RICHIE BARKER thanked the Fratton faithful for sticking with their team through the pain of another sickening home defeat.
Pompey slumped deeper into the League Two relegation dogfight after a 1-0 home defeat against in-form York on Saturday.
The Blues now sit just a single spot above the dropzone – three points ahead of second-bottom Northampton.
Only Morecambe’s equaliser against the Cobblers with 15 minutes left stopped that cushion from being cut to a single point.
The dismissal of captain Ben Chorley five minutes after the restart proved a crucial moment in Pompey’s eighth home league defeat of the campaign.
Despite the loss, Barker’s side produced some of their best football of late.
They had the better of the possession and produced 11 shots on goal to the Minstermen’s six.
That was recognised by the majority of the crowd, who willed Pompey on as they attempted to get something from the game.
Barker, who last week stated he didn’t think he would be able to win over an element of the Blues support, paid tribute to that backing.
He said: ‘The fans stuck with us.
‘I think they appreciated the way we played and, more importantly, the effort and endeavour.
‘It would have been easy to go under with 10 men.
‘But they stuck at it and we deserved something out of it.
‘We just have to dust ourselves down and get on with it.
‘The players’ mentality was fantastic in those circumstances.
‘If we keep working at it things will turn.
‘The players fed off the positivity of the fans.
‘The players continued to do the right things because of that.
‘They knew they were with them.
‘If it stays like that I’m confident we’ll win more games than we’ll lose.’
Pompey now face a daunting trip to league leaders Rochdale tomorrow.
They sit two points clear at the League Two summit after a 2-0 win over Wycombe.
A big problem on Saturday for Pompey was a lack of cutting edge, with it now five games since a Pompey striker scored a goal.
Barker acknowledged that issue but was encouraged by the fact chances are being created.
He knows he has to quickly lift the players, who were floored by their latest loss.
Barker said: ‘They are disappointed because they know how hard they have worked.
‘They aren’t getting the rewards for the work they are putting in.
‘I told them afterwards I couldn’t knock them for that performance.
‘Maybe that last bit in the final third was missing
‘But we created more in that final third than we have of late.
‘We have to pick ourselves up and go again.’