One point out of fifteen, with only one goal to show for the efforts, had dumped the team into the relegation zone and dumped its fans into depression. But a convincing win over Tottenham meant Pompey leapfrogged their opponents - and Blackburn and Leicester - in what could turn out to be the tightest relegation battle yet.
Teddy Sheringham and Tim Sherwood were pumped for the battle against the club they were deemed surplus to requirements at, but it was Patrik Berger, with two stunning free kicks, who took the plaudits.
In truth, Tottenham, who would have replaced Portsmouth in the relegation zone but for an injury time equaliser at Leicester, were more poor than Portsmouth were good, but as soon as Patrik's 35 yard freekick went past Kasey Keller in the 53rd minute, the result seemed rarely in doubt as Tottenham failed to get to grips with the second half.
Indeed, Tottenham's final shot of any real threat came just before half time as Robbie Keane forced Harald Wapennar into action, the Dutch keeper pulling off a fine stop as if to suggest to Harry Redknapp: don't go wasting your money on another keeper just yet.
Although Stephen Carr cleared from the line from Arjan de Zeeuw in the first half and Yakubu missed a late one on one with Kasey Keller, the result was fair as Portsmouth claimed their first win since crushing Leeds in early November. One consolation for Spurs fans is that neither of their old boys capped the win: Sheringham was quiet all game and Sherwood was stretched off in the final ten minutes.
Although Sherwood has come in for criticism lately, the last thing Pompey needed was another midfield injury and that is why Portsmouth have as much to worry about as Tottenham for the rest of the season. A trip to Chelsea, out for redemption after two straight defeats, does not seem to be the ideal place to follow this win.