Pompey not alone in Checkatrade Trophy snub

Pompey had their lowest post-war attendance at Fratton Park and empty grounds across the country reflected the feelings towards the Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey had their lowest post-war attendance at Fratton Park and empty grounds across the country reflected the feelings towards the Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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FRATTON PARK was the setting for a new attendance low, but others have also attracted club-record entries courtesy of the Checkatrade Trophy.

There were 1,355 who turned up for the visit of Reading Under-23s on Tuesday night, representing the club’s smallest post-war crowd on home soil.

It was also a drop of 92 per cent from the 16,950 attendance against Doncaster on Saturday.

Yet the Fratton faithful were not alone in their boycott of the much-maligned competition.

Established rivals Swindon and Oxford United were pitched against each other for a fixture traditionally relished by their respective supporters.

Admittedly, the turn-out of 2,698 was the highest of all Checkatrade Trophy matches played on Tuesday night.

However, it was also the lowest-ever gate for what is often a passionately-supported derby.

Staying in League One, Port Vale were watched by only 1,025, with 61 coming from opponents Mansfield.

That tally now represents the second-lowest attendance in the club’s history.

Another record was established at Grimsby, despite the visit of Premier League champions Leicester City with their under-23 side.

A crowd of 609 turned up for the grand occasion, a record low for Grimsby in a cup competition.

As for Leicester, it appears only 27 followers were willing to travel to watch their next generation of stars.

It again illustrates how supporters of Premier League clubs are failing to embrace a competition they have this season signed up for.

Everton were accompanied by 110 fans for their trip to Cheltenham, with a total crowd of 1,023.

Newly-promoted Middlesbrough were presented with a long trek to Cambridge United, an arduous journey undertaken by 27 supporters.

Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion’s under-23s suffered an embarrassing 2-0 defeat at League Two outfit Luton.

Fortunately, only 89 Baggies followers were there to endure the agony amid a crowd of 1,441.

The lowest attendance of the evening was established at Barnet, where 457 turned up to watch the visit Norwich under-23s.

At the other end of the scale, Sheffield United were second highest with 2,619 against Walsall.

As for Pompey, their attendance was the 12th-best on the evening – yet still made club history.