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FT: Plymouth Parkway 2 (Farkins 45, Palfrey 63)
West Auckland Town 1 (Purewal 31)



In front of a bumper crowd of 671 Parkway were looking to reach the last 8 of the FA Vase against Northern League side West Auckland Town. 4 changes were made from last week’s narrow victory against Wellington with Jamie Lowry, Nick Milton, Shane Krac and Jordan Copp starting in place of Jack Calver, Jordan Bentley, Craig Duff and Teigan Rosenquest.


Parkway almost had the perfect start when straight from the kick off a Copp cross into the 6 yard area was deflected and grasped by the visitor’s keeper Thomas Flynn on the line. Parkway were making the early running and from a free kick on 3 minutes an Adam Carter header was comfortably gathered by Flynn. With both sides feeling their way into the game and playing at a high tempo, Krac picked up a yellow card on 8 minutes. Parkway gradually began to apply some pressure and from a corner on 9 minutes Rob Farkins glanced a header narrowly wide. With the visitors Adam Mitchell impressive and creative in midfield and Amar Purewal looking dangerous in attack, Parkway had a narrow escape on 12 minutes when a cross from the right flashed across the 6 yard box and away to safety. With Parkway continuing to apply pressure, on 18 minutes good play from Billy Palfrey released Carter who was denied getting his shot away by some last ditch defending. Play continued to switch from end to end however both defences generally remained on top with clear cut chances few and far between. On 21 minutes a long diagonal crossfield ball from Krac found Mikey Williams on the right who cut inside only to see his shot smothered on the line by Flynn.


West Auckland then had a period in the ascendancy gaining some midfield control and on 23 minutes a poor Parkway clearance resulted in a sharp break from Lewis Dodds who shot over when well placed. The visitors continued to threaten and on 29 minutes the lively Liam Hegarty was put clear along the right only to shoot wide from a tight angle. Their pressure eventually paid off on 31 minutes when a slick passing move in midfield saw an Alex Francis through ball put Purewal in the clear who finished clinically with a low shot into the bottom corner to give the visitors the lead. Parkway responded well looking dangerous at set pieces winning the aerial battles in the danger areas with Farkins heading just wide from a corner and then being denied from another by a good save from Flynn. With West Auckland looking to contain and play on the break, the Parkway back line remained firm with Milton in commanding form and Kyle Moore in the home goal relatively untested.


Parkway continued to push forward and on the cusp of half time grabbed the equaliser their play deserved. Yet another free kick from the left, this time taken by Ryan Lane, caused confusion and hesitation in the 6 yard box with the alert Farkins reacting quickest and pounce to stab the ball home from close range for his long awaited first goal of the season. A tight, competitive, fairly even half with little to choose between the sides with Parkway creating the more chances with West Auckland taking the one clear chance that came their way.


Parkway started the second half the sharper applying early pressure with Wiiliams having a shot deflected behind for a corner on 50 minutes after a good passage of play along the right. From the corner a close range Milton header was acrobatically tipped over by Flynn as Parkway camped in the final third with a series of flowing moves and telling crosses. A Farkins header just wide and a Krac shot being parried by Flynn increased the pressure on the visitors defence and on 53 minutes another cross into the 18 yard box caused a scramble with a penalty being awarded for handball. The normally reliable Carter stepped up only to blaze the spot kick over the bar. This seemed to deflate Parkway briefly and lift the visitors who then enjoyed a period of pressure forcing a couple of corners which were comfortably defended.


Parkway regrouped and increased the tempo of their game showing good energy and intensity. Copp received a yellow card for a foul on 57 minutes with the visitors replacing James Harwood with David Dowson on the hour. With Parkway now forcing the pace they took the lead on 63 minutes. Good work on the right between Krac and Aaron Bentley saw the ball played into Carter who deftly laid the ball off to the supporting Palfrey who calmly slotted home from around 6 yards. With West Auckland being pushed further on the defensive, a Williams shot on 65 minutes was well saved by Flynn as Parkway continued to dominate. On 74 minutes a smart passage of play along the left saw a teasing cross from Lane partially cleared with the ball dropping to Bentley around 18 yards out who turned sharply and shot just wide.


Duff replaced the hard working Krac on 76 minutes with West Auckland now pushing forward in search of an equaliser. Good work between Francis and Anthony Bell on 77 minutes set up substitute Dowson who shot wildly over as Moore remained generally untested. Parkway created further chances with Williams curling an effort just wide on 79 minutes and his persistence in winning the ball out wide on 81 minutes then saw him set up Copp whose powerful shot was pushed over by Flynn. Rees Greenwood replaced Hegarty on 82 minutes with Rosenquest replacing Copp shortly afterwards as Parkway looked to retain possession and manage the game out. West Auckland continued to have their fair share of possession but failed to hurt the Parkway defence which remained resolute. The game’s final chance fell to Parkway on 86 minutes when a good ball through a tiring defence saw an astute lob by Carter blocked by Flynn on the edge of the 18 yard area. Jordan Bentley replaced the tireless Carter as the game entered 5 minutes of stoppage time with Parkway seeing the game out to earn a famous victory.


A pulsating game between two evenly matched sides with Parkway creating the clearer chances and defending solidly with the visitors lacking the cutting edge up front to match their fair share of midfield possession. Monday’s quarter final draw is now eagerly awaited by all connected at Parkway who have now been installed as the bookies favourites for the competition. To round off a good day for Parkway, two potential contenders in the league title race Tavistock and Exmouth both lost thereby losing ground on the top two.


Parkway’s attention now turns back to the league with 5 scheduled fixtures before the quarter final of the FA vase on 29 February. They start with a visit to Buckland Athletic on Tuesday with Bridgwater Town, one of only 2 teams to defeat them this season, the visitors to Bolitho Park next Saturday.


Match report courtesy of Graham Lloyd


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