The moment the fixture computer hammered home Pompey’s fate

Pompey had a host of internationals in their ranks when they last faced Plymouth in the FA Cup in January 2008, including, from left, Sylvain Distin, Niko Kranjcar, Pedro Mendes, Hermann Hreodarsson and goalscorer Lassana Diarra
Pompey had a host of internationals in their ranks when they last faced Plymouth in the FA Cup in January 2008, including, from left, Sylvain Distin, Niko Kranjcar, Pedro Mendes, Hermann Hreodarsson and goalscorer Lassana Diarra
Carl Baker was left out of yesterday's match squad

Baker’s Pompey future set to be decided

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It provided the clattering moment of realisation.

Not so much an apple falling off the tree on to Pompey fans’ heads but a wrecking ball.

There had been much anticipation in the build-up to yesterday’s grand fixture unveiling, a genuine murmur of excitement.

A fresh start under new ownership, the re-invigorated Blues face a fascinating adventure in the season ahead.

Then came the dawning – it’s League Two.

Pompey now inhabit a footballing environment with Morecambe, Fleetwood, Burton and Accrington.

Barely a few years ago it was Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Nowadays, there’s a Boxing Day clash with Dagenham & Redbridge, a New Year’s Day fixture at Southend.

In March there is a trip to Newport County and in September York’s Bootham Crescent beckons.

Not overlooking, of course, a mid-week trip to Rochdale on Tuesday, March 25.

The campaign reaches its conclusion on May 3 with the visit of Plymouth to Fratton.

The last time the sides met on the south coast was in the FA Cup during the 2007-08 campaign.

Niko Kranjcar and Lassana Diarra were the scorers on that January 26, 2008, fourth-round 2-1 occasion.

Pompey went on to lift the famous old trophy at Wembley that year.

Not that the opposition this season should be belittled, nor their credentials called into question.

This is what three relegations in four seasons have brought the Blues – they can have no complaints on that front.

If your side lacks the playing quality to stay up, then it deserves to fall through the trap door.

And here we are, League Two, with a whole host of new venues to explore and some nostalgic former haunts to revisit.

Whether it is ticking them off or invoking previous brushes in lower division football, it will be memorable.

For Pompey fans there is no shame in occupying the bottom division, with impressive early season ticket sales reflecting that.

And the fixtures bring with them plenty of new experiences to be had.

The season begins with the visit of Oxford on August 3 – a club forever linked with Alan Biley and Father Christmas.

Then it is a trip to Accrington (August 10), followed by Morecambe coming to Fratton Park (August 17).

Interestingly, there are just two midweek league games before Boxing Day – both at home.

Certainly in stark contrast to last season when there were six over the same period – in addition to cup matches.

The festive period sees four games in 10 days, although three of those are at home in the form of Dagenham (December 26), Northampton (December 29) and Accrington (January 4).

At Easter, there is a home clash with Bristol Rovers (April 19) and on the Monday a trip to Northampton (April 21).

A variety of fresh grounds to visit for fans who are just happy to still have a club of their own.