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FT: Plymouth Parkway 1 (Carter 84) Wellington 0



A crowd of 208 were in attendance as Parkway took on lowly Wellington looking to maintain their recent run of good results and their push for promotion. Today’s game was the first of 9 in February meaning there will be Saturday and midweek games for the remainder of the month. Two changes were made from last week’s victory at Chipping Sodbury with Jack Calver replacing the unavailable Shane Krac with Teigan Rosenquest starting in place of Jordan Copp.


The game got off to a stuttering start with neither side able to establish any control or momentum with far too many misplaced passes and a lack of quality in the final third. It soon became evident that the visitor’s game plan would be to look to contain, put players behind the ball, defend deep and look to counter when possible and replicate what they had done in the home encounter earlier in the season when they proved very difficult to break down. Parkway had plenty of possession but were unable to penetrate the visitors dogged defending or create any meaningful chances. The closest they came was on 15 minutes when Calver fizzed a low free kick into the danger area just evading everyone and going behind for a goal kick.


With Wellington rarely getting forward, their main source of attack was a series of long throws into the 6 yard box which were comfortably dealt with by the Parkway defence. Parkway continued to dominate possession but too often their build up play was ponderous and lacking intensity enabling the visitors to defend without too many alarms with their keeper Tom Welch rarely tested. A series of set pieces also lacked quality with free kicks invariably being driven into the defensive wall or corners failing to beat the first defender. Approaching half time the visitor’s Jack Porter was yellow carded for crudely bundling into Rosenquest. The final action of the half saw a Ryan Lane shot being deflected behind by Adam Carter which just about summed up an uneventful, uninspiring, lacklustre 45 minutes with neither side showing any real quality or creating any clear chances.


Words must have been said in the home dressing room at half time as Parkway made a much more positive start and should have taken the lead on 46 minutes. Clever play on the right by Mikey Williams saw him link well with Craig Duff who played the ball into Carter who dragged his shot wide from 6 yards when it seemed easier to score. Parkway gradually increased the pressure and looked a completely different outfit from the first half playing at a much higher tempo and with more conviction. With the visitors content to spoil and slow play down whenever possible, they remained difficult to break down as frustration began to creep into the Parkway play. Ian Bellinger replaced Charlie Dodds on 53 minutes and his first involvement was to receive a yellow card after a late challenge on Parkway keeper Kyle Moore.


With Parkway now pushing forward and looking more dangerous, a reckless challenge by Wellington’s Jake Horsey on Carter on 59 minutes saw him receive a yellow card which on another day may have been deemed a red. From the resultant well directed free kick from Calver, Rob Farkins headed back across the goal to Billy Palfrey whose point blank header was acrobatically tipped over by an increasingly busy Welch. On 66 minutes another Calver free kick from 30 yards went narrowly wide with the Wellington defence coming under increasing pressure as they continued to ride their luck. With Wellington offering little threat up front, Parkway changed formation to 3 5 2 with Copp replacing Calver on 67 minutes. They almost took the lead on 68 minutes when a typically mazy run into the 18 yard area from Williams ended with his attempt to curl his shot around Welch saw the keeper spread himself to make a brave save. Wellington continued to frustrate Parkway conceding a series of free kicks in their own half which constantly broke up play which became scrappy and fragmented. On 73 minutes Lane had a close range shot blocked and from the corner Duff’s header was pushed over by Welch with Rosenquest then having a shot blocked as the visitor’s goal continued to bear a charmed life.


On 75 minutes another close range Parkway effort was deflected on to the top of the crossbar as Wellington continued to defend desperately but successfully. On 81 minutes James Clough received a yellow card as Parkway continued to press and threaten. Just when it looked like it would be one of those days, to the audible relief and delight of the Parkway supporters, players and management, they finally breached the Wellington defence on 84 minutes. From another defensive clearance Parkway picked up the loose ball which was threaded through to Carter who, under some pressure from a defender, showed good strength and determination to just beat the outstanding Welch to the ball and stab home from around 8 yards. With Wellington now forced to throw players forward in search of an equaliser they picked up their fifth yellow card after a foul by Josh Pearson. Parkway now looked to see the game through but were given a scare on 89 minutes when another long throw was headed on straight into the grateful arms of Moore for his first save of the half. There was still time for Copp to receive a yellow card for not retreating at a free kick as Wellington threw everything forward. After a considerable amount of stoppage time, Parkway eventually saw the game out to complete a gritty, hardworking performance against dogged, determined opponents who, as predicted, proved very hard to break down with their resolute defensive display. However had it not been for man of the match Welch and some wayward Parkway finishing, the margin of victory could have been much greater.


Parkway remain in second place 3 points behind and with a game in hand over Bradford Town who were 4-0 winners today thereby narrowing the goal difference in Parkway’s favour to 4. Weather and pitch condition permitting, Parkway will now entertain Plymouth Argyle in the Devon Challenge Bowl quarter final on Tuesday followed on Saturday by the visit of West Auckland Town in the 5th round (last 16) of the FA Vase.


Courtesy of Graham Lloyd


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