Portsmouth's first new league ground in three years - and didn't AFC Wimbledon's previous home have dreadful memories

For the first time in more than three years, Pompey will venture to a new Football League ground.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th April 2021, 1:10 pm
Rochdale's Jake Beesley celebrates scoring against AFC Wimbledon at Plough Lane on Tuesday night. Now Pompey are heading to the new ground. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Although sadly none of the Fratton faithful will be able to join the players in exploring such unfamiliar territory.

Danny Cowley’s men head to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday for their final away fixture of the League One season as they seek play-off qualification.

In the process, they’ll be turning out at the newly-formed Plough Lane for the first time in Pompey history.

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Constructed upon the site of the defunct Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium, just 250 yards from the original Plough Lane, Wimbledon’s new home opened in November 2020.

Since that 2-2 draw with Doncaster, the Wombles have lost nine of 18 home fixtures in all competitions, although presently remain unbeaten in four there.

Now it’s Pompey’s turn to visit south-west London, signalling a maiden new ground in league action since Rotherham.

Under Kenny Jackett, the Blues debuted at the New York Stadium in January 2018, suffering a 1-0 loss in the process.

Former loanee Joe Mattock grabbed a last-gasp winner in Jackett’s maiden League One season which would finish in eighth place.

Since then, there have been trips to Maidenhead (November 2018) and Harrogate Town (November 2019) for the first time in the club’s history.

However, those matches against non-league opposition arrived in the FA Cup first round rather than Football League competition.

Incidentally, until moving into their Plough Lane home, Wimbledon played at Kingsmeadow.

Pompey first visited the Cherry Red Records Stadium in November 2013 under Guy Whittingham, suffering a 4-0 embarrassment.

The Blues would go on to lose three of their six fixtures at the compact ground, during a fair few unhappy visits.

The most recent occasion was in October 2019, when Terell Thomas’ stoppage-time header inflicted a 1-0 defeat in League One.

Manager Jackett could not fail to hear the thoughts from Pompey fans situated behind the away dug-out, while there were noisy chants for his dismissal as he made his way off the pitch at the final whistle.

Now it’s a new ground and a fresh start. Let’s hope Danny Cowley quickly settles in.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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