Pompey were made to sweat as they inched past Peterborough in the searing heat.
Alan McLoughlin’s men should have won yesterday’s opening fixture in the newly-created reserve league at a canter, such was their dominance.
Instead, they were forced to cling on as two Posh goals in the final seven minutes threatened to complete an improbable fightback.
In truth, the scoreline should not have even been close by that stage as a Blues side boasting a strikeforce of Patrick Agyemang and Miles Storey conjured up a procession of goal-scoring chances.
With Ben Close catching the eye in midfield, it was a largely one-sided contest at the Nene Park Academy played in scorching conditions.
Storey had opened the scoring in the 33rd minute from the penalty spot, after Tom Palmer was adjudged to have handled the ball in the Pompey area.
That remained the dividing line by the half-time whistle, although the visitors’ lead should have been considerably more.
On 23 minutes, Agyemang fed Jack Maloney down the right and his angled shot was saved by the feet of keeper Aiden Grant.
Agyemang, marking his first start of the season at any level following a hamstring injury, should have netted a minute later.
Maloney threaded the ball down the middle and the striker powerfully held off two defenders, before sending a shot straight into the keeper’s arms from close range.
At the other end, a cross from the right was met with a far-post header from a Posh triallist but was straight at Michael Poke.
The half finished with the impressive Close putting Agyemang through, but the striker failed to dig out the ball for a clean shot, with Storey blazing over with a follow-up attempt.
After the break, Storey embarked on a driving run down the right past several challenges, before Grant pulled off a save.
Then, on the hour mark, Maloney cut across the penalty area before slipping in Barcham, whose right-foot shot was blocked.
Still Pompey threatened and Storey was the next to waste a glorious opportunity when he latched on to Barcham’s pass, only to volley over the bar.
The visitors did grab a second, though, on 68 minutes when substitute Conor Chaplin was fouled and Close floated in a quick free-kick which was headed home by Barcham.
Barely two minutes later, Close popped up to net a third following an exchange of passes with Agyemang.
It looked game over, and when Grant McCann chipped a 78th-minute penalty over the bar, it was more agony for the under-fire Posh.
But in the 83rd minute Jack Friend pulled one back to provide late hope for a Peterborough side watched by both Darren Ferguson and Barry Fry.
Minutes later, McCann’s shot took a slight deflection and suddenly the Blues were under pressure. Yet McLoughlin’s men held on to see out a 3-2 victory.
For the first-team coach there were also the plus points of Agyemang completing 90 minutes, while Michael Poke also started following his return from injury.
And Pompey’s reserve-team campaign is up and running.
Pompey: Michael Poke, Calvin Davis, Adam Webster, Chad Field,
Dan Butler (60 mins Brandon Haunstrup), Jack Maloney, James Granger (70 mins Lewis Gill), Ben Close, Andy Barcham, Miles Storey (60 mins Conor Chaplin), Patrick Agyemang. Sub Not used: Alex Bass