Pompey were denied a winning start to the new decade after Gillingham grabbed a late equaliser at Priestfield.
Gareth Evans had given the Blues a deserved lead after being restored to the side for the New Year’s Day encounter.
But their hosts improved after the interval and Alex Jakubiak came off the bench to earn them a share of the spoils.
Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that were beaten at MK Dons in the final fixture of 2019.
Alex Bass was handed a rare start between the sticks, while Evans also returned, as Craig MacGillivray and Andy Cannon dropped to the bench.
In a scrappy opening to the contest, it was the hosts – who had won their past seven Priestfield fixtures – who were first to threaten.
An acrobatic overhead effort from skipper Max Ehmer was bravely blocked by his counterpart Tom Naylor.
Then, after a long throw had found its way across to Oliver Lee in the box – a cleanly-struck effort was well saved by Bass.
But the Blues soon began to look more threatening and, certainly in terms of chances created, dominated the rest of the half.
A free-kick from Evans was nodded straight up in the air by Christian Burgess and unconvincingly punched away by Jack Bonham.
That led to a scramble in the box and when the ball eventually landed for Evans, the keeper made amends with a smart stop.
It was an impressive opening for the recalled Evans, who had another opportunity to break the deadlock on 18 minutes.
He nipped in to get on the end of James Bolton’s low cross following a neat one-two with Marcus Harness, but Ehmer blocked his shot and Barry Fuller hacked the loose ball to safety.
It was Harness who was next to try his luck after an intended pass for Ellis Harrison rebounded back into his path, with Bonham getting down to save the resulting attempt.
Gillingham were doing little to test Bass and Connor Ogilvie nodded Lee’s corner wide at the near post.
But it was Pompey who forged ahead on 36 minutes and it was no surprise that the lively EVANS got the all-important goal.
He raced into the middle of the area to meet a low delivery from Harness and lash the ball into the roof of the net.
The hosts came close to levelling late in the half after former Fratton loanee Stuart O’Keefe charged into the box and hit a fierce strike against the crossbar.
Pompey then had the ball in the net again in stoppage-time, as Bonham and Curtis both rose to meet Naylor’s up and under.
The keeper dropped the ball against his opponent and saw it roll into the net, but referee Alan Young awarded a free-kick against the Irish winger.
Half Time: Gillingham 0 Pompey 1
Gillingham looked much brighter once the action restarted and Naylor did well to head Tom O’Connor’s corner to safety.
Barry Fuller then sent a dangerous deep cross into the box and Ehmer’s angled shot was well saved by Bass.
The keeper also kept out Mikael Mandron’s attempt from long-range, although that was a more comfortable stop for the academy graduate.
Pompey looked dangerous on the break, though, and when Bonham flapped at an Anton Walkes cross, Naylor sent the loose ball narrowly past the post.
It was all getting rather frantic, with the action quickly switching from one end of the pitch to the other.
Brandon Hanlan was allowed to run at the Blues back-line on 67 minutes, although his drilled effort was easily gathered by Bass.
A corner from Evans then gave the visitors a chance to double the lead, with Ellis Harrison’s improvised flick going just wide.
But it took a fine save from Bass to keep them ahead soon after, with the keeper getting his fingertips to Fuller’s vicious curling attempt from outside the box.
And the Gills were level with 10 minutes remaining, as Alfie Jones forced a pass through to Jakubiak, with the substitute slotting past Bass.
Jackett soon made a double switch, with Evans and Harrison replaced by Oli Hawkins and John Marquis.
The display of six additional minutes gave both sets of fans hope that their side could find a last-gasp winner.
But aside from a 25-yard Ben Close effort that flew over the top, neither side came close to scoring again.
Gillingham (4-1-2-1-2): Bonham; Fuller, Ehmer (c), Tucker, Ogilvie; Jones; O’Keefe (Marshall 70), O’Connor; Lee; Mandron (Jakubiak 70), Hanlan
Goals: Jakubiak 80
Subs not used: Walsh, Hodson, Pringle, Charles-Cook, Ndjoli
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Walkes; Naylor (c), Close; Harness, Evans (Hawkins 83), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 83)
Goals: Evans 36
Booked: Evans, Naylor, Raggett
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Mnoga, Downing, Cannon, Pitman
Referee: Alan Young
Attendance: 5,724 (1,180 Pompey fans)