Ex-Cowplain School pupil gunning for beloved Portsmouth in the name of Accrington Stanley

A former Cowplain School pupil and childhood Pompey fan is bidding to wreck the Blues’ remarkable defensive record.

Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 3:10 pm
Pompey fan Matt Butcher, who comes from Denmead, has started all 22 of Accrington's matches this season. Picture: Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Kenny Jackett’s side head to Accrington on Saturday on the back of 476 minutes without conceding, the club’s best run for almost a decade.

However, they will encounter a Stanley side consisting of one of their own – Matt Butcher.

The 23-year-old has been an ever-present in Accrington’s midfield this season since joining from Bournemouth in August.

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Hailing from Denmead, he has started all 22 of the club’s fixtures, failing to complete 90 minutes just twice.

It has been an impressive beginning to life with John Coleman’s men for Butcher, whose progress with the Cherries had been hampered by two lengthy injury lay-offs.

Accrington obliged, signing him on a two-year deal and immediately backing him with the regular first-team football he craved.

Matt Butcher spent a decade at Bournemouth, making two appearances after coming through the ranks. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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Yet Butcher grew up a Pompey fan, once wearing the name of his hero and fellow left-footer Matt Taylor on his replica Blues shirt.

He was once handed a six-week trial at Fratton Park, in the same age group as Conor Chaplin, yet was rejected.

It would be Bournemouth where his football career began, joining at the age of 13 and then professionally at the end of five years at Cowplain School.

Butcher would progress into Eddie Howe’s first-team as an 18-year-old, appearing as a substitute in the Capital One Cup against Hartlepool in August 2015.

A second – and final – outing was handed to him with an FA Cup start in a 2-1 win at Birmingham in January 2016.

The former Wimbledon Park Tigers player also featured in a loan appearance for Gosport in February 2015, followed by spells at Woking, Yeovil and St Johnstone.

Now he’s an Accrington player – and will face Pompey on Saturday.

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