Kenny Jackett admitted he was gratefully accepting a Fratton Park reply – before Andre Green dramatically settled Spotland matters.
The wilting Blues were clinging onto a goalless draw as Rochdale piled on the pressure in this afternoon’s FA Cup clash.
Then, on 90 minutes, substitute Green’s heavily-deflected shot earned Pompey a fortunate 1-0 triumph.
It marked a 13th match unbeaten on their travels for Jackett’s table-topping side.
And they are now in Monday evening’s draw for the FA Cup third round.
Jackett said: ‘I felt the first half we were the better side and I felt the second half Rochdale were.
‘It looked liked our way and our path of progressing in the Cup was to get a hard-earned draw here and then to take them back to Fratton Park.
‘Which, if you can’t win, I would have accepted because that’s the third time we have been here in recent months and was always going to be a hard game – and proved to be the case.
‘In our first-half period, when we were up, we weren't as clinical as we usually are and didn’t give us the lead to go for.
‘Rochdale were always going to swing back into the game.
‘You always have to dig in, there are no easy wins, it doesn’t work that way, whatever you earn.
‘And so far this season we’ve had a great run, we’ve lost one league game, that is excellent.’