N'Gala brace helps down Dale at Fratton
Bondz N’Gala was the unlikely goalscoring hero as Pompey rediscovered the winning feeling against high-flying Rochdale.
Jed Wallace continued his recent good form by firing the hosts ahead midway through the first half.
And N’Gala then converted two Ricky Holmes corners after the interval to complete a comfortable victory.
Guy Whittingham made five changes from the side that lost at York the previous week.
Trevor Carson and Thery Racon came straight into the side after arriving at Fratton Park earlier in the week.
There were also starts for Holmes, John Marquis and the fit-again Joe Devera, but new signing Gavin Mahon had to be content with a place among the substitutes.
Pompey started the game brightly and Wallace sent a dangerous low ball into the box that somehow managed to evade both Marquis and Patrick Agyemang.
And they should have broken the deadlock on 12 minutes after Agyemang had flicked on a long punt forward.
The ball fell kindly for Marquis inside the area, but the striker – making his home debut – scuffed wide with just Dale keeper Josh Lillis to beat.
But the Blues were ahead on 23 minutes thanks to another fine finish from WALLACE – his second in as many games.
The midfielder picked up a loose ball just inside the Rochdale box and slammed home a fierce shot that left Lillis with no chance.
They went close to doubling the lead on 32 minutes, but N’Gala could not guide Holmes’ cross on target.
Rochdale were not creating too much, although Matty Lund’s cross-shot almost dipped underneath the crossbar and Carson then did well to deny Matty Done.
It was Pompey who looked more like scoring at the end of the half, however, when Wallace’s low cross was just behind the onrushing Marquis.
Half Time: Pompey 1 Rochdale 0
The Blues started the second half as they ended the first, although Marquis could only turn Devera’s pass over the bar.
Wallace then smashed an angled shot into the side netting after being teed-up by Agyemang.
But Pompey did increase their advantage on 51 minutes when N’GALA stooped to head home Holmes’ corner.
Marquis again should have added his name to the scoresheet moments later, but shot wide from close range after meeting Wallace’s low cross.
N’GALA was showing the frontmen how to finish, netting his second of the game on 65 minutes with a bullet header from another Holmes corner.
He might have completed a hat-trick soon after, but could not quite make a clean connection with a Holmes cross from deep.
Whittingham made a double substitution on 69 minutes, with Racon and Agyemang getting a well-earned rest, replaced by Romain Padovani and Andy Barcham.
Padovani immediately created an opportunity, sliding an incisive through ball to Marquis. The striker tried to round the onrushing Lillis, but could not beat the keeper.
Pompey had already done enough to secure all three points, however, and there was also the welcome bonus of a clean sheet.
Although Peter Vincenti almost denied them that late on with a shot that clipped the post and then a header that was somehow clawed off the line by Carson.
Pompey (4-4-2): Carson; Devera, N’Gala, Bradley, Painter; Wallace, Ertl (c), Racon (Padovani 69), Holmes; Agyemang (Barcham 69), Marquis
Goals: Wallace 23, N’Gala 51, 65
Booked: Wallace, Bradley, Ertl, Painter
Subs not used: Smith, Cooper, Butler, Mahon, Craddock
Rochdale (4-2-3-1): Lillis; Bennett, Lancashire (c), O’Connell, Rose (Vincenti 59); Dicker (Hery 63), Lund; Done, Hogan, Henderson; Bunney (Cummins 53)
Subs not used: Thomson, Raferty, Eastham, Allen
Referee: Simon Hooper
Attendance: 15,155 (426 away fans)