John McGreal lamented Gary Roberts’ late double as Colchester saw their gameplan unravel at Fratton Park on Saturday.
The U’s look set to leave the south coast with the point they had come for with the scoreline goalless with 10 minutes left to play.
But having threatened the Pompey goal with a rare foray forward when Craig Slater’s strike was well saved by Blues goalkeeper David Forde, Colchester were hit by a late sucker punch.
Their defensive resilience was undone in one fell swoop when substitute Drey Wright tangled with Roberts in box, allowing the playmaker to fire the hosts ahead from the penalty spot.
And no sooner had their clean sheet disappeared, the visitors’ defence was breached again as that man Roberts latched onto home substitute Conor Chaplin’s through-ball to consign the U’s to a 2-0 defeat.
For Colchester boss McGreal, it was a result that was hard to take.
Speaking to the East Anglia Daily Times, he said: ‘It’s a shame that we have nothing to show from the game, after the lads put in a good shift.
‘Our plan had been working to a tee.
‘Looking at the scoreboard, with 70 minutes gone, we were at 0-0 and we had also had the best chance (Craig Slater’s shot) of the second half.
‘I thought the game was edging our way, and thought we might nick a goal.’
McGreal conceded he had no complaints over the penalty awarded to Pompey.
But the U’s boss was disappointed by the way his side conceded a second goal so soon afterwards to end any hopes of a late equaliser.
‘I have no qualms about the penalty – there was a coming together,’ he added.
‘We managed to get five or 10 yards further up the pitch in the second half, and that had got us on the front foot.
‘It was working quite well until they scored, and we then conceded a second quickly afterwards.
‘We have often conceded two quickfire goals in the past.
‘When will we learn?’