Christian Burgess’s first half goal ensured Portsmouth travelled to the south coast with all three points in spite of Bolton Wanderers’ spirited performance.
Keith Hill’s men were desperately unfortunate not to pick up the point their performance deserved.
Brandon Fleming was handed his debut at left back and Jason Lowe returned from suspension as Hill made two changes from the side that played at Lincoln in midweek. Daryl Murphy was omitted on compassionate grounds while Yoan Zouma was left out of the squad.
Alex Bass in the Pompey goal unconvincingly punched Ronan Darcy’s corner inside a crowded penalty area as Wanderers put on some early pressure, but the hosts were penalised shortly after for a foul against the ‘keeper.
Ethan Hamilton went narrowly wide from a tight angle after controlling a pass from Darcy.
Joe Dodoo was in the right place to shepherd the ball behind for a goal kick after Ronan Curtis’s free-kick into the box was intended for Sean Raggett.
Fleming saw his deflected cross loop into the box but Bass did well to claim the ball whilst under pressure from Dodoo.
Pompey defender Raggett survived a huge appeal for a sending off as he brought down Dodoo who was clear through on goal. The defender was brandished with a yellow.
Remi Matthews made a great save to deny Curtis’s fiercely struck effort as Portsmouth tried to break the deadlock.
But the visitors got their noses in front three minutes before the break when Burgess slammed home from close range.
Wanderers tried to respond immediately and Dennis Politic was unlucky to see his powerful shot go wide of target.
Wanderers lost Liam Edwards at the break, through injury and Chris O’Grady came on in his place.
Politic was in the thick of the action just after the restart and forced Bass into making a smart save to prevent the young attacker from equalising.
At the other end, Josh Emmanuel put in a superb block to keep out Cameron McGeehan.
O’Grady was unable to divert Ethan Hamilton’s pass into the goal after some excellent work by Darcy on the right.
Darcy was his usual busy self and his cross from the right-hand side found O’Grady who could only head wide.
Politic tried his luck from just outside the box once again but his effort was held by Alex Bass.
Emmanuel showed some great moves as he twisted and turned to evade some defenders but could only fire over the crossbar with his left foot.
Bass then made a stunning save to keep out Politic’s fierce drive which appeared destined to earn Wanderers what would have been a deserved equaliser.