Wallace and Taylor down Pilgrims
Jed Wallace and Ryan Taylor were on target as Pompey returned to winning ways by beating promotion-chasing Plymouth at Fratton Park.
After a largely insipid first half, it was Wallace who lifted the home fans with another superb strike just after the interval.
Taylor then headed home a second to settle the nerves and seemingly secure all three points.
But Olly Lee immediately pulled one back with an impressive finish of his own to ensure a nervy finale.
Pompey held on, however, and Plymouth had to play the last few minutes with 10 men after skipper Curtis Nelson was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Andy Awford made one enforced change from the side that drew at Carlisle on Good Friday.
With Ben Chorley suffering a back injury at Brunton Park, he was replaced by Nyron Nosworthy at the heart of Pompey’s defence.
The hosts started brightly and came close to breaking the deadlock in the opening seconds when Wes Fogden fed Matt Tubbs.
He went racing clear down the right and drilled in a low shot that Luke McCormick just about kept out with his foot.
But that was the only time that the Pilgrims keeper was tested in a stop-start first half that saw both sides guilty of losing possession.
Paul Jones did not have too much to do at the other end, although he did get down quickly to his left to push clear Zak Ansah’s effort on seven minutes.
And he then tore quickly off his line to deny Dominic Blizzard after the midfielder had collected a pass from Reuben Reid.
The Blues were struggling to find any fluency going forward, with some sloppy passing putting paid to many a foray forward.
Nosworthy and Fogden were doing their best to lift the Fratton faithful, however, with some crunching – but fair – tackles to win the ball back.
Dan Butler then did well to beat his man down the left and swing in a teasing cross that just evaded the waiting Tubbs and Taylor.
And the visitors had a chance of their own just before the break, only for Jason Banton to drag his shot wide.
Half Time: Pompey 0 Plymouth 0
Whatever Awford said to his troops at the break had the desired effect as the Blues broke the deadlock just 53 seconds after the restart.
It was another fine effort from WALLACE who cut inside from the right and curled an unstoppable left-footed finish into the bottom corner.
That did not usher in a period of exciting play, however, with nothing more of note occurring as the hour mark came and went.
It took until the 69th minute for the next chance to arrive, with Taylor’s cross just out of reach for a stretching Fogden at the far post.
Plymouth came close to levelling moments later when Lewis Alessandra’s corner was flicked on by Nelson, but Ansah could not divert it home from close range.
Instead Pompey forged further ahead on 76 minute, as Butler swung in a superb delivery from the left and TAYLOR got in front of Tareiq Holmes-Dennis to emphatically head home.
But rather than enjoy a comfortable coast to the end, Argyle almost immediately reduced the deficit.
A cross from the left was only partially cleared and substitute Lee volleyed past a helpless Jones from the edge of the box.
The Pilgrims were now pouring forward at every opportunity and Jones made a fine instinctive save to stop Lee levelling from close range on 85 minutes.
Their cause was not helped late on, however, when Nelson fouled Wallace and received his second yellow card of the afternoon by referee Andy D’Urson, followed swiftly by a red.
And the Blues saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to ensure plenty of Easter cheer at Fratton Park.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Passley, Nosworthy, Devera, Butler; Dunne, Atangana; Tubbs (Westcarr 90+2), Fogden, Wallace (Hollands 90); Taylor (c)
Goals: Wallace 46, Taylor 76
Subs not used: Cornell, Webster, Shorey, Close, Chaplin
Plymouth (3-4-1-2): McCormick; Nelson (c), McHugh (Lee 64), Hartley; Jones, B.Reid, Blizzard, Holmes-Dennis; Ansah (Brunt 77); Banton (Alessandra 62), R.Reid
Goals: Lee 78
Sent off: Nelson (two yellow cards)
Subs not used: Bittner, Mellor, Purrington, Cox
Referee: Andy D’Urso
Attendance: 16,581 (1,780 away fans)