Frosty Fratton…. Portsmouth FC v Cheltenham Town


Welcome back to another midweek groundhopping blog, and this week we were back in the Football League for the cracker between Portsmouth and Cheltenham.

I have been to Fratton Park before, a few times actually, but I was excited to go back as this was to be my first trip while properly groundhopping, and to be fair I was excited most of Tuesday!

As soon as I finished work, my friend picked me up and we made our way down the A3 to Portsmouth, and we made pretty good time, arriving about an hour before kick off, which meant only one thing….

We absolutely scranned a McDonalds down and then descended onto the ground ready for what we hoped would be a game to warm us up on a very chilly evening.

What a sight!

I can’t say we were overly hopeful of this being the case though, as both sides sat mid table prior to kick off, and neither of them could boast particularly impressive form going into the game.

After a quick pint, we found our seats, and we actually got in just as the players were coming out so we wasted no time in the lead up to the game!

Despite our prematch reservations about the excitement that this game may bring us, it actually got off to a very lively start. Cheltenham were on the front foot for the opening exchanges, and after just six minutes they took the lead.

After a long throw in was defended poorly by the hosts, Lewis Freestone was on hand to supply a cool finish to give his side the advantage.

This goal only gave Cheltenham more confidence as they were winning their battles all over the pitch and dominating proceedings.

Good view of the first half

However Pompey did begin to grow into the game and ended up finding their leveller after half an hour, as Reeco Hackett-Fairchild scored a slightly odd goal. After the ball found its way to the winger, he had four or five Cheltenham players between him and the goal, but no goalkeeper. He produced a finish that sort of looped into the goal, and half of the home support had no idea it went in!

Nonetheless Portsmouth were level, and the game was fully in the balance.

Cheltenham could quite easily have found themselves back in front straight after though, but Kyle Vassell missed a golden opportunity from inside the six yard box. Fratton park was awash with disbelief as the striker put the ball wide, and of course he copped a lot for this!

Half time came and went, and to be honest after the break, the game turned into a typical Football League affair.

There was a real lack of quality throughout the second half, which to be fair was dominated by Portsmouth, but they couldn’t quite get their winner.

Portsmouth pushed and pushed but with no luck

There were flashes of quality from the home side, notably from their wingers, but they lacked any real end product and the home crowd seemed frustrated for much of the second half.

The final whistle soon came, and almost every fan in the ground headed for the exit as soon as the referee put his lips to his whistle, probably a damning indictment on the quality of the second half more than anything…

So we made our way back up the A3 and had a quick reflection on what we described as a “thoroughly forgettable game”, maybe why it’s taken me a few days to get the motivation to blog about it!

It was really good to get back down to Fratton Park though, it’s a great Football League ground steeped in history and Portsmouth as a club are pretty hard to dislike.

Thanks for reading!

  • GROUND: Fratton Park
  • GAME: Portsmouth 1-1 Cheltenham Town
  • COMPETITION: League One
  • GROUND NUMBER: 94 (reticle)
  • TICKET PRICE: Free (season ticket borrowed)
  • DAYS SINCE LAST 0-0: 987

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