Portsmouth Women looking at playing home games outside the city again in bid to overcome pitch problems

Portsmouth Women are facing the prospect of having to go outside the city once again in order to play home games.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 12:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:39 am
Portsmouth Women in action at the PMC Stadium against Gillingham back in September. Picture by Jordan Hampton.

Prior to last season, the team had no permanent base - having to play ‘home’ games at places such as Bognor, Littlehampton, Gosport and Havant.

But a deal was then struck with Baffins Milton Rovers for Portsmouth to share the Wessex League club’s PMC Stadium pitch and facilities.

However, the horrendous wet weather of recent months has led to a huge fixture pile-up for both teams.

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Portsmouth Women manager Jay Sadler manager. Picture: Jordan Hampton

Baffins have staged just seven of their 19 home league games in 2019/20 - only managing one game since late October due to drainage problems with their pitch.

In addition, Portsmouth have only played three of their 11 home FA National Women’s Southern Premier League games.

Their last home league game took place on September 22.

Remarkably, Portsmouth have managed to play just seven of their 22 league games.

Between them, the two teams therefore have 20 home league matches left.

In all, Baffins have 21 league games to shoehorn into the final 15 weeks of the Wessex season.

They could also have a maximum seven cup ties left as they are still in the Wessex League Cup and the Portsmouth Senior Cup.

Portsmouth Women are also still in three cups - the National League Cup, the Hampshire Senior Cup and the Portsmouth Senior Cup.

They were due to host Winchester in the semi finals of the county cup tonight, but to no-one’s surprise that has been called off - the team’s sixth home game of 2019/20 to be postponed due to bad weather.

While Baffins’ league season is scheduled to end at the end of April, Portsmouth can carry on playing league games until mid-May.

‘We’re reluctant to go elsewhere and play because we’ve got a partnership with Baffins,’ said Pompey boss Jay Sadler.

‘But it’s got to the stage where we’re not going to fit all those games into the last few months of the season.

‘Baffins’ games will rightfully take priority, so we’re going to have to look elsewhere - the question is, where?

‘We need to find somewhere that suits the criteria of our league - hoardings, proper dugouts, changing rooms so far away from the pitch.

‘We’ve looked at the 3G pitches in Portsmouth but most are attached to schools and colleges.

‘We contacted Alton as they have a 3G pitch, but it’s fully booked.

‘We don’t want to go to the new 3G pitch at Stoneham Lane as it’s in an SO postcode area, and Winklebury (near Basingstoke) is an absolute mission to get to.

‘We enjoy it at Baffins - the people there are great and so are the facilities.

‘We want to create a home base and a fanbase after so many years playing at places like Bognor, Littlehampton and Gosport.

‘We asked the Hampshire FA if we could play our county cup game at Furze Lane, as that’s where we train. But their criteria is the same as our league, so we can’t play there.

‘It’s got to the stage where you just have to laugh. It’s just so frustrating - we’ve had 52 fixture changes this season and it’s only January.

‘It’s absolutely impossible to get any momentum or consistency.’