It looked like 2018 was going to get off to a winning start for Pompey.
Oliver Hawkins had bagged his third goal in two games to give the large travelling army cause for new year cheer.
But Bristol Rovers netted twice in the final six minutes at the Memorial Stadium to instead ensure the Blues began with a defeat.
And Matt Clarke conceded that the manner in which they surrendered the points was a bitter pill to swallow.
He said: “It’s pretty devastating to be honest and to end up losing the way that we did is tough to take.
“Bristol Rovers had a lot of possession in our half, but we were able to withstand that for long periods of the game.
"We want to be a team pushing upwards and this was a missed chance to stamp our authority on the top six."
“I wouldn’t say we were comfortable, but felt that we could hold on and obviously that wasn’t the case.
“You can’t use the pitch as an excuse because Bristol Rovers passed the ball quite well on it and we had to move it better.
“We want to be a team pushing upwards and this was a missed chance to stamp our authority on the top six.
“The teams just below us will be thankful that we’ve lost and see it as an opportunity to perhaps overtake us.
“We didn’t expect to dominate away from home, but it was just disappointing that we couldn’t hold on to our lead.”
Pompey secured the League One title in 2017 and Clarke hopes the year ahead can provide even more joy.
He said: “It was a good period for us and I’m just going to look to keep developing and playing games during the next 12 months.
“We’ll be working as hard as we can to try to make sure that 2018 ends up being even better than 2017.”