Pompey did not look like the same side that had battled their way to the League One summit.
They trailed at the break in their final Checkatrade Trophy group stage encounter against Tottenham under-21s at Fratton Park.
Granted, 11 changes had been made from the weekend, while the Blues already knew they had qualified for the knockout stages.
But there was certainly room for improvement and things got a lot better in the second half, with goals from Andre Green and substitutes Gareth Evans and Oli Hawkins securing victory.
That secured top spot – and a home tie in the next round – and Joe Gallen was pleased at the revival.
Pompey’s assistant manager said: “Tottenham played in a different fashion to what we’re used to in League One and it was all about ball retention.
“So we reorganised things at the break and then started to look more like ourselves, with the final score probably about right.
"It was all about getting those basic things right and that all added up to what was a good second half performance."
“We needed our closing down and pressing to be better, while also putting more crosses into the box and having men running between the posts to convert them.
“It was all about getting those basic things right and that all added up to what was a good second half performance.
“We’re pleased with the win and it keeps our good run going, so it’s disappointing that we don’t have a game on Saturday.”
A knee injury suffered by Brett Pitman opened the door for academy striker Bradley Lethbridge to make his senior debut.
Gallen said: “Brett was down to play, but picked up a very slight knock – it was very much precautionary that he wasn’t involved.
“So Brad came in because he’s been doing well on loan at Bognor and also impressed in the recent FA Youth Cup game.
“He was next in line up front and considering he’s still a second year scholar, I thought he performed very well.”