Bolton Wanderers suffered a narrow defeat on the South Coast after Brett Pitman atoned for his earlier penalty miss to score the only goal of the game which gave Portsmouth all he three points at Fratton Park.
Wanderers can consider themselves unfortunate to not travel back up north with a share of the spoils after producing sustained spells of attacking play.
Keith Hill made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 against Sunderland at the University of Bolton Stadium last weekend.
Yohan Zouma came in for the injured Jake Wright in defence, while Daryl Murphy was handed his debut at the expense of Dennis Politic who was named among the substitutes.
Backed by over 800 travelling Wanderers fans, the visitors, captained by Liam Bridcutt, wore all yellow as they looked to build on two successive draws.
Remi Matthews was pressed into action early on but he comfortably caught the ball after Brett Pitman met Brandon Haunstrup’s free kick with his head.
Wanderers soon found themselves with an opportunity from a set piece, but Ali Crawford was unable to catch out Craig MacGillivray with a strike that went wide of the target.
The Pompey ‘keeper pulled off an important save to keep out Will Buckley after the Wanderers frontman was teed up by Daryl Murphy inside the box.
Matthews was alert to get to the ball before Ryan Williams could latch on to Ronan Curtis’s threaded ball.
The game wads proving to be very attractive to the eye and Wanderers’ attacking presence was forcing Pompey into making errors deep inside their own territory.
Tibaud Verlinden’s thunderous drive hit a Pompey body as it looked destined to nestle into the far corner of goal.
At the other end, Adam Chicksen got in the way of John Marquis’ cross into the box which allowed Matthews to claim possession before the ball went out for a corner.
Curtis was looking lively for the hosts and his attempt from 25 yards out was well held by Matthews.
Josh Emmanuel did well to block another chance by Curtis after he was found by a pass from Marquis.
The Portsmouth keeper, MacGillivray, did well to keep out a looped effort from Verlinden as the Wanderers wideman was causing problems down the flank.
Moments later and MacGillivray once again thwarted Verlinden before immediately getting in the way of a Daryl Murphy follow-up at the expense of a corner.
Verlinden was giving the Pompey defence a restless afternoon and put in a lovely low cross which Emmanuel drilled over the bar from 20 yards out.
Wanderers best chance of the half came just three minutes before the interval when Zouma made a superb tackle to win possession deep inside his owen half. He then went on a charging run before teeing up Daryl Murphy with a slide rule pass. Buckley got on the end of a pinpoint cross but volleyed over.
The hosts started the second half brightly and Marquis went on a charging run inside the penalty area only to collide with Matthews. The Wanderers shotstopper required treatment but was able to carry on.
Murphy was unlucky not to break the deadlock after he was sent through by Crawford with MacGillivray making a fine stop from a tight angle.
The hosts wasted a glorious chance to put themselves in front on the hour mark when the hosts were awarded a penalty after Hobbs tripped Marquis. Pitman’s resulting spot-kick cannoned off the post, with Matthews going the wrong way, to earn the visitors a reprieve.
Politic was then brought on at the expense of Verlinden as Hill made his first change of the afternoon.
Marquis tired his luck from distance but saw his shot fly high over the bar while Harness followed this up with a 25-yard that went marginally wide.
Pitman atoned for his spot kick miss when he put the hosts ahead on 66 minutes after beating Emmanuel to the ball and nodding in at the far post from a right sided cross.
Moments later, Emmanuel made way for Luke Murphy as Hill looked to get his team back on parity.
The goal had given the hosts a filip and they were starting put Wanderers under more pressure as they looked to put the game to bed.
Zouma found space in midfield but his effort from far out when well wide of MacGillivray’s goal.
Wanderers were fighting right to the end to try and salvage a point and Buckley’s pinpoint cross was just inches away from the head of Daryl Murphy who was poised to strike in the box.
Moments later and Buckley was causing more issues for the hosts on the flank but his cross, destined for Jason Lowe, went straight into the grateful hands of MacGillivray.
Deep into injury time, Crawford saw his well-struck free-kick go narrowly wide after Ben Close upended Politic.