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Fratton Park
Portsmouth v  Notts County
  FA Cup 1st Round
Saturday November 3rd
2012, 3pm
James Spring
(Notts County fan)

1. Why were you looking forward to visiting the ground (Or not as the case may be)?

I’ve heard nothing but good things about a trip to Fratton Park, so it’s a ground I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. However it was only this season that the opportunity arose to see Notts County play there in League One, but we ended up drawing them away in the FA Cup 1st round, and being a Weymouth based Notts County fan; I couldn’t resist an earlier than expected trip to the old ground.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

We caught a train from Upwey Station, switched at Southampton Central, and arrived at Fratton Station just after half 12. There’s a footbridge over the station which brings you out onto Goldsmith Avenue. To get to the ground, turn left until you reach the roundabout at Hazel Court (You’ll see the Pompey club shop in one corner). If you turn left at the roundabout onto Fratton Way you can get to the ground that way, this brings you to the Fratton End and the ticket office. There’s also a KFC and McDonalds on this road. To get to the away end straight away go straight across that roundabout and go left when you reach Apsley Road. The Milton End is no more than a five minute walk down there.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy...home fans friendly?

Brought a match day programme for £3 (66 pages, decent quality - there are sellers all around the ground, even near Fratton Station!) before going for a pre match meal at the McDonalds on Fratton Way. We then walked across to the Fratton End of the ground to welcome the team coach. Most of the home fans we came across were very friendly and chatty.

If you want to see the Tudor Facade and are at the Fratton End of the ground you’ll see a sign on a wall saying ‘Frogmore Road Ticket Office’. Head down the alley to the right side of that and it brings you out right in front of the facade. To get to the away end from there head down Carisbrooke Road and turn left onto Specks Lane.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end and other sides of the ground?

The ground is just as old fashioned and as full of character as I thought it would be. The four tall floodlights are visible from Fratton Station and that, for me – always signals a ‘proper’ football ground. The away end is a bit tight in terms of legroom but the view I had was better than expected, even stood right in the back row. There are a few supporting pillars at the front of the stand which do seem to impede your view at times no matter where you sit.

To the right of the Milton End is the North Stand – an old fashioned but large stand. You can tell the front part used to be terracing. Opposite you is the Fratton End where the wonderful atmosphere the Pompey fans create comes from and to the left is the South Stand – probably the oldest looking stand at the ground. None of the stands seem to match but it doesn’t seem to matter at Fratton Park – it’s a ground steeped in history and full of character. I loved it.

5. Comment on the game itself, stewards, atmosphere, pies, facilities etc..

The first half was somehow an entertaining affair with little goal-mouth action until Francois Zoko headed Notts into the lead just as the board went up for one minute of added time. The second half began with Pompey – as expected giving it a real go but the Notts gave themselves a deserved 2-0 lead on 56 minutes when Arquin struck home from Campbell-Ryce’s cross. Pompey never really offered a great deal after that and Notts looked more likely to score again.

The match became a bit spicy with around a quarter of an hour to go when Portsmouth’s Scott Allan saw red for kicking out at Jamal Campbell-Ryce right in front of the dugouts. A bit of a scuffle between both sides followed which resulted in another yellow card being handed to both sides.

Notts saw the game out to claim a rather comfortable 2-0 victory at Fratton Park.  The stewards are very helpful, chatty, don’t mind people standing up near the back and didn’t force us to sit in our allocated seats. The Atmosphere, as expected was excellent particularly from the Pompey fans who I don’t think stopped singing all game, great credit to them – they’re a magnificent bunch of supporters.

There’s a small food outlet at the back of the Milton End, so I’d expect a bit of a queue. I didn’t sample it for myself but from what people around us brought it appears they have the usual selection of hot/cold drinks, snacks, and pies.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

A lot of the crowd were heading towards the station and we seemed to mix with no problems at all, even got talking to another Pompey fan at the station. The roads immediately surrounding the ground did appear to be quite busy as you’d expect but the traffic soon disappeared. 

7. Summary of overall thoughts of day out:

On the whole an excellent day out to an old ground full of character and steeped in tradition, made sweeter by a win for the Magpies. Can’t wait to return for the league fixture in January. 

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