Plymouth Parkway v Tiverton Town
Pitching In Southern League, Premier Division South
Tuesday, December 26, 2023
HAVING won four consecutive league games, Plymouth Parkway will go into the Boxing Day clash against the Yellows with obvious momentum. Just like Saturday's encounter against Beaconsfield, Tiverton will be taking part in another six-pointer, and, results pending, the New Year's Day match when Yellows host Dorchester could be the third one in a row.
Manager Leigh Robinson will be all too aware of his Devon rivals’ rich vein of form and how significant the outcome of this game could be. His side has displayed good quality and an admirable work ethic in the short time he has been Tivvy manager.
His opposite number in Plymouth, Lee Hobbs, seems to have got through the worst as his team found themselves lingering in the relegation places until recently. Their form of late indicates they have turned a corner and not only have they moved up to 14th place, but they also have games in hand on many of their closest rivals. Sitting a place above Tiverton, only goal difference separates the two sides. However, with four games in hand, Tivvy will be keen to get a positive result at Bolitho Park.
I am sure many will recall the game earlier in the season, which could easily have been dubbed ‘The Garside Derby’, brothers Carlo (Tiverton) and Rio (Parkway) playing on opposing sides and contributing three of the four goals in a pulsating 2-2 draw.
A Rio brace gave Parkway a deserved 2-0 lead. Then, with the visitors in the ascendancy, Ryan Lane received a second yellow card and Jack Crago was also dismissed. It took a long time for the Yellows to break the nine men’s resistance before two late goals, from Carlo and Cameron Salmon, gave Town a share of the spoils.
There are many ties to Parkway’s Bolitho Park for the Tiverton squad. River Allen and Carlo Garside have both played for Parkway, and former Truro players Jamie Richards, Niall Thompson and Jack Rice are familiar with the home dressing room, with the White Tigers ground-sharing with Parkway.
No fewer than seven of Tivvy’s hosts’ squad have worn Yellow: six have turned out competitively - defender Toby Down; midfielders Callum Hall, Tom Purrington and Mikey Williams; and attackers Matt Wright and Jack Crago – while Rio Garside trialled in a pre-season game. An eighth, Joe Belsten, is on loan with Barnstaple at the moment.
The capture of Shane White from Truro a short way into the campaign seems to have been a shrewd signing. The Plymouth side have continued to improve since the arrival of a notable performer at this level with the White Tigers and Taunton. The return of goalkeeper Adam Parkes on a permanent basis from Plymouth Argyle appears to also have been instrumental in Parkway’s upturn in form.
Robinson will be reunited with White, Matt Wright and Toby Down who all played for him at Taunton. In spite of that, there will be no room for sentiment as soon as the first whistle sounds. Robinson will have Richards available again following suspension and will be hoping to have Allen in his starting line up, too.
Parkway won on the road 2-0 against Hendon on Saturday, as Tiverton once again showed their resilience in coming back from being 2-0 in arrears to draw their home game with Beaconsfield. Both teams are good footballing sides. However, on a heavy surface, that may be difficult to demonstrate.
This promises to be an intriguing match-up in which win for either side could put a bit of daylight between them and other lower table teams.