Pompey’s central defensive double act were split apart.
And the result was a water-tight display as a victorious Blues registered a third clean sheet in their last 12 fixtures.
I thought we were excellent defensively but I like to go away from home and attackPaul Cook
Christian Burgess and Matt Clarke had been Paul Cook’s unchanged partnership for the opening 12 League Two fixtures.
Yet the Blues boss elected to promote Adam Webster in place of Clarke for Saturday’s trip to Newport County.
The youngster responded with a man-of-the-match display as the visitors claimed a 1-0 triumph through Matt Tubbs’ 45th-minute goal.
A fifth league away win of the campaign kept Pompey in second spot in League Two.
While Cook was full of praise for Webster, enjoying his first league start of the season.
He said: ‘Webster has been outstanding in every single game he has played.
‘Matt Clarke has come to us and played 12 games now in the league campaign, which is great credit to him as an 18-year-old lad. He will go back in. He has come out to be refreshed and to go back in.
‘Adam’s a great kid, though. We want to freshen the team up regularly now and we want to be a bit more at it tomorrow night.
‘I thought we were excellent defensively but I like to go away from home and attack.
‘I am looking for us to penetrate and win games more, the flip side of the game is keeping clean sheets and scoring lots of goals.
‘When you get them both right, guess what, people want you as a manager!
‘All-in-all I am pleased with the squad and it’s 13 games, let’s get to 20 games and see where we are at.
‘We are a going-forward club, great credit to everyone connected with it because without everybody there is no going-forward club.’
The other change to the side which defeated Cambridge United the previous weekend saw Kal Naismith presented with his first Pompey start.
Starting in place of the suspended Gareth Evans for the Rodney Parade visit, the Scot played for 59 minutes before he was replaced by Rommy Boco. For Boco, it was a Pompey debut having been signed last month before spending time on loan at the Hawks.
During his Westleigh Park spell, the 30-year-old made three starts and one substitute appearance as Cook sought to prime his match fitness.
The absence of Evans through a three-match ban opened the door for Boco to make his first Pompey squad at the weekend.
And, operating on the right-hand side of the attacking midfield three, Cook was delighted with his 31-minute cameo off the bench.
Pompey’s manager added: ‘I thought Boco was excellent.
‘He knows how I like the game to be played.
‘He’s a fantastic player who will play anywhere on the pitch and will certainly become a fans’ favourite because lads like Boco don’t leave anything on the pitch.
‘They will give you great energy, life, application, desire, work ethic and a willingness to win.
‘What he gives you sometimes is that solidity to see a game out – and I thought we saw the game out well to be fair.’