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Match Previews

🔎 The Opposition: Portsmouth (H)

Lowdown on Pompey

6 January 2022

It’s Papa John’s Trophy second round action on Tuesday night, with Exeter City hosting Portsmouth with a chance to face Cambridge in Round Three.

Before the game, here’s a lowdown on Pompey…

  • Founded: 1898
  • Nicknames: Pompey
  • Honours: League Champions (1948/49, 49/50), First Division (2002/03), Third Division (1923/24, 1961/62, 1982/83), League Two (2016/17) FA Cup (1939, 2008), EFL Trophy (2019)
  • Home Kit: NIKE blue shirts, white shorts, red socks
  • Away Kit: NIKE White shirt with burgundy and black sleeves, black shorts and white socks.
  • Form: WWLDW (8th in League One)

At a meeting held in his High Street offices in 1898, solicitor Alderman J.E. Pink agreed to buy some ground near Goldsmith Avenue for around £5,000. This ground would be redeveloped into Fratton Park in record quick time so a team of professionals managed by Frank Brettell could join the Southern League.

Taking the local nickname for the city as their own, Pompey are the only English league club not officially on the mainland of the British Isles as the ground is on Portsea Island. Being by the sea, Portsmouth is Britain’s most famous naval-base, and one of three in the country. The home port to the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, the port is the city’s largest economic boost.

For the successful football club, Pompey have twice been FA Cup winners and twice league champions too. The latest of the triumphs coming in 2008 when Kanu netted against Cardiff City at the new Wembley. In recent years, financial issues pushed Portsmouth to the depths of the Football League, but promotion as title winners in 2016/17 got them out of League Two, though the Blues have struggled to make the push back into the Championship.

Under new ownership and chimed on by their iconic supporter’s base, Pompey won the Papa John’s Trophy in 2019, and reached the final a year later too. So the Hampshire side never take the EFL Trophy easy.   

Manager

Danny Cowley

League One manager of the month for November, Danny Cowley has continued his managerial success in his latest role at Fratton Park. Growing up in London as a West Ham supporter, Cowley never breached the Football League pyramid as a player, but alongside his brother Nicky have made one of the more revered managerial duos in the country.

Cowleys.jpg

The Cowley brothers shot into the limelight whilst at Lincoln City, guiding the Imps back into the League and then to promotion from League Two as champions in 2019. In a bitter blow to the Sincil Bank club, Cowley got headhunted by Championship Huddersfield Town the same summer though only stayed for the solitary season.

Offered the job on the South Coast in March, Danny and Nicky joined Portsmouth with the omninous task of shifting the 2008 FA Cup Winners back to “where they belong”.

Stadium

  • Name: Fratton Park
  • Capacity: 18,948
  • Year opened: 1898
  • Record Attendance: 51,285 (v Derby County, FA Cup 6th Round, 1949)
  • Address: Fratton Park, Frogmore Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO4 8RA

The iconic South West stadium, the bells of Hampshire ring around the 18,000 capacity Fratton Park. Opened just three moths after the formation of the club, the Park sits in the suburb of Milton with the first game played being a 2-0 win over rivals Southampton.

Fratton Park.JPG

The ground used to ‘comfortably’ hold 58,000 fans with the record attendance being 51k in 1949 but with the introduction of all-seater stadia, the club were forced to severely reduced this.   

‘The Old Girl’ is going through major redevelopments over the next four seasons with work on the North Lower stand currently in development. 

One To Watch

Marcuss Harness

With five goals in his last 10 games, Marcus Harness has hit a purple patch this season as he leads the scoring charts for Pompey. He joined the Blues in 2019 on a three year deal and scored the first equaliser in the infamous 2020 semi-final.

Harness.JPG

The 25-year-old began his career at Burton Albion making his debut in this competition in 2013. Loans to Ilkeston, Aldershot and Port Vale made up most of his time at the Pirelli Stadium before hopping to Portsea Island six years later.   

Head to Head

Unsurprisingly it’s the blue corner which boasts the most victories but City can take heart knowing some recent victories over Pompey may prove inspiration on Friday night. The two teams have met twice in the EFL Trophy with one win apiece.

Exeter City wins: 6

Draws: 7

Portsmouth wins: 14

Recent encounters

Portsmouth 3 Exeter City 2 | EFL Trophy semi-final | Fratton Park | February 18, 2020

Stoppage time heartbreak for the young City side, as John Marquis netted deep into additional injury time.

Portsmouth 0 Exeter City 1 | League Two | Fratton Park | January 28, 2017

David Wheeler’s strike proved the difference as City picked up three points on the road

Exeter City 0 Portsmouth 1 | League Two | St James Park | August 27, 2016

Pompey came out on top on their last visit to SJP.

And Finally...

Twice manager of Portsmouth, Alan Ball is also a name widely received in Exeter as the England World Cup winner took charge at SJP in the mid-90’s. The Blackpool and Everton midfielder first took to the Fratton Park touchline in 1984-89, was at City between ‘91-94 before retiring at Pompey in 1999.

 


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