A team beset by its own deficiencies in depth and quality, a product of a meandering period of transition which offered little hope and even less to get excited about.
Early cautious optimism had dissipated amid a dismal run which had exposed the deep flaws in the current options; looking towards the winter months ahead from that vantage point was a bleak and dispiriting experience as we entered the rump of the season.
So how the events of the past two fixtures have been so desperately needed.
There were those who responded to the enthusiasm over last Tuesday’s win over Crystal Palace under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy, with a degree of bemusement.
A win against a bunch of kids in the Two-Bob Trophy. Get a grip.
Perhaps they had a point, but when almost the entirety of the past three months had thrown up problems with little sign of imminent solutions any chink of light was gratefully accepted.
And that’s what the performances of some academy hopefuls and a derided striker offered.
There were those who suggested things must be pretty desperate, if one 90-minute performance from a front man who’d done little for over a year meant he was now the answer to our attacking prayers.
Again, it was a position not without some credence, as we went to Wycombe with injury issues and hopes of a return about as low as they’ve been in recent seasons in league action.
But sometimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all.
And so it proved at Adams Park, as a side shorn of its key recent contributors produced a display the 1,500 or so travelling fans could finally get on board with.
It wasn’t a performance of the technical and tactical quality Danny Cowley strives for. But, quite frankly, who cares?
Pompey ran and competed and fought and put their bodies on the line in a way we haven’t seen for a long time.
Yes they rode their luck and had some outstanding keeping and defensive displays to thank for their three-point return.
But supporters saw something they could identify with and relate to – a performance in their image.
And that’s the key issue here.
No, Pompey aren’t convincing they can be a play-off contender after one result. Perhaps the view there’s too much work to do on this group is accepted a little too readily for that to be the case.
Let’s reconvene after the Christmas period and see how things stand on that front.
For now, though, let’s just be grateful we’ve caught a glimpse of Pompey to be proud of. It makes what lies ahead that little bit more palatable for us all.
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