AARON Parkinson celebrated the recent birth of his first child and the belated passing of his driving test by scoring Daventry Town’s winner in the top-of-the-table clash with Arlesey at the Armadillo Stadium on Saturday.
Baby boy Oscar weighed in at 7lb 5oz but central defender “Parky” reckoned that the biggest shock of the week came when he got forward far enough to score the only goal against Arlesey!
The ensuing three points and shock 3-0 defeat for Central Division leaders Hitchin at Ashford were an added boost for Ady Fuller’s men coming hard on the heels of confirmation that the Town will have six points deducted for allowing Tom Berwick’s loan signing to run out temporarily in December.
An upshot of all this is that the Division One title race now looks set to become a nail-biting three-way fight between Daventry, Hitchin and Arlesey who are due to clash again in the last match of the season.
Elated Daventry manager Fuller said: “The first-half at Arlesey was like a game of chess with both teams reluctant to make a decisive move. There is little doubt though that we were the better side after the break and thoroughly deserved our win.”
The Town brought back Parkinson (thank goodness!) after his one-match ban and, with Tom Bates absent through injury, preferred Marlow match winner Josh Blake to Ryan Howell in midfield.
Tension got the better of both teams in the first-half when the visitors struggled to get to grips with a big Arlesey defence playing in front of goalkeeper Richard Hayward who totally dominated his penalty area.
Man of the match Howard Forinton and Tom Berwick both had half chances to break the deadlock but Arlesey thought they had scored through a header from Chris Marsh on the stroke of half-time.
The referee was all set to allow the goal to stand but a resolute linesman kept up his flag and appeared to indicate obstruction on Daventry goalkeeper Andy Kemp rather than offside.
If the first-half was even-stephens the second period saw the Town start like a rocket despite Martin Hutchcox having to make a goal-line headed clearance before Parkinson scored the all-important goal.
A Blake chip was expertly guided home by the advancing central defender (just what was he doing inside the opposing goal area?) to give Daventry the lead in a nerve-racking contest which brought yellow cards for the competent Simeon Williams, Hutchcox, Berwick and O’Grady.
O’Grady might easily have been judged to be the last defender when committing a foul in the 70th minute but the card was yellow not red and nothing should be allowed to detract from this Daventry Town performance.
An attendance of 161 encouragingly included about 50 travelling supporters from Daventry.