Michael Smith returned to haunt former club AFC Wimbledon as Pompey sent out a message to their League Two play-off rivals with an impressive 1-0 win at Kingsmeadow.
Barring any miraculous slip-ups, the two sides will be involved in the post-season fight for promotion but Smith will play no part for the Blues with his 93-day loan from Swindon set to expire before the season finale with Northampton.
Regardless, the former Dons forward was on the mark decisively for the visitors 10 minutes before the break as he latched on to Gary Roberts’ through ball to slam Paul Cook’s sixth-placed side ahead.
It was the seventh-placed hosts who threatened first, though, with Darius Charles’ header saved well at close range by Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones.
The Blues then saw penalty appeals fall on deaf ears when Kal Naismith took a tumble in the area.
And after Smith had opened the scoring, Pompey appeared unfortunate to see another decision go against them as the striker was adjudged to have fouled Charles before slotting home a second, which was ruled out.
At half-time Jones was replaced by Brian Murphy in the Pompey goal.
And the hosts should have been level 10 minutes after the break when Charles headed into the ground and over the bar from close range, with Tom Elliott also wasteful with another headed opportunity.
Former Blues winger Andy Barcham then went close as the Dons threatened an equaliser.
Smith continued to be a threat for Pompey, flashing a header wide from a corner, with Roberts guilty of wasting a glorious chance late on to double the lead.
In the end, though, it didn’t matter as the Blues solidified their position in sixth spot, moving within two points of fifth-placed Plymouth Argyle with two games to play.
The result also confirmed Cook’s side’s place in the play-offs, while they are now five points behind third-placed Oxford with two games to go, leaving automatic promotion highly unlikely, although not impossible.