There was a banana skin lying in wait as Pompey looked to extend their fine run of form.
But a trip to bottom-of-the-table Crewe was negotiated with relative ease to send the 1,050 travelling fans home happy.
George Hirst twice scored with his head, either side of Tyler Walker’s first goal for the club to seal a 3-1 victory.
And Danny Cowley was delighted with a result that closed the gap to sixth position to just five points.
The Blues boss said: “It was an extremely professional performance from us on what was a very difficult surface.
“We were facing a Crewe side who are dangerous when they go behind, but we stayed compact and were ruthless on the counter-attack.
“The early goal certainly gave us a good place in the game and that allowed us to pick them off, although perhaps we could have seen it out with more control.
"It was really important to us that we gave them a strong performance and make sure they had something to celebrate on that long journey home."
“We were a little bit disjointed at the end after making some changes to protect players, but I was pleased with a lot of what I saw.
“That’s 19 points from the past 21 available, which is nice return and we needed to be humble, driven and together.
“We’ve invested a lot of time and energy into this fixture, having to come here twice, and have spoken about the fans making that journey.
“It was really important to us that we gave them a strong performance and make sure they had something to celebrate on that long journey home.”
Hirst’s brace means that the on-loan Leicester striker has now found the target six times in his past six appearances.
Cowley said: “George is just a really good kid, who is in a great place at the moment and is such an important member of our team.
“He's worked so hard to get to this moment and it’s not easy leading the line in game after game – but he’s doing it magnificently.”