HARTLEPOOL United suffered a tough first 45 minutes at Portsmouth, going into the break 1-0 down at Fratton Park.
Portsmouth took a second minute lead through Adam Webster.
Pools brought in Andy Rafferty for his first start of the season at Fratton Par.
The keeper replaced Scott Flinders, who has been suffering from a migraine.
Rated as one of the best goalies in League Two, Flinders has been suffering from headaches over the last two days and while he travelled to the South Coast, he felt too ill to play.
Highly-rated Rafferty has been at Pools for three seasons but his opportunities have been limited.
He came on as a sub at Nottingham Forest in the Capital One Cup earlier in the season.
Boss Colin Cooper made one further change, bringing in James Poole for Jonathan Franks.
Rafferty was picking the ball out of his net inside the first 90 seconds.
Pools conceded a free-kick out on the left which Ricky Holmes swung into the box. Ryan Taylor headed towards goal, with Rafferty making a great save, diving to his right.#
But WEBSTER was there to put the rebound into the empty Pools net.
And it should have been 2-0 inside three minutes.
Wes Fogden was brought down in the box by a poorly-executed Christian Burgess tackle.
Referee Andy D’Urso pointed to the spot but Ryan Taylor saw his penalty superbly saved diving low to his right, with Ricky Holmes skying the rebound.
Pools looked shell-shocked and were struggling to keep the ball.
But they saw their first sight of the home goal in the ninth minute.
James Poole did well down the right and Jack Barmby tried his luck from the edge of the area, his left-foot shot going wide of Trevor Carson’s right-hand post.
It was tough going for Pools but they were not helping their cause by puttting two free-kicks straight out of play.
Thankfully, the game calmed down somewhat, but Pools were still making little impression going forward or, in fact, in any area of the park.
There was brief excitement in the 28th minute when Barmby showed some neat trickery on the edge of the home box.
But he played the ball to Compton, whose cross from the left was poor.
And there was more excitement soon after.
Poole made a brilliant turn on half way to run towards goal. Instead of shooting himself, he tried to play in Compton who was ruled offside, though his shot was blocked anyway.
Pools won a 35th-minute corner which Simon Walton swung over from the left but the keeper came out decisively.
It was almost two in the 43rd minute, Hollands was allowed to stroll through but his left-foot shot was deflected for a corner.
Portsmouth threatened from the set-piece, but Rafferty did well to take the ball from Bondz N’Gala.
Barmby won a second Pools corner in the final minute of the half but the Pompey defence cleared.
POOLS: Rafferty, Duckworth, Burgess, Collins, Holden, Barmby, Walker, Walton, Compton, Poole, James.
Subs: Rowbotham, Richards, Jones, Harrison, Oliver, Hawkins, Franks
PORTSMOUTH: Carson, Webster, N’Gala, Whatmaugh, Shorey, Fogden, Ferry, Hollands, Wallace, Holmes, Taylor,
Referee: Andy D’Urso