FT: Brislington 2 (Buck 26, 33)
Plymouth Parkway 3 (Annear 12, Carter 49, Farkins 63)
Parkway met Brislington for the third time this season having beaten them 5-1 at home in the FA Vase in September but losing the earlier league encounter 2-3 by a last minute own goal. Parkway made one change from last Saturday's victory at Bridport with Sam Hillson replacing the unavailable Shane Krac in midfield.
Playing down the slope with a strong wind behind them, Parkway applied early pressure with Les Afful seeing his shot saved on 4 minutes. Brislington forced a couple of early corners which were comfortably defended but it was Parkway who took the lead on 12 minutes. From a long ball, Jordan Annear bravely won a header and reacted instantly to his own flick on by racing forward and, showing good control and composure, hammering home a rising shot into the top corner from just inside the box. A quality goal. The game developed into a competitive affair with the blustery conditions precluding too much quality play but it was Parkway, with Annear and Adam Carter, supported from midfield, combining well up front looking the more dangerous. A teasing cross from the right from Annear on 15 minutes just evaded the onrushing Carter.
Brislington started to look dangerous down their left with Ricky Chandler and Connor Biggins prominent and linking well. Parkway had a let off on 17 minutes with Clarke Taylor picking up a loose clearance and firing just wide as Brislington came more into the game. As play swung from end to end Parkway had the next chance with Carter and Mikey Williams linking well on the right allowing Williams to cut inside and curl a good effort on target which was well saved by Chris Humphries. Both sides were guilty of overhitting too many long balls into the channels which were generally easily dealt with by both defences. On 26 minutes one such long ball was not dealt with and hesitant Parkway defending allowed Oaklan Buck to pounce on a loose, bouncing ball and prod a close range effort past Kyle Moore.
Parkway almost retook the lead immediately with Annear cleverly setting Carter free only for Humphries to race from his goal and reach the ball just ahead of Carter on the edge of the box. The resulting collision required lengthy treatment for the keeper. With Parkway losing their early dominance in midfield and unable to retain possession, Brislington took the lead on 33 minutes. More good play down their left between Chandler and Biggins ended with a deep cross to the far post where the alert, unchallenged Buck nodded home. Brislington continued to threaten and almost increased their lead on 40 minutes with Biggins firing just wide. The half ended with Hillson having a speculative shot from around 40 yards comfortably saved as Parkway's early promise had faded with Brislington coming more into the game for the last 20 minutes of the half.
Parkway started the second half in the ascendancy playing at a higher tempo and deservedly equalised on 49 minutes. Carter, showing admirable strength and persistence, won the ball some 30 yards out, shrugged off a couple of challenges, powered forward, rounded the keeper and finished calmly. A deserved reward for his hard working performance throughout the game so far. Parkway now looking much the sharper, created further chances with Affull having a shot blocked on 56 minutes and Tiegan Rosanquest firing narrowly over on 59. Mike Smith, returning after a 3 game suspension, replaced Affull on the hour with Williams moving to the left of midfield and Smith on the right.
Smith immediately got into the game seeing his shot blocked as Parkway increased the pressure. They duly retook the lead on 63 minutes. A corner on the left was only partially cleared to Christian Pople whose intelligent ball found Jordan Trott wide on the left. Trott crossed deep to the far post with central defender Rob Farkins rising above everyone to thump a header home in his customary manner. Farkins almost repeated the dose a couple of minutes later with another header going narrowly over after good work by Smith. Reuben Kane replaced the quietly efficient Rosanquest on 74 minutes with Hillson dropping to right back and Kane slotting into central midfield. Brendan Abood was replaced by James Peart on 76 minutes as Brislington went searching for the equaliser however it was Parkway who almost increased their lead when a fierce shot from Kane was blocked after more good work by Smith.
Always vulnerable with just a single goal lead, Parkway now had to display their defensive qualities as Brislington had a period in control and a powerful strike from Biggins was superbly and bravely blocked by Nick Milton around 12 yards out. On 80 minutes Stewart Yetton replaced Carter who had caused Brislington problems throughout and whose partnership with recent signing and strike partner Annear has shown early encouraging signs. Jimmy Woolland replaced Jayden Neilsen for Brislington shortly after. Parkway continued to work hard to maintain their lead but were dealt a blow on 86 minutes when they were reduced to 10 men. Smith, who had impressed since coming on, was clearly tripped just inside the Brislington half but sadly his reaction and a moment of petulance resulted in the referee consulting his assistant and subsequently showing him a straight red card. Unfortunately as this was his first game back after a 3 game ban for a previous straight red, a further increased suspension looks likely. Brislington replaced Biggins with George Saunders for the last few minutes but Parkway remained strong and saw out the game to gain yet another hard earned 3 points which sees them climb a place to 5th, ahead of Clevedon on goal difference, still with games in hand over most teams around them.
Yet another win based on hard work, graft and resolve which is becoming increasingly obvious is the requirement in this league with manager Lee Hobbs no doubt heading off into the Bristol night for his birthday bash in good spirits! The M5 beckons again on Tuesday as Parkway head for 6th placed Division 1 side Wells City in the 2nd round of the Les Phillips League Cup. Next Saturday sees the visit of mid table Hallen to Bolitho Park, the first home game since the start of the build of the exciting new clubhouse project. Short term pain for long term gain.