Kenny Jackett hailed Pompey’s work-rate following a midweek victory over Lincoln at Fratton Park.
John Marquis netted the only goal from close range after keeper Josh Vickers had kept out Christian Burgess’ firm header.
It was not pretty at times, but Craig MacGillivray never really looked like relinquishing a clean sheet from that point.
And while Jackett wants to see more attacking flair, he was pleased with the outcome against the Imps.
The Blues boss said: “The players worked ever so hard and really grafted for each other to earn the clean sheet.
“I think Lincoln’s one proper chance was from a corner when the ball pinged around and popped into Craig’s arms.
“But we looked dangerous from our own set-pieces and were able to score from one of them, with John in the right place.
"The work ethic of all the players was fantastic. That’s a really big thing and we dug in when it was needed."
“He put in a great – and industrious – performance and it’s a great feeling for a centre-forward to get the winner.
“We have some defensive stability now. It’s a goal a game conceded in the league, which is somewhere near where we want to be.
“Now we want to build on that and go forward with those three guys just behind the striker and those full-backs coming out at the right time.
“I thought we cut Wimbledon open more on Saturday in terms of opportunities, while this was a different game.
“But the work ethic of all the players was fantastic. That’s a really big thing and we dug in when it was needed.”
Jackett had made one change from the side who were unfortunate to lose at the weekend, with Ross McCrorie replacing James Bolton at the back.
He said: “I just felt that we needed more of an attacking player and an athlete on that side of the pitch.
“Ross has played well there for us earlier in the season and three of his four games for Scotland under-21s have been at right-back as well.
“I’m sure he’ll be buoyed by his second half performance in particular because you could see the running power. There was a glimpse of the potential he’s got.”