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FT: Plymouth Parkway 2 (Williams 12, Phillips 28)
Helston Athletic 0
Due to having a slightly depleted squad, including the leagues top scorer Glyn Hobbs being ruled out with an injury, Parkway made 3 changes to their starting line up from last Saturday’s FA Vase victory. Kick off was delayed by 30 minutes as the Helston team coach broke down enroute. Both sides lined up in a 4 5 1 formation as Helston almost took an early lead. On 2 minutes, a long kick from their keeper caused confusion between Parkway keeper Kyle Moore and Aaron Bentley which saw a Helston player get between them only to see his effort superbly hooked off the line from under the bar by the alert, quick covering Nick Milton. A let off. A congested midfield saw both sides trying to gain the initiative with Parkway looking the more positive. They took the lead on 12 minutes with an exquisite passing movement down the left. In a move started in his own half by Mikey Williams, he exchanged quick give and go passes with Christian Pople and Ethan Phillips, continued his run into the 6 yard box and prodded home at the near post. A superb goal. Parkway continued to look the more dangerous going forward with Luke Durham and Connor Macauley prominent down the flanks. Helston were proving to be combative and robust opponents with Parkway dominating possession as they probed an opening. This duly came on 28 minutes when the Helston keeper surprisingly charged out of his area in an attempt to clear a long ball, got in a muddle with his hesitant defender allowing the persistent Phillips to steal the ball and go on and curl a sweet shot into the unguarded net from around 15 yards. Helston continued to compete strongly in trying to stop Parkway playing their passing game and had an effort of their own well saved on 34 minutes. Shane Krac then scuffed a shot just wide on the turn after good play down the right. Helston seemed content to contain and play on the break. Durham and Macauley continued to cause problems in the wide areas as Helston defended strongly. The second half started with Parkway on the front foot, hitting a post from a narrow angle on 49 minutes after the keeper had been rounded. Helston continued to work hard and press in midfield denying Parkway time and space to create too much. Pople continually chased and harried all over the pitch, breaking up play and pressurising the ball with Krac and Ben Joyce seeing less of the ball as Helston came more into the game. When Parkway did get into the final third, their final ball lacked the quality or precision to penetrate the Helston defence, which included the son of former Irish international and World Cup participant, the widely travelled Paul McGrath. Ryan Lane replaced Krac on the hour as Helston continued to be physical, press quickly and spoil. Macauley shot wide on 75 minutes before Helston had a period of dominance putting the Parkway defence under considerable pressure which they withstood well. Moore dealt comfortably with a series of shots and crosses, although a Helston header zipped narrowly wide on 79 minutes. Parkway made their 2nd and final substitution on 80 minutes when Mason Hughes replaced Macauley. Helston continued to look comfortable at the back when Parkway attacked and also looked strong going forward, having a couple of efforts blocked on the line and looked capable of snatching a goal at the death. Parkway arguably ended up hanging on to their lead as they completed their 14th consecutive league victory, their 19th in all competitions.
Not pretty but a gutsy, ground out performance from Parkway. Not many will have been harder earned than this one against a determined, tough, well organised, uncompromising Helston outfit. Parkway are now 5 points clear at the top of the league after 2nd placed Plymouth Argyle reserves were surprisingly beaten 2 1 on Friday night by Ivybridge Town. Tavistock lurk dangerously in 3rd place having only dropped 2 points all season and have 3 games in hand. Parkway now face the leagues bottom 2 sides in the next 6 days starting on Tuesday when Witheridge visit Stadio Bolitho and then trek up to North Cornwall on Friday evening to take on Camelford. They also now know who they will entertain in the 2nd round of the FA Vase on 11 November as old foes Bodmin Town edged past Swanage 2 1 today. Hold tight, should be a cracker!