Pompey went some way to atoning for their FA Cup exit at Aldershot with a comfortable 3-0 win over Morecambe at Fratton Park yesterday.
Andy Awford made changes to the side as promised with Marcus Bean and Matt Fish making their debuts in place of Nigel Atangana and Alex Wynter whilst Ricky Holmes and Nicky Shorey also made way for Miles Storey and Dan Butler.
The first half was a scrappy affair with Pompey doing most of the pressing but not really creating many opportunities. It took a long throw to undo the Shrimps defence with Craig Westcarr's first shot being blocked before the second attempt found the back of the net on 19 minutes.
The match continued to be a battle of attrition with Ivica Mornar lookalike Kevin Ellison endearing himself to the home fans before testing Paul Jones with a low shot which the Pompey keeper parried away.
Jed Wallace had a couple of chances later in the half with one flying wide and the other looping onto the top of the net but Pompey were given a let off right before the break as Paul Mullin send his header over the bar from yards out after Jack Whatmough had let the ball bounce unchallenged.
The second half was a brighter affair, especially after Pompey scored the second goal on 54 minutes. Storey, playing on the left wing, raced up the pitch and produced a brilliant cross for Wallace who directed his header perfectly beyond Scott Davies to double the lead.
That lead should have increased when Ryan Taylor was one-on-one with Davies but his shot was saved by the Morecambe keeper and he also produced a great stop to prevent Butler's drive going in after another flowing Pompey move.
Taylor missed another great chance to score as he was thwarted by Davies again after he saved two efforts in the box whilst Morecambe's best move of the game saw some neat one-touch football outside the box lead to Ellison curling the ball just wide.
The result was put well and truly beyond doubt on the 88th minute when a long diagonal ball from Storey reached Wallace who showed Taylor how to finish by smashing the ball past Davies to complete the comprehensive win.
It was great to see the team respond in such a fashion after the embarrassment at Aldershot by playing well for 90 minutes, digging in when they had to but also producing the quality to beat an admittedly poor Morecambe side. Had the finishing been better then Pompey could easily have scored six or seven but given the past few results, it's safe to say that most Pompey fans would have settled for three goals and a clean sheet!
The burning question now is can Pompey reproduce this kind of performance away from home? A trip to Tranmere is up next and they are 23rd in League Two with only 12 points to their name and so next week a draw is the least you would expect from Prenton Park.
In fact, the only tricky looking fixture for the rest of the year is the trip to Luton on December 28th so if Andy Awford can find a formula to win games away from home then there's no reason why Portsmouth can't be in a strong position come 2015.
Pompey Player Ratings
Paul Jones: 7 - Made a couple of decent saves and looked commanding as always.
Matt Fish: 7 - Impressive debut that he would have enjoyed.
Paul Robinson: 7 - Won some important headers in the box.
Jack Whatmough: 6 - One error almost costly but solid otherwise.
Dan Butler: 8 - Worked very well with Storey on the left and defended very well.
Jed Wallace: 7 - All-round game was average at best but he scored twice so there can be no complaints.
Marcus Bean: 6 - Solid first match but will face tougher tests.
Danny Hollands: 7 - Worked really hard.
Miles Storey: 8 - Two assists and gave the Shrimps defence a torrid time.
Ryan Taylor: 6 - Link-up play was good but finishing wasn't!
Craig Westcarr: 7 - More threatening in this match alone than in previous three combined.
Nigel Atangana (Bean 90): N/A - No time.