ACCRINGTON STANLEY missed the chance to extend their jaunt away from the relegation zone, after losing 1-0 at a chilly Fratton Park.
Jake Jervis’ goal just after the interval gave the hosts a vital win in a six-pointer that neither side deserved to lose.
Stanley boss James Beattie handed a start to Kal Naismith after his two-goal salvo at the weekend, with George Bowerman dropping to the bench.
Despite going into the game on the back of a 2-1 win at Torquay, it was the hosts that asserted themselves immediately into the action.
Jervis looked to profit from Peter Murphy's hashed clearance after two minutes, but the striker couldn’t find his footing and failed to get his shot away.
Peter Murphy then tried his luck with a speculative 30-yard effort, however the strike didn’t match the defender’s burst from halfway and fizzled into the packed home stand.
Kayode Odejayi then had a glorious chance to give his side the lead on the half hour mark, after Naismith’s energy fed Michael Liddle down the left flank.
Liddle's cross looked odds-on to find the head of the onrushing Odejayi, only for an excellent flick from Bondz N’Gala to avert the danger.
Piero Mingoia saw plenty of the ball down the right wing, with a couple of half-decent crosses into the box but with little attacking support to match the midfielder’s work-rate.
Michael Drennan almost profited from a sloppy catch from Bettinelli after 35 minutes, with the Stanley stopper fluffing his lines with a routine catch, but Michael Drennan unable to turn his close-range shot past the right-hand post.
Stanley looked good value for the equaliser before half-time, but despite Beattie’s team-talk and an energetic start to the second period, Stanley failed to deal with Jervis’ pace, allowing the striker to score the game’s opener on 48 minutes.
Ricky Holmes fed the goal-hungry forward, who had time and space as Stanley’s midfield failed to press the front man, allowing Jervis to pick his spot from 30 yards and drill home past a hapless Bettinelli.
It wasn’t until after the goal that Stanley sparked into life, as on the hour mark, Mingoia continued to assert himself after his switch to the left wing, but couldn’t see his raking cross netted by an onrushing Dean Winnard – his shot bobbling into the hands of Trevor Carson.
Romain Padovani missed a glorious chance to double the lead on 62 minutes, after a scintilating break from Winnard’s miss allowing Ricky Holmes to run free on the left, with a pinpoint pass to Padovani on the edge of the area, but for the Frenchman to fail his far-post attempt.
Daniel Alfei then almost took matters into his own hands with two minutes to play, with a sensational shot from the right wing just tipped on to the bar.
Naismith almost turned hero once again on 90 minutes, with a fizzing effort that had Stanley fans dreaming of an equaliser, only to see the ball nestle behind the goal.