded 18 yard area with Williams adjudged to have been fouled. After a lengthy delay for Williams to receive treatment and players protesting and crowding round the officials, a penalty was eventually given. Having seen his earlier penalty saved, man of the match Palfrey, who had now been involved in all 3 spot kicks, displayed terrific character and mental strength to step up for a second time and on this occasion give Philpott no chance much to the delight of all the Parkway connections.

An incident packed, highly competitive game in which Parkway played for 40 minutes a man down but displayed tremendous desire, determination and resilience throughout to come from behind 3 times to gain a point in a game they certainly didn’t deserve to lose. Despite 2 sendings off, 3 penalties and a plethora of yellow cards, the game was hardly considered to be a dirty one. The result was all the more impressive with Parkway having had such a short recovery period after the tough game at Spennymoor and travelling with a severely depleted squad. With games in hand over all the teams above, the result sees them climb a place to 9th as the push towards a playoff place continues.

The journey continues on Saturday with a visit to 7th placed Paulton Rovers for their 3rd consecutive away game in 9 demanding days during which time they will have travelled just over 1,400 miles.    


Line Ups:

Winchester: 1 Philpott, 2 McCormick, 3 King, 4 Nolan (Walster 73), 5 Flooks, 6 Douglas, 7 Bailey (Griggs 61), 8 Barron ©, 9 Bentley, 10 Balmer (Smith 69), 11 Miambo.

Substitutes: 12 Vaughan (unused), 13 Price (gk – unused), 14 Walster, 15 Smith, 16 Griggs

Parkway: 1 Moore, 2 Craske, 3 Lane 4, Palfrey, 5 Bath (Rose 88), 6 Landricombe ©, 7 Williams, 8 Hall, 9 Shirley (Davis 54), 10 Andrew, 11 Crago

Substitutes: Davis 12, Rose 14.

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