THE HAWKS slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Sutton United in the Vanarama National League at Westleigh Park.
Former Pompey striker Nicke Kabamba gave the home side a 31st-minute lead against the run of play.
But a powerful second-half performance saw the visitors score twice in the 60th and 76th minutes to seal their win.
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury welcomed back captain Brian Stock from injury and also gave a first start to Ibra Sekajja.
Early on, Rory Williams curled in a free-kick and the visitors conceded two corners in quick succession.
In response, Harry Beautyman curled a 20-yard shot over the home crossbar.
Keeper Ryan Young came to the rescue with a good close-range save after the Hawks were caught out on the counter-attack.
It was a low-key start, with both defences on top in the opening 20 minutes.
Sutton threatened after a mistake by Williams and the ball was driven across the face of the goal.
Charlie Clough then rose above the defence and sent a back-header bouncing just the wrong side of the post.
The hosts were coming under increasing pressure as Sutton took charge.
On 31 minutes, however, the Hawks got the break they needed to take the lead against the run of play.
Sekajja’s overhead kick fell to KABAMBA and his shot on the turn deflected into the top corner of the net.
Minutes later, Kabamba flashed another drive narrowly over the top.
Tempers rose briefly at the start of the second half following a couple of niggly clashes.
Yet it wasn't long before the Hawks again found themselves coming under pressure.
And Sutton’s efforts soon paid off with a 60th-minute equaliser.
Tommy WRIGHT turned his defender on the edge of the area and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner.
Almost immediately, Beautyman sent a downward header straight at Young.
Sutton then took the lead in the 76th minute when BEAUTYMAN converted a low ball to the far post.
Late Hawks pressure failed to produce an equaliser as Bradbury’s side accepted defeat.