Burton 1 Pompey 2

Guy Whittingham could afford himself a wry smile as his players applauded the Fratton faithful.

The same highly-concerning traits surrounding this new-look Pompey side once more reared up on the big occasion.

There was the needless straight red card, not for the first time this season down to indiscipline from an experienced player.

Then the customary late goal was conceded, six minutes into time added on as Zander Diamond swooped from close range.

Except this was one league match neither Achilles heel derailed the Blues from claiming victory.

At long last they had held on.

For a fourth-successive match they had registered two goals away from home, only on this occasion it resulted in a win for Whittingham’s side.

A first on their travels in League Two after going so agonisingly close in the previous three fixtures, the relief from the celebrating players at the final whistle was palpable.

Not that the nerves weren’t there among Pompey fans as they teetered and tottered on the brink of yet more late, late heartbreak.

Already this early in the campaign there have been too many of those moments, particularly away from Fratton Park.

At Burton on Saturday, Whittingham’s men were blissfully comfortable and in firm control as the clocked chimed 84 minutes.

With a two-goal lead and a more gritty display which had helped water down the often cavalier attacking intentions, the Blues were striding towards the finishing line.

Then came Yassin Moutaouakil’s intervention – and a dramatic finale the visitors and more than 1,100 away supporters did not deserve.

Lashing out not once but twice at the backside of the grounded Jimmy Phillips in the aftermath of what appeared to be harmless challenge, the Frenchman had to go.

No anger towards referee Dean Whitestone who produced the red card, more disgust and fury from Pompey’s players and management towards one of their own as he trudged his lonely journey off the pitch.

Suddenly those familiar fears were dredged up again as one man’s indiscipline threatened to cost his side the match.

For a six minutes, plus an additional six minutes of time added on, those 10-men were asked to fend off the Brewers to claim a victory they were previously cruising towards.

Whittingham even had to do so by sacrificing his best player on the day, the ever-impressive Ricky Holmes.

The Blues boss introduced Shaun Cooper at right-back to shore up matters defensively.

As the visitors clung on, substitute Alex MacDonald crashed a stunning 30-yard free-kick against the crossbar having made no secret in the run up that nothing but a shot was on.

Then Diamond pulled one back from close range.

The central defender was Burton’s best player.

He spent the previous five minutes lurking in the penalty area determined to wreak havoc.

Gary Rowett’s side had their foothold and the nerves among the travelling Pompey supporters would hardly have been eased when, from the resulting kick-off, Simon Ferry sold John Sullivan a little short with the back pass.

The keeper, who produced his most assured Blues game yet in terms of handling and distribution, managed to safely thrash the ball away as Michael Symes bore down on him.

Then the final whistle arrived. It marked a first away win of not only the league season but also since March when they pulled off that memorable and highly emotional success at Crewe which would spark such a tremendous run.

Sonny Bradley and Danny East embraced, Jed Wallace pumped his fist to the skies and Barry Harris conducted the songs emanating from the travelling support in extravagant style.

As for Sullivan, he was still seething at seeing his prized clean sheet snatched away so cruelly at the death due to the actions of Moutaouakil and had to be calmed down by Alan McLoughlin.

Then there was Whittingham with that knowing smile to himself as he made his way back to the Pirelli Stadium dressing room for a more private moment with his players.

Still seeing the positives clearly despite two late negatives which continue to dog Pompey’s early-season form.

Enough of Moutaouakil and a sixth late goal conceded of the campaign, though.

Saturday was all about a second league win – at the home of a side who last year finished in the play-offs to boot.

Not quite the fluent flowing football seen in previous matches granted but the Blues displayed a greater defensive resilience to underpin the victory.

That also had to cope with the loss of Joe Devera in the process, straining his hamstring after just eight minutes of match action.

He was replaced by Bondz N’Gala, who made light of the enforced change with a powerful performance and excellent foil alongside Bradley.

In the opening 18 minutes, East was also off the pitch for five minutes to receive treatment to a head wound.

That injury would require five stitches.

The versatile performer did return, however, and was part of a resolute defensive display from the back five to make light of the recent concerns surrounding their solidity.

Regardless of early injury woes, the visitors were the better team during that opening period and Burton keeper Jordan Pickford made some fine stops.

A flowing move down the right in the eighth minute saw Moutaouakil, Holmes, Wallace, Patrick Agyemang and then Wallace again combine before the latter saw his shot well saved.

It would have been a wonderful goal but the keeper was helpless when the deadlock was broken in the 33rd minute.

Wallace clipped in a cross from the right and Agyemang powered in a header which hit the ground and was destined for the net until Pickford pulled off a stunning save.

But there was Holmes following up to steer a volley into the empty net.

In the 51st minute, Holmes appeared to clip Damien McCrory and took advantage of his slip to burst into the box and fire in a shot.

Pickford saved and there was Ferry to stab the loose ball home.

That appeared enough until Moutaouakil’s red card sparked nerves.

Come the final whistle, though, Whittingham wasn’t the only one sporting a grin.