Joe Mason’s penalty earned Pompey victory over Oxford United in tonight’s reserve clash.
Baffins Milton Rovers hosted the occasion, with a strong Blues line-up containing eight players with first-team experience this season.
That included Mason, who appeared as a substitute in Saturday’s draw with Wycombe, and both created and scored from the spot on 76 minutes to seal a 2-1 win
There were also starts for Jack Whatmough and Anton Walkes, lining up as a central-defensive pairing, having recovered from the injuries collected against Plymouth earlier this month.
In addition, Louis Dennis was included as he continues attempts to break into Kenny Jackett’s plans following a low-key presence since his summer arrival.
It was the former Bromley forward who opened the scoring on 36 minutes, with a low shot from outside the penalty area.
Oxford’s Dejon Noel-Williams levelled in the 63rd minute, but Mason popped up with the decisive moment to give the Blues the win.
In the opening exchanges, Dennis was fed a chance when the ball was knocked inside but he blazed a left-footed shot over the bar.
Yet, after a quiet to proceedings, the deadlock was broken on 36 minutes. David Wheeler steered a header into Dennis’ feet and he took several touches before driving a left-footed shot from outside the box which found its way past the keeper at his near post.
With half-time approaching, Mason fizzed a cross in from the left which the sliding Wheeler made connection with, but not enough to find a way past Jack Stevens.
There were no substitutions at the break, although Whatmough was replaced on 61 minutes, with Haji Mnoga coming on.
Moments later, Noel-Williams should have equalised when he headed a cross from the left into the ground from close range, the ball bouncing over the bar.
Yet within seconds – on 63 minutes – the striker did level when he slid home a finish inside the six-yard box to make it 1-1.
Pompey were back in front on 76 minutes following excellent work from Mason to win a penalty. The forward twisted one way and went the other, drawing a foul from defender Steven Johnson for an undisputed penalty which the loan player subsequently converted.
Walkes should have increased the Blues’ lead on 85 minutes when he headed over Dennis’ free-kick when unmarked.