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FT: Clevedon Town 0
Plymouth Parkway 2 (Jordan Bentley 69,
Calver 75)


Parkway travelled to 10th placed Clevedon Town having received news that the pitch had passed a midday inspection. Around 30 of the Parkway faithful boosted the attendance of 130. 2 changes were made from the FA Vase victory over West Auckland with Craig Duff starting in place of top scorer Adam Carter up front and Jordan Bentley coming in at right back replacing brother Aaron Bentley who was unavailable due to illness.


The game got off to a cagey start with as both sides adjusting to the stodgy but playable surface. A young Clevedon side created the first chance on 7 minutes in a break along the left with Rob Farkins bravely blocking an effort from Jack Sell. With the pacey Jay Murray and Morgan Williams looking dangerous for the hosts, Parkway struggled to get their game going with little cohesion in their play and being forced on to the defensive where they held firm. Clevedon were forced into an early substitution on 18 minutes with captain Callum Kingdon receiving a head injury and being replaced by Zach Drew. Archie Ferris took over the captain’s armband. Chances were at a premium with play scrappy and lacking any real quality with defences remaining in control and neither keeper being tested. Drew received the game’s first yellow card on 25 minutes as play became congested in midfield with both sides conceding possession too easily and little pattern to play. On 26 minutes Parkway forced a corner with a Farkins header being comfortably saved by Mike Dangerfield.


With Parkway now beginning to assert some authority, a strong run forward by Ryan Lane on 27 minutes forced another corner which was comfortably dealt with before they almost took the lead on 29 minutes with the first clear cut chance of the game. A surging run and cross from the right by Bentley found the unmarked Billy Palfrey 10 yards out whose well directed header was superbly pushed away by Dangerfield at full stretch. The game continued to lack any real quality with neither side able to get any rhythm into their play or gain the upper hand. On 36 minutes a Parkway break along the right released Jordan Copp whose angled shot was parried away. With Farkins and Nick Milton looking strong in the centre of defence, the hosts were unable to provide any penetration despite having their fair share of midfield possession. A generally scrappy, uneventful, uninspiring first half with few chances for either side who, despite working hard, were unable to breach two solid defensive units.


Clevedon started the second half the sharper looking to use the flanks as their main attacking option. Callum Gould received a yellow card early in the half before Sell broke away on 48 minutes but more solid Parkway defending denied him a shot on goal. Parkway had a narrow escape on 49 minutes when a whipped in free kick from the right fizzed across the face of the goal evading everyone and going behind for a goal kick. Clevedon continued to look the more threatening forcing Parkway to defend in numbers but were still unable to create any clear cut chances. Shane Krac received a yellow card on 51 minutes for a robust challenge in midfield as play went through a feisty period with numerous stoppages for petty infringements. Clevedon continued to press with Kyle Moore making a comfortable save from a long range shot on 58 minutes.


A raft of substitutions on the hour saw Lucas Vowles replace Williams for the hosts and Parkway make a double substitution with Carter and Teigan Rosenquest replacing Duff and Copp respectively. Having weathered the early Clevedon pressure, Parkway gradually regained some control in midfield and on 64 minutes a good passage of play along the right between Rosenquest and Mikey Williams saw the ball laid back to Krac who fired wide. The hosts almost took the lead on 66 minutes when an uncharacteristic slip by Lane saw him robbed of the ball on the left allowing the Clevdeon player a run on goal but the alert Moore came quickly off his line to narrow the angle and make a superb block save. A game changing moment?


Frustration started to creep into the hosts play and Sell received yellow card on 67 minutes. The Moore save seemed to deflate the hosts and give renewed energy to Parkway who suddenly looked the far stronger side, moving the ball more fluently and linking play well as they took the lead on 69 minutes. A free kick 30 yards out on the left picked out Farkins at the far post whose header back into the danger area was recycled by Jamie Lowry into a congested 6 yard box where, after a goalmouth scramble, Bentley pounced on the loose ball and rammed home from close range. With the rain beginning to sweep in, Parkway continued to dictate play despite Lowry receiving a yellow card on 72 minutes as the hosts looked to find a way back into the game. Parkway made their final substitution on 75 minutes with Jack Calver replacing Krac. With a free kick already having been awarded to Parkway 25 yards out centrally and the ball in place, on came Calver and with his very first touch stepped up to fire a superlative free kick into the top left hand corner giving Dangerfield no chance. A goal that would have graced any game at any level and would have no doubt impressed a certain Mr Beckham who had been in the same ground a week earlier watching his son play!


The goal lifted Parkway and they continued to be the stronger side with the hosts coming under increasing pressure with Ethan Feltham replacing Murray on 78 minutes. On 83 minutes Parkway had a goal disallowed for a marginal offside after a sharp break creating a 2 on 1 with Rosenquest setting up Palfrey who slotted home only to be denied by the referee’s assistants flag. Williams then fired over after another flowing move on 86 minutes as Parkway looked to retain possession and see the game out which they managed comfortably.


Not a classic game against a young Clevedon outfit who competed well throughout but lacked a cutting edge against a resolute defensive display from Parkway who had to work hard and show guts and determination to eventually grind out the victory on a pitch that held up surprisingly well. They remain in second place 3 points behind Bradford Town with a game in hand and a superior goal difference of +5. Moore’s save at a crucial stage and the astute substitutions were key factors which changed the course of the game giving Parkway the impetus for a strong last 20 minutes which ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides.


They now continue their demanding fixture schedule with another away game on Saturday, weather permitting, when they visit Cadbury Heath. That will be followed by a pivotal week that may or may not define their season with home and away midweek games with Bradford Town with the small matter of an FA Vase quarter final tie at Hebburn Town sandwiched in between! Hold tight.


Many thanks to Graham Lloyd for a superb report


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