Pompey booked an FA Cup fourth round date with AFC Bournemouth following a deserved 2-1 victory over Championship side Ipswich tonight.
Paul Cook opted to play a full strength side fr the replay despite Saturday's upcoming match against Oxford whilst Mick McCarthy made eleven changes to his side and ultimately paid the price.
Brett Pitman had an early chance to give the visitors the lead when his lobbed effort landed on top of the net but otherwise it was Pompey who did all of the pressing with some slick attacking moves that the Ipswich defence did well todeal with.
The pressure was turned up a notch after the half-hour as Bartosz "Scummer" Bialkowski had to force a save from Marc McNulty who had been put through by the excellent Adam Barton.
The breakthrough was coming and it arrived when Piotr Malarczyk was penalised for a clear foul on Gary Roberts in the box. The former Ipswich man stepped up to take the spot kick and although Bialkowski got his hand to it, the ball simply ricocheted off his fingertips and into the net to give Pompey the lead.
The home fans had even more to cheer just minutes after thanks to some excellent play down the right which led to Gareth Evans producing a wonderful left-footed cross that McNulty deftly headed in to double the advantage and deservedly so going into the break.
The Sheffield United loanee really should have wrapped the tie up early in the second half as Roberts produced a lovely backheel for Evans who slid the ball through but McNulty, one-on-one with Bialkowski, could only strike the ball at the keeper and then send the rebound sailing over the bar and into the Fratton End.
Michael Doyle then struck the ball narrowly wide after Kyle Bennett teed him up from the free kick as Pompey continued to dominate only to be suckerpunched just minutes later.
Arsenal loanee Alex Maitland-Niles evaded a challenge from Doyle before unleashing a shot from distance that curled into the top corner. There was no blaming Brian Murphy for that one, that's for sure!
That goal should have woken the lethargic Tractor Boys but they never really looked like finding an equaliser, especially when Malarczyk was sent off for a second bookable offence after bringing Roberts down when he would have had a clear run at goal.
There were a couple of half-chances to put the tie to bed but it didn't matter as Pompey eased to the final whistle and claim themselves a first FA Cup scalp over opposition two divisions higher than them since 1909.
Once again, this was another excellent team performance where everyone played their part.
One defensive mishap aside, Christian Burgess looked like he had never been away whilst Adam Webster gets better and better. The pair of them never gave Luke Varney a sniff whilst Pitman also cut a forlorn figure thanks to the limited service he received.
The full backs were their usual excellent selves whilst Barton arguably played his best game in a Pompey shirt. The attacking quartet also never let up and added quality to their workrate, giving the Ipswich players little time on the ball. The scoreline ended up flattering Mick McCarthy's men, in the end.
The result now means Premier League Bournemouth come to Fratton Park on Saturday, January 30th for a 3pm kick-off and therefore the league match at Barnet will be moved to a Tuesday night. In other news, Accrington Stanley won their first of their three games in hand on Portsmouth and are now two points behind them in the League Two table.
Still, that won't matter so much if Pompey can repeat tonight's performance on Saturday against Oxford and take all three points in their biggest match of the season so far.
Pompey Player Ratings
Brian Murphy: 6 - Had no chance with the goal and was composed otherwise.
Ben Davies: 7 - Another consistent performance.
Christian Burgess: 7 - Slotted in seamlessly.
Adam Webster: 8 - Calm and assured. Such a transformation from last season.
Enda Stevens: 7 - Shored up the back line well.
Michael Doyle: 7 - Typical all-action showing.
Adam Barton: 8 - So much quality on the ball. Rarely wasted a pass.
Gareth Evans: 8 - Great cross for the second and involved in every potent Pompey attack.
Gary Roberts: 8 - Is getting back to his best.
Kyle Bennett: 7 - Caused problems with work ethic alone.
Marc McNulty: 7 - Should have scored more than one.
Ben Close (Burgess 85): N/A - Solidified the midfield.
Conor Chaplin (Roberts 82): N/A - No need to make an impact in this game.