Pompey recovered from an interval deficit to win their first ‘public’ pre-season friendly of the summer at neighbours Havant & Waterlooville.
Ryan Tunnicliffe was on target for his new club, but fine strikes from Tommy Wright and James Roberts put the National League South hosts into the ascendency.
It was a different story in the second half, however, as one of the Blues’ many trialists hit a hat-trick, while Reeco Hackett-Fairchild was also on target.
There was a minute's applause held before kick-off in memory of former Fratton favourite Paul Mariner, who passed away the previous day at the age of 68.
It was a strange sight to see so many fans inside a football ground again, with Pompey supporters making up a large percentage of the attendance.
They saw a fairly familiar first half line-up, with just the one trialist on display before the interval underneath gloomy Westleigh Park skies.
And those inside the ground were given a first glimpse of summer signings Clark Robertson, Shaun Williams and Tunnicliffe.
Pompey started brightly and dominated possession in the opening stages, while Jamie Collins was booked for hauling down John Marquis as he raced through on goal.
But it was the home side that broke the deadlock on 11 minutes, courtesy of a fine long-range strike from Wright.
It did not take long for a leveller to arrive, however, with Curtis picking up the ball and surging forward.
He cut along the edge of the box and found Marcus Harness, who in turn laid the ball off for TUNNICLIFFE to lash home.
And the Hawks had Ross Worner to thank for not falling behind, with the keeper quickly off his line to deny Marquis.
He made an even better save from the same player moments later after the striker had been picked out by a fine Tunnicliffe pass.
Instead it was the Hawks who forged back into the lead on 31 minutes, with Roberts beating Alex Bass with an impressive angled effort.
Pompey finished the half on top as they tried to find another equaliser, but the Hawks held on to go in ahead at the interval.
Half Time: Hawks 2 Pompey 1
Cowley rang the changes at the break, bringing on eight trialists, as well as Haji Mnoga and Hackett-Fairchild.
And the newcomers soon showed their intent, with a couple of the unnamed players testing Worner in quick succession.
One of them – designated the ‘TRIALIST H’ moniker – soon levelled by hooking home when a corner ran loose in the box.
TRAILIST H then doubled his personal tally by nodding into the net at the second attempt after his first strike had been saved.
And HACKETT-FAIRCHILD joined the party on 69 minutes, cutting inside from the right and expertly bending the ball past Worner’s grasp.
Pompey were looking like scoring with every attack, with Worner being kept busy in between the sticks.
So it came as no surprise when the visitors grabbed a fifth late on, as Hackett-Fairchild teed-up TRIALIST H to complete his hat-trick with a neat turn and finish.
The Blues kept pushing forward in search of more goals as the seconds ticked down, but had to be content with just a five-goal haul.
Hawks (3-4-3): Worner; Magri, Collins (Clifford 46), Oastler (c); Passley (Widdrington 57), Rooney, McCarthy, Newton (Bright 88); Roberts (Baggie 57), Wall (Rendell 46), Wright (Rowe 57)
Goals: Wright 11, Roberts 31
Sub not used: Searle
Pompey (4-3-3): Bass (Trialist B 46); Johnson (Trialist J 68), Downing (c) (Mnoga 46), Robertson (Trialist C 46), Brown (Trialist D 46); Tunnicliffe (Trialist E 46), Williams (Trialist F 46), Trialist A (Trialist G 46); Harness (Hackett-Fairchild 46), Marquis (Trialist H 46), Curtis (Trialist I 46)
Goals: Tunnicliffe 18, Trialist ‘H’ 55, 56, 81, Hackett-Fairchild 69
Referee: Dean Treleavan