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FT: Plymouth Parkway 4 (Hilson 4, Hobbs 62, 80, Smith 85)
Ivybridge Town 1 (43)
Parkway made 2 changes from the starting line up from last Friday’s victory over Argyle Reserves. On a damp, slippery but perfectly playable surface, once again they made the perfect start when from their first meaningful attack on 4 mins, Glyn Hobbs broke clear of the last defender on the left and after a sublime piece of skill in rounding the keeper, unselfishly squared the ball to the supporting, unmarked Sam Hilson who sidefooted home from around 6 yards. Ivybridge recovered quickly and began to get into the game pressing and closing down Parkway in midfield as play became scrappy. Ivybridge then created a chance on 10 mins when they should have scored after Kyle Moore fumbled a shot which he smothered at the second attempt. Parkway were working hard in midfield and up front but Ivybridge continued to compete strongly, denying Parkway any time on the ball and chances were few and far between. Josh Tattersall had a shot well saved and on 19 mins Hilson saw his effort cannon off the post. Not sure if it was a cross or a shot!! Ivybridge now had a period in the ascendency, forcing a couple of corners as Parkway struggled to clear their lines. Ivybridge looked dangerous down their left as they continued to frustrate Parkway and created a good chance which was saved at the near post.
Parkway then had a period of possession but lacked the necessary penetration in and around the danger area with the Ivybridge defence looking comfortable and their keeper remaining largley untested. Ivybridge continued to look sharp, proving dangerous on the break and it came as no real surprise when they equalised on 43 mins. A long ball found their player in the clear and with the Parkway defenders appealing unsuccessfully for offside, he raced clear and finished with a low shot which went in via the right hand post giving Moore no chance. On balance they deserved to be on level terms at half time as they at times looked the better side. They battled hard throughout with determination and committment, not allowing Parkway to display their usual fluency.
The second half started with Jordan Trott having seeing his free kick go just over and as play went straight to the other end, Ivybridge could have taken the lead. On 47 mins a slip on the right in the Parkway defence resulted in an Ivybridge player left in the clear and his powerful effort from an angle was pushed round the near post by Moore. The game continued to be finely poised with neither side gaining the advantage as Ivybridge continued to harry, hassle and frustrate Parkway who were unable break them down as their passing became sloppy, lacking both accuracy and precision. They did however create a good chance on 58 mins when a great cross from the left was deflected goalwards only for the Ivybridge keeper to make a superb save. The game changing moment came on the hour when the Parkway management took the bold decision to make a triple substitution and tweak the formation by going 3 up front. Ethan Phillips, Ryan Lane and Tattersall were replaced by Mike Smith, Connor Macauley and Christian Pople with Smith going to the left, Macauley to the right and Hobbs remaining central. Pople dropped into his normal ferreting midfield role. The changes had an immediate impact as Parkway regained the lead on 62 mins. Hilson intercepted a stray pass, fed Macauley who powered past his marker and sent in an excellent cross to Hobbs who shot home from around 10 yards. The injection of pace and width saw Parkway now in control and on 67 mins a great run and shot by Smith was well saved followed shortly by Smith setting up Macauley who shot just wide when well placed. Ivybridge continued to pose the occasional threat and at 2-1 you remain vulnerable.
The lead was increased on 80 mins when a strong mazy run through midfield by Mikey Williams saw him evade numerous tackles and find Macauley wide on the right. Again he showed pace and perception, opening up the defence by squaring the ball to Hobbs who rifled his shot home from around 12 yards. Smith then completed the scoring 5 mins later when a through ball found him in the clear and he calmly lifted his shot over the advancing keeper. If ever a game turned on the introduction of substitutes this was it, as up to that point it could have gone either way with Ivybridge matching Parkway all the way and all credit to them for giving Parkway arguably one of their toughest games of the season. However it was the quality from the bench and the tactical change that made all the difference. Unusually it was a substitute that was awarded man of the match with Macauley taking the plaudits for his 30 min contribution!
The win sees Parkway remain in 2nd spot just a point behind Argyle Reserves but still with 3 games in hand.
The action continues at Stadio Bolitho this Saturday when Galmpton and Roseland (that’s one team not two!) of the East Division visit in the 2nd round of the Walter Parson League Cup. Dont forget folks it’s a 2.30 ko.