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League Two Lowdown: Newport

29 July 2013

Our look at Pompey's 2013/14 opponents continues with County

Meetings with Pompey
Newport won 2-1 when the sides first met in Southern League Division One in December 1913, although Eddie Thompson scored the only as Pompey triumphed in the return fixture.

Two seasons later, this time in the South Western Combination, a 3-1 win in Newport and 4-0 victory at Fratton Park ensured the Blues did the double over the Welsh side.

A couple more Southern League clashes occurred in the 1920/21 campaign, with one win each, before Pompey departed for Division Three.

The next meeting took place in the fifth round of the FA Cup in 1949, with Len Phillips (2) and Jack Froggatt netting in a 3-2 win for the champions elect.

The sides have not faced off since a match at Newport’s old Somerton Park ground in April 1983. Both sides were in contention for promotion from the old third division, but it was the Blues who romped to a 4-0 victory.

Earlier in the season, County had ended the Blues’ opening five-match unbeaten run with a 2-1 win at Fratton Park.

Pompey went up as champions at the end of the season, but Newport finished fourth and missed out on promotion.

Newport history
Newport County started out in the Southern League in 1912, but were reformed in 1919 and elected into the Football League a year later.

After almost 20 years in Division Three (South), they clinched promotion in 1939 – the same year Pompey lifted the FA Cup for the first time.

But only three matches were played in the second division before the outbreak of war and when peacetime returned, a disastrous season saw County finish bottom of the league. The campaign included a 13-0 defeat to Newcastle, prompting opposition boss Len Shackleton to comment: “They were lucky to get nil.”

The next 11 seasons were spent in Division Three (South), but Newport were relegated in 1962 and spent a further 18 years in the basement.

They set an unwanted record in 1971 by not winning any of the first 25 matches and lost 6-1 to Barnet in the FA Cup – a record defeat for a league club against non-league opponents.

But their fortunes changed, missing out on promotion on goal average before going up in 1980, while a Welsh Cup triumph saw them compete in the European Cup Winners’ Cup. In 1983 they achieved their highest post-war league finish of fourth in the third division.

Darker days were on the way, however, and Newport finished bottom of Division Three in 1987 and Division Four in 1988 – bringing to an end their 60-year residency of the Football League.

Worse was to come as County failed to finish their first season in the Conference, going out of business in February 1989 with debts of £333,000.

The club was reformed by supporters in June 1989, with Newport AFC playing their home games in the Gloucestershire town of Moreton-in-Marsh and competing in the Hellenic League.

A brief return to playing games at Newport was ended in 1992 before successful legal action saw them come back to the valleys in 1994, playing at the newly-constructed Newport Stadium.

They started to rise through the leagues and in 1999 reverted to the original name of Newport County.

Newport present
Newport romped to the Conference South title in the 2009/10 season, sealing promotion by beating Havant & Waterlooville with seven league games remaining and ending with a record 103 points.

They finished 9th and 19th in their first two seasons in the Conference, also reaching the 2012 FA Trophy final – where they lost2-0 to York – and moving to the city’s Rodney Parade rugby ground.

Newport secured a play-off place last term, seeing off Grimsby over two legs before beating Wrexham in an all-Welsh final at Wembley.

Information for Pompey fans
Away fans are housed in the south end of the Bisley Stand, which holds around 580 people. The stadium’s capacity 11,676, but this is reduced for football matches.

A clubhouse at the ground welcomes visiting supporters, while the Godfrey Morgan Wetherspoon – listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide – is located further along the Chepstow Road.

The city centre is a 15-minute walk away and here you can find more pubs and food outlets.

Travelling by road
Postcode: NP19 OUU
Distance from Fratton Park: 141.2 miles
Estimated drive time: 2 hours 31 minutes

Leave the M4 at Junction 26 and take the A4051 towards Newport. After going under a flyover (A4042) you will reach a large roundabout. Take the second exit, keeping in the filter lane towards City Centre/Railway Station. At the next roundabout take the first exit going across the river onto the B4591 towards Maindee. At the traffic lights, bear right onto Chepstow Road and then take the first right into Corporation Road. Take the next right into Grafron Road and the main entrance is on your left.

There is no parking at the ground and it is residents only around the stadium, so it’s a case of finding street parking further away or using one of the city centre car parks.

Travelling by train
Newport station is located a quarter of a mile from the ground and the direct journey from Portsmouth stations lasts approximately two-and-a-half hours.

League Two fixtures
Pompey v Newport: Saturday, December 14 (3pm)
Newport v Pompey: Saturday, March 29 (3pm)

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