A youthful Pompey Reserves side were beaten 1-0 at Doncaster in the Premier League Cup.
Luke McGee was the only senior player selected for the opening fixture in Group D of the under-23 competition, which also includes Aston Villa and Exeter.
And the only goal for the more experienced hosts came in the opening stages, with Joe Wright heading home from a free-kick
The Blues had opportunities to take something out of the contest, but were unable to find an equaliser at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Academy manager Mark Kelly said: “It was a really good display from the kids against a strong, powerful Doncaster side.
“We got opened up in the early stages, although then settled into the game and we were pleased with the boys, who were giving a lot away in terms of age.
“They had quite a few boys with first team experience, but after getting to grips with our shape, we played some excellent football at times.
"We were pleased with the boys, who were giving a lot away in terms of age."
“We were brave with what we were trying to and it was just that cutting edge in the final third that was missing.
“There were a few good opportunities. Josh Flint hit their lad on the line, Bradley Lethbridge sent one over the bar and there were other bits and pieces.
“Compared to what we were up against, the boys handled themselves really well and showed a high standard of football.
“Luke McGee was the skipper for the night and did a very professional job. He was great with the back four and the rest of the team.”
Pompey: McGee (c); Kavanagh, Robb, Kelly, Hancott; Storey (Bridgman 85), Rew; Flint, Lethbridge (Anderson 75), Teggart; Stanley (Bell 62)
Subs not used: L.Pitman, Lee