It's all square at the break at Broadhall Way between Pompey and Stevenage.
Gareth Evans' 20th-minute opener was cancelled out by Gareth Evans 10 minutes later.
Conor Chaplin is on the bench as speculation persists about the striker's future, while Pompey have reportedly had two bid turned down by Cheltenham for Mo Eisa.
Stevenage threatened early when Joel Byrom's free-kick was met by Ben Kennedy. His shot was saved by Craig MacGillivray with Scott Cuthbert's follow-up blocked.
Pompey replied in the fourth minute, when Ronan Curtis cut into the box and teed up Gareth Evans, who curled his shot high and wide.
Adam May went close to opening the scoring in the 10th minute with a 20 yarder which keeper Paul Farman did well to push away to left.
Then Curtis combined with Brown to free the left-back and his inviting cross was just missed by the on-rushing Jamal Lowe.
Lowe was causing problems down the right. His burst to the byline ended with the ball being cut back to Pitman, but his first-time shot was blocked.
Tom Naylor produced a lovely through ball to Curtis in the 17th minute, but Farman was equal to the Irishman's finish.
The lead came in the 20th minute when Evans found space in the box and curled in a finish.
Ben Kennedy was inches away from levelling with a spectacular curler from the apex of the box in the 29th minute, but his effort was just wide.
There was no Kennedy let-off seconds later, when he got away from Matt Clarke and advanced before confidently finishing.
The response came from Curtis who advanced and cracked a 20 yarder which Farman pushed around the post.
Another lung-bursting run got Lowe clear seven minutes before the break but Pitman could only scuff his cross wide in the last major action of the half.