Pompey Ladies suffered a third successive defeat as they went down 4-2 at title-chasing C&K Basildon, despite an impressive second half fightback.
The hosts took an early lead when Angela Addison cut inside from the left and fired a shot past Robyn Levett.
And the lead was extended midway through the first half, as Laken Duchar-Clark converted Zoe Rushen’s free-kick with a header that went in off the underside of the crossbar.
They struck again before the break, with a long-range effort from Jay Blackie flying into the roof of the net.
The deficit was reduced just after the interval, courtesy of Daisy McLachlan’s fine finish from an acute angle.
But the hosts soon hit back to restore their three-goal advantage, with Addison crossing for twin sister Therese to slot home.
It was Pompey who had the final say, however, with Shannon Albuery finding the target to restore some pride.
Blues boss Jay Sadler told the club’s official YouTube channel: “It was disappointing to come in 3-0 down at half-time because all three goals were avoidable.
"I’m proud of the response from our players and there are a lot of positives that we can take."
“The second half was a massive improvement, though. We got the ball down and were a lot calmer in possession.
“We had to deal with a few decisions that went against us, but there were also chances that we didn’t take.
“No other team has come here and scored two goals this season, although we can’t give ourselves a mountain to climb.
“I’m proud of the response from our players and there are a lot of positives that we can take into the final few weeks of the season.”
Pompey: Levett; Kirby, Southgate, May (Geer 70), Peck; Sievwright; Simmons, Albuery, Boswell (c), McLachlan; Quayle
Subs not used: Currie, Perkins