An experienced Pompey Reserves side suffered a 2-1 defeat to Exeter at St James Park in the Premier League Cup.
The Blues already knew they were unable to qualify from their group, while their opponents were trying to secure top spot.
And goals from Ben Seymour and Jordan Dyer gave them a comfortable lead before substitute Stan Bridgman hit back.
It was a strong team named by the visitors, with plenty of first team experience in the starting line-up.
Jack Whatmough, Ross McCrorie, Lee Brown – who wore the captain’s armband – and Brandon Haunstrup all continued their quest for match fitness following time out injured.
They were joined in the side by Paul Downing, Oli Hawkins, Adam May and January signing Reeco Hackett-Fairchild.
And there was a competitive start to the contest, with McCrorie booked in just the second minute for a late challenge.
Hackett-Fairchild then showed neat control to get into a shooting position, only to send the ball off target.
Instead it was Exeter who broke the deadlock on 15 minutes, as Seymour collected a pass from Joel Randall and lifted the ball over namesake Taylor Seymour.
There were not an abundance of clear-cut chances, although it was Pompey who looked more likely to add to the scoring as the half progressed.
Hawkins was proving a nuisance and after collecting a long clearance up the pitch, his effort was well saved by Jack Arthur.
The striker then wanted a penalty following a collision with the keeper, but saw his appeals waved away by the referee.
Arthur was the busier of the two keepers and was called into action again on 32 minutes to tip over a fierce drive from Gerard Storey.
The Blues were dealt a blow late in the first half with Hawkins replaced by Alfie Stanley after suffering a head injury.
There was one more chance for them to get back on level terms before the break, although May’s shot was comfortably dealt with after a Haunstrup free-kick had been nodded clear.
Half Time: Exeter 1 Pompey 0
Pompey continued to see a lot of the ball once the action restarted, but did not do enough to test Arthur.
McCrorie did well to beat Brennan Dickenson down the right and sent in a cross that was nodded over by Stanley.
The Scotland under-21 international then teed-up Hackett-Fairchild, whose long-range strike flew over the bar.
And the forward was clearly frustrated when a free-kick went against the visitors soon after, kicking the ball away to earn a booking.
Exeter then looked to have wrapped up all three points when a volley from Dyer managed to sneak inside the post.
But the Blues quickly reduced their deficit, as BRIDGMAN rose highest at the back post to head home from a corner.
They tried to find an equaliser, although the hosts almost scored again on the break, with Seymour not quite able to get on the end of Randall’s delivery.
McCrorie sent a half-volley wide of the post in the closing stages, but Pompey were unable to snatch a point.
Exeter: Arthur; Diabate, Dyer, Hartridge (c); Randall, Kite, Dean, Holmes (Chrisene 70), Dickenson (Key 57); Seymour, Fisher (Wilson 73)
Subs not used: Stafford, Iseguan
Pompey: Seymour; McCrorie, Downing, Whatmough, Brown (c); May, Storey (Rew 73); Brook (Bridgman 61), Hackett-Fairchild, Haunstrup; Hawkins (Stanley 40)
Subs not used: Robb, Teggart