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FT: Plymouth Parkway 6 (Hobbs 2, Smith 14, Williams 20, Phillips 78, 90+3, Krac 84) Sandhurst Town 1 (6)
Parkway entertained fellow step 6 side Sandhurst Town of the Hellenic Leage Div 1 East in the FA Vase 1st round proper. The proximity of storm Brian and the impending poor forecast resulted in 2 pitch inspections at 0700 and 1100 which it survived. With hardly any other games on locally, the game attracted a decent sized crowd in pretty miserable conditons. Parkway made 1 change from Tuesday’s victory at Callington and got off to their now customary flying start. On 2 mins a harmless looking long ball saw a misunderstanding between the Sandhurst keeper and a defender allowing the ever alert and top scorer Glyn Hobbs to muscle in and calmly finish into an empty net. Playing with a strong wind behind them Sandhurst soon equalised. On 6 mins another long ball in behind the Parkway defence caught them flat footed and the Sandhurst player finished smartly from just outside the box, with Kyle Moore slipping on the skiddy surface as he came out to narrow the angle. Parkway then had a period of pressure and regained the lead on 14 mins. A free kick was cleared to Mikey Williams who beat a couple of players before crossing to the far post where the unmarked Mike Smith looped a header back across the goal and into the net. Ryan Lane then had an excellent chance but shot wide when well placed. Sandhurst battled hard but the Parkway back 4 coped well with their occasional attacks. Parkway went further ahead on 20 mins when a cross from the right saw Williams climb above a crowd of players to head home at the far post. On 23 mins Hobbs had to leave the field with an injury to be replaced by Ethan Phillips. Parkway were generally in control with Ben Joyce dominant in midfield rarely wasting or losing the ball and Christian Pople and Lane constantly in the action winning tackles and breaking up play all over the park. Sandhurst invariably wasted what little possession they had by over hitting their long passes allowing the Parkway defence to comfortably contain any threat. Sandhurst almost pulled one back on the cusp of half time with a free kick which fizzed narowly wide. In worsening conditions at the start of the second half Parkway, now with the increasingly strong wind at their backs, continued to dominate with their impressive passing and movement constantly causing Sandhurst problems. Lane was replaced on 58 mins by the returning Shane Krac playing his first game back from an injury he sustained on 15 August. Sandhurst then had a 10 min period in the ascendency when they managed to get more players forward and on 62 mins Moore made a smart save low to his right. Parkway then regained the initiative with Krac having a header well saved on 67 mins and Phillips firing in a low cross which was narrowly missed by attackers and defenders alike. Krac then had a good effort well saved after being set up by Smith. Parkway made their final substitute on 76 mins when Connor Macauley replaced the, yet again, hard working Smith. On 78 mins Parkway got their 4th when Phiilips picked up a fine through ball from Macauley, cut in from the right, beat a defender with a couple of stepovers and curled a wicked left footed shot into the far corner. With the rain continuing to fall, Parkway continued to pour (excuse the pun) forward and good work by Williams on the left saw him pull the ball back to Krac who finished with a crisp, low shot from around 18 yards. On 85 mins a Parkway free kick was somehow cleared off the line and in stoppage time they rounded off a very convincing win when an excellent close range exchange of passes between Joyce and Krac just outside the box released Phillips who finished smartly from around 12 yards. Yet another very good all round performance in testing conditions to complete 18 consecutive wins in all competitions and put them in the hat or bag or whatever for Monday’s draw. Only 7 more games (excluding replays) to Wembley! A word for today’s referee who I thought officiated sensibly and unfussily in difficult condtions by trying to let the game flow and only producing the occasional yellow card when absolutely necessary. None of the above would have been possible without the herculean efforts of the groundsman and all round bon oeuf Garry Turner who performed miracles to prepare and keep the pitch playable in the shadow of storm Brian. By a unanimous vote he was quite rightly awarded Man of the Match. Well done Gaz and good luck in repairing the pitch ready for next Saturday’s visit of Helston!! There you go, Parkway’s winning run continues and the best efforts of Brian couldn’t defeat them either!!