It looked like being a miserable start to the 2020/21 campaign for Pompey at Stevenage.
On an unseasonably wet and cold August bank holiday weekend, they made a nightmare start to their Carabao Cup first round tie.
The League Two hosts were the welcome recipients of some extremely generous defending to take 2-0 and 3-1 leads.
But thanks to Ronan Curtis’ strike and a Gareth Evans penalty they remained in contention, while John Marquis levelled during second half that that the visitors dominated.
Craig MacGillivray came on after the break and was ultimately the hero, saving three penalties in the shoot-out to send Pompey through.
Kenny Jackett was pleased with the way his side fought back, but knows they have to be meaner at the back.
The Blues boss said: “It was an end-to-end game and we gave ourselves some problems early on. Stevenage were a handful – particularly from set-pieces.
“For the first goal, it seemed like Sean had got a shout, although their second and third ones were down to us, so we’re disappointed.
"We have to start better than that because we gave ourselves a mountain to climb, although the fact we ultimately went through shows our character."
“But we got a good one back through Ronan and could have had others before the penalty from Gareth.
“We knew that if we could shore things up at the back, then we’d be able to get forward and cause problems.
“There was more rhythm from us, we played some nice football and created a lot of chances, with a good run and finish from John.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the winner in normal time, but it was a more confident and assured performance than the first half.
“There were some fantastic saves from Craig in the penalty shoot-out and he really did show terrific agility.
“We have to start better than that because we gave ourselves a mountain to climb, although the fact we ultimately went through shows our character.”
Alex Bass was replaced by MacGillivray at the interval, but Jackett has faith in both of his goalkeepers.
He said: “It was a tough first half for him and Craig’s done very well in pre-season, which is the sign of a true professional.
“But Alex was terrific for us since Christmas and has shown a lot of promise. I’ve always been confident in both of them – and still am.”