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League Two Lowdown: Accrington

25 June 2013

Our look at Pompey's League Two opponents starts with Stanley

Meetings with Pompey
When Pompey travel to Accrington Stanley on the second weekend of the League Two season, they will face a side currently in its fourth incarnation.

The Blues have not previously played any of them in league football, although there have been three FA Cup meetings.

The first came in the first round of the competition on January 10 1925. Goals from ‘Farmer’ Billy Haines, James Mackie, Angus Meilke and James Martin gave second division Pompey a comfortable 5-2 victory against their Division Three (North) hosts.

Third division Accrington then did well to hold the top-flight Blues to a goalless draw on Saturday, January 24 1959.

But four days later, goals from Ron Saunders (2), Derrick Weddle and Ron Newman saw Pompey win the Fratton Park replay 4-1.

Both of the Blues’ previous visits to Accrington were played at Peel Park, which was used from 1919 until the club folded in 1966.

Accrington Stanley history
More than 54 years down the line from their last meeting, Pompey and the reformed Accrington will meet with an equal status for the first time, despite the former’s 115-year existence and the latter’s predecessors being one of the Football League’s founder members in 1888.

The original Accrington resigned after just five years, but Stanley Villa also played in the town and took on the name Accrington Stanley.

Like Pompey, the Lancashire outfit have experience of financial hardship. But while liquidation was just a threat for the Blues, it became a reality for Acctington in 1966.

It was a sorry end for a club associated with the league’s founding fathers. After spending their early days in the Lancashire Combination, they were elected into the newly-formed Division Three (North) in 1921.

There Accrington stayed until being placed into the reorganised Division Three in 1958. It was here that their struggles seemed to begin and by 1960, rumours of financial hardship were beginning to circulate.

These were exacerbated following relegation to Division Four and after completing just one full season they resigned from the Football League in March 1962 with a reported debt of £4,000.

Returning to their roots in the Lancashire Combination second division saw a topsy-turvy three years – promoted to the top tier as champions, relegated the following season and then resigning and folding in 1966.

Then came the most recent reincarnation in 1968 as Accrington began the long journey back through the non-league ranks.

They reached their goal of returning to the Football League by winning the Conference in 2006, with their first match away at the now-defunct Chester City.

Accrington Stanley present
Accrington's seven years back in the Football League has mostly seen a struggle to retain that status.

There have been plenty of bottom-half finishes, with final positions of 20th, 17th, 16th, 15th and 14th preceding last season’s 18th place – with Stanley just three points clear of dropping back into non-league football.

The one exception came in the 2010/11 campaign, when a 5th-place finish saw Accrington reach the play-offs, where they were defeated over two legs by Stevenage.

Newly-installed manager James Beattie won’t receive a comfortable reception from the Pompey faithful following their jousts in the more salubrious surroundings of the Premier League. 

After taking on the role of player/coach last term, the former Southampton striker replaced outgoing manager Leam Richardson in May.

Information for Pompey fans
Pompey supporters will make their first visit to the 5,057 Crown Ground (known as The Store First Stadium for sponsorship reasons).

The stadium is set in picturesque surroundings with hills and a field behind the Coppice Terrace, which can house 1,800 visiting fans. The end is open to the elements, so visiting supporters will be hoping for a fine day.

If there is enough demand, some seats could be available in the covered Whinney Hill Stand, which contains a mixture of seating and standing areas.

The club house inside the ground is for home fans only, but the Crown Pub just behind the ground on the main Whalley Road welcomes all supporters.

The Whitakers Arms near the club’s old Peel Park ground and The Grey Horse – a two minute walk from the ground heading towards the town centre – will also welcome those in blue.

Travelling by road
Postcode: BB5 5BX
Distance from Fratton Park: 274.4 miles
Estimated drive time: 4 hours, 46 minutes

Leave the M6 at Junction 29 and take the M65 towards Blackburn. Continue past Blackburn towards Accrington and leave the M65 at Junction seven. Then take the left-hand exit at the roundabout onto the A6185 towards Clitheroe (the opposite direction to Accrington). At the first set of traffic lights turn rught onto the A678, towards Padiham, and then at the next set of traffic lights turn right onto the A680 towards Accrington. After about half a mile you will pass the Crown pub on your left. Take the next left into Livingstone Road. Parking is available on the streets surrounding the ground and also, for a small donation, on adjacent land belonging to an amateur side.

Travelling by train
The standard rail time between Portsmouth & Southsea and Accrington is approximate five-and-a-half hours. Trains leave from London Euston bound for Preston. The train from Preston to Accrington usually leaves from Platform Two and takes 23 minutes. Fares are subject to times of booking, etc, but a standard fare not booked in advance is £110.60.

Accrington station is around a mile from the ground. Leave the station and proceed down the hill, passing over the main Blackburn Road. Follow the road down the hill, passing the King Street pub on your left. Follow the road down to the main roundabout, cross over the road and head up the hill, passing the Aldi supermarket still on your left. At the top of the hill turn left (Whalley Road) and follow this road straight on through the traffic lights. The Grey Horse and Oaklea pubs are 300 metres through the traffic lights. Carry straight along Whalley Road and over the mini-roundabout for approximately 200 metres. Turn down Livingstone Road on your right and the ground is on your left.

League Two fixtures
Accrington v Pompey: Saturday, August 10 (12.15pm kick-off)
Pompey v Accrington: Saturday, January 4 (3pm kick-off)

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