Pompey’s spirited fightback came up just short as they fell out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle today.
Guy Whittingham’s 10-man side delivered a second-half onslaught, after Gavin Mahon was sent off.
But Francois Zoko’s two first-half goals were enough to see his side through with a 2-1 success.
Sub David Connolly reduced the arrears with 20 minutes left, after Mahon was dismissed when a flailing arm flattened Felipe Morais.
The charge came up short, though, but showed an air of resilience to the Blues which is encouraging moving forward.
It was Pompey who started on the front foot, with Jed Wallace cracking a 25-yarder off the foot of the post after just 57 seconds.
It was the in-demand midfielder who then drilled a shot wide of the post after five minutes.
Stevenage were having most of the ball, though, and took the lead after eight minutes through Francois Zoko.
Trevor Carson made a great stop to deny Morais, but Bruno Andrade’s cross caused mayhem in Pompey’s box, allowing Zoko to tuck the ball away.
Patrick Agyemang should have levelled after 19 minutes when Andy Barcham’s deflected shot was saved, but he fired wide from seven yards when off balance.
Agyemang then had a shot blocked on the turn after good play from Wallace.
Pompey were having their chances, with Barcham firing just over, but paid for not making the most of their opportunities when Stevenage doubled their lead seven minutes before the break.
It was that man Zoko who did the damage again, leading Pompey’s defence a merry dance before firing home.
Things went from bad to worse after the restart for Pompey, as Mahon received his marching orders on 50 minutes.
The midfielder caught Morais with a leading arm, which left ref Gary Sutton no alternative but to send him off.
Pompey should have had a goal back five minutes later, but Barcham showed little conviction with his shot after a decent Bird cross.
The previously in-from Bird then fired high and wide with a speculative 30-yarder.
Pompey gave themselves hope with 20 minutes left as they reduced the arrears through Connolly.
It was Barcham who caused the trouble as he advanced and saw Chris Day save his shot.
Bird then slid the ball goalwards, before Connolly gleefully slammed it home.
It was heartening to see Pompey make a fist of it with 10 men.
And they threw everything at getting a late leveller with a spirited effort.
But Stevenage held out to get the win and progress.