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FT: Hebburn Town 2 (Scott 20, 45) Plymouth Parkway 0

PARKWAY DREAM OF GLORY IN FA VASE SHATTERED

Parkway travelled just over 400 miles to the North East looking to overcome joint favourites, with themselves, Hebburn Town in the quarter final of the FA Vase, the furthest either club had ever gone in the competition. A record crowd of 1,705 for the hosts included around 60 from Parkway who had made the long journey by plane, train and road. Parkway made 4 changes from last Saturday’s victory at Cadbury Heath with Jordan Copp, Aaron Bentley,Jamie Lowry and Shane Krac starting in place of Ryan Lane Jack Calver, Jordan Bentley and Craig Duff.

With a chilly, strong cross field wind blowing, both sides took a while to adjust to the conditions with little pattern to play emerging. An early free kick to Parkway from around 25 yards went harmlessly wide with a Hebburn break along the left on 6 minutes ending with Cedwyn Scott firing well over. Play remained rather scrappy with both sides conceding possession too easily and few chances being created. On 12 minutes a Parkway break along the right saw Krac fire in a dangerous cross which just eluded the incoming Teigan Rosenquest at the far post. Despite Parkway starting well, Hebburn gradually began to take control looking to play long balls into the wide channels and looking particularly threatening along the left with Olly Martin looking dangerous. Parkway were struggling to impose themselves or retain any decent possession in midfield as the hosts continued to press hard denying the visitors time and space.

Neither side were able to create any clear cut chances as the strong wind made ball retention and passing difficult with play continuing to be fairly fragmented. The hosts main outlet continued to be the long ball into the left channel which Parkway were finding it difficult to deal with and it came as no real surprise when they took the lead through that route on 20 minutes. Martin latched on to a pass from deep, got to the bye line and crossed into the 6 yard box where Scott got ahead of his marker to finish from close range. The hosts continued to look threatening with Parkway unable to get their wide players forward and into the game to support the lone striker Adam Carter with the home defence remaining in control dealing comfortably with the occasional attack and winning most of the aerial duels. On 34 minutes another Hebburn attack, this time along the right, saw another dangerous cross fired in behind the Parkway defence with no one able to get the final touch.

Hebburn continued to look the stronger and more organised outfit as Parkway, despite working hard to stay in the game, continued to frequently concede possession and rarely test Mark Foden in the home goal. A rare Parkway attack on 41 minutes saw their first real chance of the game with Lowry surging forward unchallenged from midfield and seeing his powerful shot from 20 yards take a slight deflection only to be superbly saved one handed by Foden at full stretch and cleared behind for a corner. A neat lay off by Carter to Krac on 43 minutes saw his shot go harmlessly wide with Parkway then being caught by a sucker punch on the stroke of half time. Another long ball from deep to the left saw Martin link well with Michael McKeown with the latter crossing into the danger area with Scott again slotting home from close range after rounding the exposed Kyle Moore. A vital second goal at a crucial moment coming shortly after Parkway’s best and arguably only chance of the first half. A generally scrappy half with the strong wind playing it’s part with the hosts looking the more composed side and looking dangerous and pacey up front and clinically taking the few chances that came their way.

Hebburn almost increased their lead on 47 minutes with Parkway failing to deal with another long bouncing ball and Scott poking just wide from 5 yards when he really should have done better. The hosts continued to look sharper and quicker all over the park with Moore having to race from his goal to clear a break along the right on 54 minutes. Martin broke clear on the left shortly after, pulling his shot just wide. Duff replaced Billy Palfrey on 58 minutes as Parkway looked to get back into the game however the home defence remained resolute and rarely under threat. A Krac shot on 64 minutes after being set up by Carter was easily saved with the hosts going straight to the other end and Martin again breaking clear but seeing a poor effort well saved by Moore. With Parkway now chasing the game, a Krac free kick through the wall was comfortably saved by Foden as Hebburn continued to play long balls in behind the Parkway back line as spaces opened up.

On 70 minutes Rob Farkins received the game’s first yellow card after a bit of wrestling in the 18 yard area whilst awaiting a corner. From the resultant corner some desperate defending saw Bentley clear off the line twice in quick succession from Michael Richardson as the hosts continued to apply pressure. With Parkway continuing to push forward in search of a goal which really didn’t look like coming, spaces opened up in midfield and at the back with the hosts looking ever more dangerous. On 81 minutes a superb save by Moore in a one on one situation was followed by yet another crucial save on 84 minutes. The impressive Scott was replaced by Ben Dibb-Fuller on 85 minutes with Moore again coming to the rescue on 88 minutes with another fine save only to repeat his heroics again in stoppage time as the hosts finished the game strongly to run out worthy winners.

A disappointing, disjointed performance from Parkway who were nowhere near their best and seemed at times to let the occasion get to them and were generally second best to a strong, well organised Hebburn side who fully deserved their win. Had it not been for some outstanding goalkeeping from Moore in the last 15 minutes, the margin of defeat could have been even greater. Despite the defeat, to reach the last 8 of a national competition is a tremendous achievement by all concerned at Parkway and should not be underestimated or forgotten particularly as 5 of the 6 rounds were away from home and involved many hours of travelling and many miles on the road.

Thoughts must now quickly return to the league and the aim of promotion by getting a positive, instant reaction to today’s disappointment by regrouping and refocussing on the challenges ahead. It doesn’t get any easier with, weather permitting, a visit to 2nd placed Bradford Town on Wednesday with 3rd placed Hallen the visitors to Bolitho Park on Saturday. Despite the disappointment of the result, the warm welcome, helpfulness and friendliness of the locals both at the club and in the surrounding area was excellent with the majority of the Parkway faithful extremely complimentary about how, apart from the result, they had enjoyed their weekend away and how they had been hosted. Non league football family at it’s best. Good luck to Hebburn in the semi-final and maybe beyond.

Courtesy of Graham Llyod

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