Pompey new boy lifts lid on Plymouth’s title pain

Matty Kennedy taking on Rotherham at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matty Kennedy taking on Rotherham at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler
Niko Kranjcar. Picture: Joe Gidden/ PA Images

On this day: Adams fears Pompey ace is heading for burn-out

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FRATTON PARK was exultant as it bathed in the afterglow of title glory.

Supporters swarmed the famous surface and got the disbelieving party started: Pompey had won League Two after being top for 34 minutes all season.

Matty Kennedy celebrates after Jake Jervis scored for Plymouth against Pompey at Fratton Park in April. Picture: Joe Pepler

Matty Kennedy celebrates after Jake Jervis scored for Plymouth against Pompey at Fratton Park in April. Picture: Joe Pepler

Meanwhile, 259 miles away, rivals Plymouth were shattered as their own expectations of winning the division came crashing down at Blundell Park.

The Pilgrims’ 1-1 draw with Grimsby meant they let the crown slip from their grasp in Cleethorpes.

New boy Matty Kennedy was part of the Plymouth side who came up short on May 6, allowing Paul Cook’s side to triumph on goal difference.

And while the city partied, the loanee gave an insight into what it felt like for Derek Adams’ side that afternoon.

Matty Kennedy battles with former Pompey man Ben Davies back in May

Matty Kennedy battles with former Pompey man Ben Davies back in May

‘We needed a win in the last game against Grimsby,’ Kennedy reflected, after sealing a season-long Pompey stay.

‘No disrespect to Grimsby but we should have been winning that game.

‘We came off the pitch gutted and thinking Doncaster had won it.

‘When we heard Portsmouth had won we couldn’t believe it and were thinking what’s going on here!

‘But fair play, Portsmouth kept going, got the victory and deserved to take the title.

‘In the changing rooms after it was low.

‘It doesn’t matter really who wins the league. Obviously, if it isn’t you you’re going to be devastated.

‘It didn’t really matter whether it was Doncaster or Portsmouth.

‘We gave it our all but Portsmouth deserved to win the league.

‘Portsmouth were the better team against us when it was 1-1.

‘The club fully deserved it, but both clubs went up in the end and we’re both in League One, so everyone was happy.’

A 17-game stay at Plymouth last term included an outing at Fratton Park back in April. The 1-1 draw meant the visitors’ promotion party was put on ice, but the occasion left an impression on Kennedy.

He said: ‘I knew Portsmouth was a big club with a big fan base, but I didn’t realise what it was like until I came here last season.

‘The game finished 1-1 and it’s one of the games I’ve enjoyed most. As soon as I heard about the interest I thought why not come here and play in it every week?

‘With the fans I just feel we can get on top of whoever comes here. They can make the difference and be a big part of what we do.’

After making his deadline day move to Pompey, there was one fixture quickly on Kennedy’s radar.

Plymouth’s visit to Fratton Park on November 25 is an occasion the 22-year-old is looking forward to.

And the build-up to that match has already started for the Cardiff man.

Kennedy said: ‘It’s funny I’m here now and we’re playing them in a few weeks.

‘Gary Miller is there and I class him as one of my best mates now in or out of football. He’s the right-back and I’m left wing so that could be lively!

‘I phoned him on Saturday night to tell him I was here and on the bench.

‘I know for a fact if I’m up against him he’ll be talking to me the whole game and trying to put me off! He’s a funny guy and it’ll be mad if I do go up against him.’