The first Fratton fixture of 2020 threatened to turn into a damp squib.
Pompey dominated against AFC Wimbledon, only to see Joe Pigott cancel out Marcus Harness’ first half opener.
But John Marquis came off the bench to convert a Ronan Curtis delivery and ensure that just goal difference would be keeping the hosts outside League One’s top six.
And Kenny Jackett was pleased with the way his side saw off a stubborn Dons outfit to maintain their impressive record on the south coast.
The Blues boss said: “It was a different kind of match to the ones against Ipswich and Wycombe, but certainly no easier to get the win.
“Wimbledon could sit off with their three at the back and are hard to get past – that was their game-plan.
“We persevered and it was a really good winner, with Ronan’s cross and John’s flick into the corner of the net.
"Momentum needs to be built in the second half of the season and this result will give the players confidence."
“It’s important you keep driving on right to the end and we want to keep being the team who score the late goals and create chances.
“I was always expecting a hard test and we’re pleased to come through to end what’s been a positive week for us.
“We’ve won three games 2-1 in different competitions, but this one is obviously the most important to us.
“Momentum needs to be built in the second half of the season and this result will give the players confidence.”
Jack Whatmough was a welcome inclusion on the bench after spending almost a year out with a knee injury.
Jackett said: “He’s had a good spell of training since November – it’s almost been like a pre-season period for him.
“If we’d have been in a slightly more comfortable position then I would have put him on against Wimbledon.
“There’s a reserve game down in Plymouth on Tuesday that he’ll play in and now he’s available for first team selection.
“His knee has reacted positively to the training he’s done and we all know what a quality centre-half Jack is.”