Brett Pitman admitted Pompey’s ‘relief’ to have overcome non-league Altrincham.
This afternoon’s FA Cup second-round encounter appeared to be heading for a replay after Josh Hancock’s penalty leveller seven minutes from time.
The 1-1 scoreline would have represented embarrassment against a side positioned 15th in National League North.
However, substitute Pitman spared the Blues’ blushes with a headed winner four minutes into time added on.
And afterwards, the 31-year-old conceded Pompey were thankful for the winning outcome.
Pitman said: ‘It was clear that nobody needed another game all the way up to Altrincham and it would have been tough up there, make no bones about it.
‘The ultimate factor there is relief – and you just move forward.
‘It was tough, it looked tough first half and it was tough second half, they almost played with no fear.
‘Do they play like that every week? I am not sure how many teams raise their game for the FA Cup because if they play like that every week I’m sure they would be absolutely walking National League North.
‘Fair play to them, you have to respect them for that.
‘Before the game their manager said they were going to come here and have a good go, so we weren’t surprised by it, but not being surprised by it and dealing with it is a different thing.
‘You have to give them credit – but also give our lads credit for keeping going and sticking at it.’