According to Ben Davies, Accrington witnessed Pompey’s finest opening 45 minutes of football this season.
Yet the right-back was at a loss to explain how they had subsequently plunged to the depths of Saturday.
We wanted to be up and at them, the gaffer emphasised from the start to get at them and get the tempo right. For some reason it wasn’t thereBen Davies
The Blues turned in an awful performance as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Newport County.
Only days earlier their promotion hopes had been stoked up with that magnificent Crown Ground 3-1 victory.
Then the Exiles visited Fratton Park to inflict an unhappy afternoon which also saw Gary Roberts sent off for two bookable offences.
Pompey were indistinguishable from their previous performance – and Davies was left scratching his head to uncover the reasons.
He said: ‘The result was brilliant on Tuesday, I think that is why the gaffer was so disappointed with the Newport game.
‘That Accrington first-half was probably the best we have played all season, it looked so good and people were coming away from the game saying we could get promoted.
‘Then we came home and just couldn’t get going.
‘I can’t put my finger on it, we prepared in exactly the same way and tried everything like we normally do, but it didn’t come off for us.
‘We don’t want to make excuses after coming off the back of three away games. The lads felt good, we trained Friday and were sharp, yet just couldn’t get going for the match.
‘We wanted to be up and at them, the gaffer emphasised from the start to get at them and get the tempo right. For some reason it wasn’t there.
‘Even when we have drawn 0-0 we have always had spells in games where we have been at it. On Saturday it seemed a bit flat.
‘If you don’t get the tempo and energy in any performance you are not going to get the result and that was probably as flat as we had been for a long time.
‘We had one chance in the first-half when the keeper made a good save but other than that I can’t really remember him doing anything in the opening 45 minutes.
‘We have a few days now to get a rest and try to put our fingers on what happened.
‘We will be trying to put it right this week, get everything worked out and ready for Mansfield game.’
Elsewhere in League Two, Oxford United lost at home to Leyton Orient, while Accrington defeated Plymouth.
It leaves Paul Cook’s side as they were in terms of lying six points adrift of the automatic promotion spots.
However, the Blues now find themselves down to sixth.
He added: ‘Fair play to Newport, they played two up front and gave it a bit of a go and won 3-0. You take your hats off to teams, shake their hands and then you move on.
‘We got ourselves in a great position and then had a disappointing display.
‘But we will keep plugging away, keep working hard and keep believing in ourselves.
‘We are up against it, we are six points behind with 10 games to go and probably need seven or eight wins.
‘However, we are more than capable of doing it.’