It was a first half that might have got Sky Sports viewers reaching for the remote.
But Kenny Jackett felt that Pompey’s performance before the break set the tone for their victory at Gillingham.
Matty Kennedy grabbed the only goal 26 seconds after the restart when Curtis Main’s header came back off the woodwork.
And Jackett was pleased that a stingy back-line display meant the hosts rarely looked like finding Luke McGee’s net.
The Blues boss said: “It keeps us in touch with the top teams and I don’t really think we’ve hit top form yet this season.
“We had good control of the game and saw a lot of the ball, while it was great to come away with the clean sheet.
"Sometimes it’s about defending well to stay in it and then taking your chances in the second period."
“We were able to get the ball out wide and into the danger areas against a back five who were tough to break down.
“That happened more and more as the game went on. Sometimes it’s about defending well to stay in it and then taking your chances in the second period.
“We’ve had a high number of changes in our back four, but I felt that Hawkins would be needed because of the amount of headers we’d have to win.
“We battled well at the back and kept it tight, which allowed us to then get the ball to our danger players.
“Our fans are so good and noisy that we know they can lift us if we’re kicking towards them in the second half.”
Gillingham had an equaliser ruled out for offside, while Sean Clare’s penalty appeals after being tripped by Oliver Hawkins had earlier been waved away.
Jackett said: “Maybe yes, maybe no – and perhaps it was outside the box. But there was also some pronounced shirt pulling from them on Matt Clarke, so it was either none or both.
“I’ve been able to see the disallowed goal again and it was only slightly offside – but it was definitely offside.”