Two goals in the first five minutes proved 10-men Pompey’s downfall at Doncaster.
Liam Mandeville’s deflected effort and an own goal from Christian Burgess from Tommy Rowe’s header cost Kenny Jackett’s men dearly at the Keepmoat Stadium.
A bizarre own goal from Mathieu Baudry gave the Blues a lifeline, before Dion Donohue’s dismissal in the 69th minute.
There was plenty of the pluck late on which was missing in the first 45 minutes, but there was to be no leveller for Pompey.
The home side opened the scoring with their first attack in the third minute.
Rowe freed Rodney Kongolo on the right who crossed for Mandeville to fire past Luke McGee, with the aid of a deflection off Burgess.
It got worse two minutes later as a corner was headed goalward from Rowe and Burgess’ unfortunate touch took it past McGee.
The Blues were rocked but did see Burgess’ header cleared off the line by Joe Wright in the 22nd minute.
Jackett’s team were second best by a distance, however, with passes coming up short and Donny quicker to the loose balls.
Conor Chaplin and Jamal Lowe were introduced at the break in an effort to turn the game around.
Chaplin was unlucky to see his 51st-minute free-kick come back off the post on his 100th Pompey appearance.
But there was a huge slice of fortune to how the Blues got a goal back three minutes later.
Keeper Ian Lawlor was under no pressure from Baudry’s backpass, but allowed it to roll under his foot and into the net.
That made the home crowd nervous, but Pompey made it an uphill task to get a leveller when Donohue was sent off in the 69th minute for an off-the-ball incident with Niall Mason.
The home side had Lawlor to thank with a superb stoppage-time save to keep out Lowe’s goalbound header, who’d travelled to the game after becoming a father.
That ensured there was to be no late joy for the 620 travelling fans among the 7,211 crowd.