FT: Wellington 0 - 3 Plymouth Parkway (Annear 53, Carter pen 56, Lane 70)
Parkway made the relatively short midweek trip to Wellington in the rearranged game which was recently snowed off. A considerable number of the Parkway faithful were in the above average crowd of 85. Parkway made one change from Saturday's victory at Bradford Town with Adam Carter returning from injury replacing Stewart Yetton. Captain Shane Krac remained unavailable due to injury.
Parkway had an early effort with a Billy Palfrey shot sailing high and wide. Wellington were quickly into their stride with their midfield having plenty of possession with Parkway looking unusually disjointed and unsettled and unable to get into the game. On 9 minutes Sam Jones headed just over for the hosts after a good passage of play down their left. Wellington continued to look the livelier, pressing hard all over the pitch and denying Parkway time and space on the ball. However Parkway defended well and despite Wellington dominating possession and playing at a high tempo, chances were few and far between. Parkway's first effort on target came on 15 minutes when a Jordan Trott free kick was fumbled by home keeper Josh McLean and gathered at the second attempt. Ryan Lane then saw his powerful shot parried by McLean with Carter just failing to reach the loose ball. Play continued to be scrappy with Wellington continuing to hassle and frustrate as Parkway struggled to gain or maintain any good possession.
A rare moment of quality on 21 minutes saw a strong run from deep by Lane with Jordan Annear in support. Both raced clear of the defence but McLean narrowed the angle forcing Lane to miscue his shot with Annear just failing to get a final touch. With play being broken up by a series of petty fouls and free kicks, Trott became the first player to be booked on 33 minutes despite winning the free kick! With Parkway now forced into a more direct approach, they started to create some half chances with Lane and Rob Farkins both seeing close range efforts blocked. On 40 minutes clever play by Palfrey on the left saw his deep cross headed just wide by Farkins before play switched to the other end with a Conor Bryant lob from wide on the left going narrowly wide. The final action of the half saw Parkway win a couple of corners with both Farkins and Nick Milton seeing their headers just miss the target. A scrappy, uninspiring half from Parkway with Wellington playing the better football but creating very few chances and both defences generally on top.
Mitch Woodgate replaced Joe Chamberlain for Wellington at the start of the second half. Playing down the slope, Parkway started the half the better, now playing a more patient and controlled game, applying early pressure which was rewarded on 53 minutes. A long clearance deep into the Wellington half caused confusion between McLean and a defender allowing Annear to smartly nip between them, show good close control and composure and shoot home crisply from a narrow angle on the right from around 12 yards. A second goal soon followed when on 56 minutes a long diagonal ball from Milton dropped to Mikey Williams wide on the right. Showing superb chest control, Williams then drove into the box and in trying to round McLean was upended by the keeper for a clear penalty which was calmly stroked home by Carter.
With Parkway now showing much more energy and control, Wellington's George Rogers was shown a yellow card after bringing down Lane in full flight down the left. Wellington continued to look to work through their midfield and had a period of pressure with Farkins and Milton along with Sam Hillson being forced to defend strongly. On the hour the experienced Jamie Lowry replaced Carter looking to stabilise the midfield with Annear again left as the lone striker. Within 5 minutes of coming on, Lowry was booked after a couple of innocuous looking challenges. Wellington almost pulled a goal back on 68 minutes with Glen Wright seeing his effort go just wide. Kyle Moore in the Parkway goal was hardly being tested only having to deal with some occasional crosses which he handled confidently. Parkway scored their third on 70 minutes, which probably wrapped up the game with Wellington visibly tiring after their strong running first half. A fine interchange of passes between Annear and Williams through midfield saw the latter pick out Lane charging in from the left who lashed home a first time shot from around 18 yards.
This brought a raft of substitutions with Williams and Trott being replaced by Les Afful and Mike Smith and Conor Bryant off for Connor Pengelly for the hosts. Afful almost made an immediate impact firing just wide on 75 minutes as Parkway continued to threaten. The final substitution was made on 76 minutes with Lewis Pocock replacing Rogers. Wellington continued to attack but were being contained by the hard working Parkway midfield and their solid defence. The final chance of the game came in stoppage time with Smith breaking clear on the right and shooting narrowly over. A patchy game which, apart from the goals, lacked a lot of quality with Wellington arguably the better side in the first half and Parkway controlling the second and ultimately deserving their victory with more clinical finishing.
Similar to last Saturday's game, Parkway again got off to a sluggish start but improved as the game progressed and probably need to look at this aspect of their recent performances. However, the win sees Parkway consolidate 4th place, improve their goal difference and edge closer to the leaders still with a game in hand over 1st and 2nd but having played one more than 3rd placed Bitton. On what is likely to be an emotional day at Bolitho Park on Saturday as club President, former Chairman and club legend the late Jim Parsons will be remembered, what better opponents than League leaders and FA Vase quarter finalists Willand Rovers. There can be no more fitting tribute in his memory than to gain a victory over the best team in the League.
Match report by Mr Graham Lloyd