Pompey brought the curtain up on their League One campaign with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury.
Ryan Giles’ moment of magic in the 68th minute proved the difference at New Meadow as the Blues struggled to really get going in the final third.
And to make matters worse, the Blues had Ross McCrorie sent off late in the game for a second yellow card.
Kenny Jackett handed debuts to four of his summer signings with John Marquis, Marcus Harness, Paul Downing and McCrorie all starting.
Fellow new-boys James Bolton and Ellis Harrison were named on the bench.
In a physical opening 15 minutes, Tom Naylor had goal-bound effort deflected over the bar, while McCrorie’s snap-shot at the second attempt was kept out by home keeper Max O’Leary.
Shrews striker Steve Morison had the best chance of the first half. In the 23rd minute, he bullied Christian Burgess off the ball before firing a shot just over the crossbar.
The Blues enjoyed more of the ball and got into some decent positions down both flanks, but the majority of their crosses into the box lacked quality.
Three minutes into the second half, Ronan Curtis went on a mazy run and went down in the penalty area following a collision with two Shrewsbury defenders.
He – and the Fratton faithful behind the DM Recruitment Stand goal – wanted a penalty but referee Charles Breakspear wasn’t interested.
On 52 minutes, Brown almost caught out O’Leary off guard with a cross-cum-shot but the home stopper backpeddled to tip the ball away.
It was either going to take a moment of magic or a defensive error to break the deadlock – and it arrived via the former.
Giles picked the ball up 25 yards from goal in no real danger but cracked a sumptuous left-footed effort which left Pompey keeper Craig MacGillivray helpless and found the top corner.
To their credit, the Blues made a decent response, with Brett Pitman poking an effort into the arms of O’Leary.
Jackett must have thought his troops had fashioned an equaliser in the 74th minute – only for an unbelievable piece of defending.
Brown’s short corner slipped in Marquis and his half-volley was heading for the far corner.
However, Ethan Ebanks-Landell got across to make a brilliant diving clearance off the line.
Pompey were starting to build a head of steam but their chances of snatching a result were delivered a blow in nine minutes from full-time.
McCrorie caught Donald Love late, leaving the referee no choice but to issue the Rangers loanee a second yellow card and send him off.
Jackett’s men pushed for an equaliser in stoppage-time but, with Marquis going close at the near post.
And with the final kick of the game, Curtis volleyed narrowly over the crossbar after O’Leary failed to deal with Brown’s corner.
But it typified Pompey’s performance as it was an opening result they’ll quickly want to put to bed.