The Blues understandably looked a little sluggish in their first match in 23 days, following the cancellation of four successive matches due to coronavirus.
Unquestionably a disappointing outcome considering Pompey’s numerical advantage, while they mustered just two shots on target all game.
Denver Hume: Portsmouth's expensive forgotten man and why former Sunderland defender really could be one for the future
'Real driving force... lion-hearted display... classy presence' - Neil Allen's Portsmouth ratings from 3-0 Carabao Cup win at Cardiff
'We wanted to show him a bit of love' - Portsmouth-based Spurs fans' terrific gesture to ensure Dane Scarlett feels at home on the south-coast
League One latest: Portsmouth linked duo set for Oxford United and Lincoln moves, Southampton prospect joins Blues rivals as Ipswich land former Blackpool and Derby veteran
'We’ve got a real problem': Portsmouth boss reveals headache after career first at Cardiff
Yet Cowley praised parts of the Blues’ game in the Abbey Stadium stalemate which marked 10 League One matches unbeaten.
He told The News: ‘As a game it had a lot in it, but was fragmented for many reasons.
‘The attitude and intensity of our play was okay. We expected we’d be fine because we worked incredibly hard.
‘You only have to drive past Roko and look in to see the training pitches to know how hard we’ve worked because they are pretty cut up!
‘We have been working hard to be able to attack the second half of the season, so I was happy in that area.
‘The positive is that we have come through injury-free. You are always a little nervous when you have that type of break in the middle of the season because it’s unique and players’ bodies like rhythm, we haven’t been able to have that obviously.
‘The other positive is that we are now 10 unbeaten in the league and that’s seven clean sheets during that time.
‘But for us to achieve what we want to achieve we have to turn those draws into wins, that’s for sure.’
Crucially, the few chances Pompey did carve out against the U’s were not taken.
While substitute Michael Jacobs drew a fine save out of home keeper Dimitar Mitov, other golden opportunities weren’t even on target.
Cowley added: ‘Unfortunately, when we did create good chances, we missed them.
‘Reeco in the first half, George (Hirst) had one, Ronan had a really good one in the second half, Connor did as well. They didn’t hit the target, but are still clear-cut chances.
‘Michael Jacobs’ one was saved, I was right behind it, it was a hell of a shot.
‘But it would be fair to say, we need a bit more of a cutting edge.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for 14p a day.