Defeat at Newport County but Andy Awford is convinced the encouraging signs are there for Pompey.
The Blues slipped to a 1-0 loss at Rodney Parade on Saturday, albeit in controversial fashion.
Referee Michael Bull’s failure to award a penalty after Jed Wallace was felled and then to allow Mark Byrne’s winner when the offside flag was raised provided massive talking points.
Nonetheless, for Awford there were plenty of positives for his side, who presented Matt Tubbs with a debut.
Pompey’s away form has been improved of late, with draws at Cheltenham and Luton.
And Awford felt they also deserved to take something from a Newport side undefeated at home since the opening game of the season.
He said: ‘We have to remain positive, stick together and believe it will turn.
‘We’ve had lots of tight defeats.
‘I would be the first to come out and say if it wasn’t good enough but I thought we did okay. I was pleased with the level of performance.
‘If the performances are of the right levels, generally the results take care of themselves.
‘There are the odd games like Saturday but if you keep performances at the level we showed at Luton and then Newport we will win more than we lose. We have to keep believing.
‘That is my job and we need everybody to stick together – me, the fans, the city.
‘We need to stick together and make sure we start climbing the table.
‘We weren’t gung-ho, we were tight, we were solid, we were professional, we were disciplined – all the things we wanted to be.
‘I think we got a lot right Saturday, I really do.
‘Maybe we’ll get the next one.’
Pompey have now won one of their last 10 matches.
It is a run which has also seen them lose six times, slumping down the table to 17th – five points off the relegation zone.
For Awford, the latest result was particularly hard to stomach considering the manner it arrived.
In a tight contest, the in-form Exiles struggled to overcome the visitors throughout, while also clinging on to victory during a testing final five minutes.
And for Awford, the scoreline was difficult to take.
He added: ‘It was a tough one to take, probably the toughest I have to take this year, this season.
‘We have been beaten away from home and at home on other occasions but that one is the toughest I have had to take as manager because I felt it was something out of our control.’
– NEIL ALLEN