Pompey ended their run of four matches without a win with a deserved 2-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle at Fratton Park.
The first half was as dire as they come. Both sides were guilty of giving the ball away far too often but even that lack of quality didn't lead to any cheap chances for either team.
Matt Tubbs drilled a shot at Luke McCormick in the first minute but that was Pompey's only shot on target in the first half whilst Paul Jones only had one effort to deal with himself.
Plymouth might have felt they should have taken the lead towards the end of the half as an attack saw them cut the Pompey defence open with three players forward, only for Jason Banton to send the ball harmlessly wide of the far post.
Thankfully, the second half got off to a flyer thanks to a superb strike by Jed Wallace. He cut inside and curled the ball into the top corner of the net, giving McCormick no chance of saving it.
That goal saw the home side get a better grip of the game in the second half without Argyle causing too many problems. They did send one dangerous ball across the Milton End goal that looked like it was going to be converted but the makeshift Pompey defence were doing a excellent job of keeping the visitors' strikers quiet.
The game looked to have been won when Ryan Taylor bravely headed in Dan Butler's cross in the 76th minute but Plymouth got one back immediately as some poor defending saw the ball drop nicely for Olly Lee who volleyed it into the top corner to set up a tense finish at Fratton Park.
Jones ensured the lead was preserved by magnificently beating away Lee's close range strike which looked destined to equalise. Any real hope of Plymouth getting a result from the game was effectively ended when Andy D'Urso showed Curtis Nelson a second yellow card for a late challenge on Wallace as Pompey saw the game out comfortably.
Much praise for this win has to go to the two centre backs today. Much was made of how Reuben Reid and co. were going to have a field day against a patched-up Pompey defence but Joe Devera and Nyron Nosworthy kept them under wraps, with Reid barely having a sniff at goal.
Wallace didn't have his greatest game today but he still pulled something special out of the bag and that's why he is so coveted by other clubs. Hopefully Awford can convince him to stay, but if a big Championship club comes calling for him then he'll surely be off.
One player who didn't really shine today was Tubbs and that's understandable given that he was playing on the right of an attacking midfield trio whilst Taylor was in the thick of it playing up top on his own. The 4-2-3-1 formation simply can't be a long term solution if it means the best striker Pompey has does not play in his favoured position.
Overall, it was a good win considering the circumstances. There isn't much to play for and Plymouth were poor but the result keeps Pompey firmly in the race for the prestigous mid-table trophy and they face a huge match with Morecambe next week to determine which team is going to be the most average in League Two this season.
Pompey Player Ratings
Paul Jones: 7 - A couple of smart saves and dominant in the box.
Josh Passley: 5 - Had a stinker in the first half but improved in the second.
Joe Devera: 7 - Kept Reid quiet and generally solid.
Nyron Nosworthy: 7 - A massive improvement on the Shrewsbury debacle. Calm on the ball.
Dan Butler: 6 - Still not at his best but bagged an assist for Taylor.
James Dunne: 6 - Not outstanding but did his job.
Nigel Atangana: 4 - Passing was atrocious.
Matt Tubbs: 5 - Barely in the game.
Jed Wallace: 7 - Another quality strike.
Wes Fogden: 6 - Still finding his fitness.
Ryan Taylor: 7 - Goal added to decent overall play.
Danny Hollands (Wallace 90): N/A - Brought on to hold the ball and waste time.
Craig Westcarr (Tubbs 90): N/A - No time.