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FT: Hengrove Athletic 0 Plymouth Parkway 1 (McAuley 64)


Parkway resumed League action as they travelled to Hengrove for the second time this season having previously won 5-1 there in the FA Cup. With a considerably depleted squad, Parkway were forced to make 5 changes from last Sunday's FA Cup defeat by Gloucester City, including a first start of the season for youngster Jack Rhead.

A scrappy start to the game saw Hengrove line up in a defensive formation with Parkway dominating possession but unable to penetrate the Hengrove defence. Parkway created their first chance on 12 minutes with Sam Hillson heading just over from a corner after a shot from Mikey Williams had been deflected behind. Williams was in the action again on 15 minutes when another shot was well saved by home keeper Carl Bush. Looking comfortable in possession and moving the ball around well, Parkway continued to threaten but were being restricted to shooting from distance and struggling to get in behind the deep lying Hengrove defence. Teigan Rosanquest, looking impressive in midfield, saw his shot well saved low down by Bush on 20 minutes. Another passage of neat play on 23 minutes ended with Rosanquest firing just over. Hengrove continued to defend well and from a rare break on 26 minutes, Jacob O'Donnell fired just wide from around 18 yards.

Parkway continued to push forward in numbers with both full backs supporting the midfield but too often the final ball lacked quality or penetration. Central defender Aaron Bentley then saw his header from another corner comfortably saved by Bush before another good build up down the left between Williams and Ben Joyce set up Rhead whose fierce shot was again well saved. Hengrove continued to break forward occasionally but rarely threatened Kyle Moore in the Parkway goal. With Joyce, Christian Pople, Rosanquest and Rhead controlling the midfield, Parkway continued to dominate but Hengrove remained difficult to break down.

On 39 minutes a Hengrove break from a Parkway corner saw a long ball launched forward beyond the last defender and Moore had to race a long way out of his area to just beat O'Donnell to the loose ball and hack clear. A close call. The half ended with Luke Palmer in the clear for Hengrove but he shanked his shot well wide. Parkway generally controlled the half without creating too many clear cut chances with Hengrove defending well and occasionally looking dangerous on the break.

Parkway almost took the lead on 46 minutes when the hard working Stewart Yetton wriggled clear of his marker and pushed his shot just wide of the right hand post. A good start to the half from Parkway saw them continue in the ascendancy and after a long advantage played by the referee, Hengrove's Connor Griffiths was eventually shown a yellow card for a reckless challenge. A series of corners and some desperate defending by Hengrove ended with central defender Nick Milton firing just wide from close range on 53 minutes. Rosanquest then saw an effort blocked by the feet of Bush as Parkway increased the pressure. Bush excelled again on 59 minutes acrobatically pushing a shot from the ever dangerous Williams over the bar.

On the hour Connor Mcauley replaced Rhead who had played well on his seasonal debut. Williams then saw another shot cleared off the line after another of his trademark mazy runs into the 18 yard box. The breakthrough finally came on 64 minutes when a passage of play down the left ended with Yetton crossing to the unmarked McAuley who hammered his shot into the roof of the net from around 6 yards. Not the first time McAuley has come off the bench and scored a crucial goal. Hengrove created half a chance on 66 minutes with a shot that flashed wide but Moore remained largely untested. McAuley then showed his defensive awareness by tracking back into his own 6 yard box and blocking a dangerous Hengrove break.

Always vulnerable with just a single goal lead, Parkway continued to push forward to try and kill the game off but Hengrove continued to provide stubborn resistance and also managed to create a couple of efforts from long range which were dealt with comfortably by the Parkway defence. On 80 minutes Rob Farkins replaced Shane Jewell who had picked up an injury as Parkway shut up shop to see the game out without any further alarms despite Hengrove pushing more men forward. Not a class performance or game to live long in the memory but winning ugly still yields 3 points. Parkway continue their steady start to the league campaign and now lie 6th in the league with 15 points, 7 points off the leaders but with games in hand over most of the teams above them.

A challenging week now follows with another trip up the M5 on Tuesday with a visit to the much fancied Bitton in the Les Phillips League Cup. Bitton currently have a 100% record in the league winning all 5 of their games. After a run of 5 successive away games, Parkway finally return to Bolitho Park next Saturday when high flyers and last season’s Division 1 champions, the promoted Westbury United, are the visitors in the league. Westbury currently lie 2nd in the table and also boast a 100% record winning 7 out of 7. Should be an interesting week.

Match report courtesy of Graham Lloyd
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