Pompey’s play-off dreams have dwindled after they could manage only a 1-1 home draw with relegation-threatened Preston.
Preston took the lead in the first half through Iain Hume’s cool finish after Pompey attempted a suicidal offside trap and Jamie Ashdown was left totally exposed.
But the Blues shurgged off a poor first-half display and were the better side after the break.
Greg Halford restored parity with a smart header at the near post from Hayden Mullins’ corner and he might have done it again soon afterwards with a carbon copy set-piece.
But Preston stood firm and Steve Cotterill’s men were unable to find the winner that could have injected real momentum into a late play-off surge.
As it is, they need a miracle now.