Paul Tisdale was delighted with his Exeter game plan after inflicting Pompey’s first defeat of the league season.
The Grecians headed to Fratton Park on the back of successive defeats against Accrington and Wycombe in recent weeks.
As a result, their manager plotted a style of play to avoid another loss.
The outcome was a 2-1 victory for Exeter as they last night ended Pompey’s nine-match unbeaten league run.
And Tisdale reflected on an effective team display.
He said: ‘We’ve been to Fratton Park the previous two years and taken them on and the games have been open and we have been beaten by the odd goal.
‘So I make no apology, coming off the back of two defeats, for making sure it was a very disciplined, team-orientated game – whether we drew or whether we won.
‘We decided to defend from the halfway line and do a defensive, disciplined job. They took the initiative with the ball as we thought, while we were happy not to have it and that was the way we played.
‘I make no apology for that, we were set up to counter-attack, we capitalised on one mistake in the first half and counter-attacked in the second half.
‘That was not the way we have played recently but going to Fratton Park that was the way we decided, those were the circumstances coming into the game. That type of performance was what we needed.
‘I am so proud of the players, we played the game. It’s a great place to play and I am really proud of those players.’
It could have been so different had it not been for a brave Jordan Moore-Taylor block in the opening minutes.
The left-back hurled himself in front of Gareth Evans’ shot during a bright start from the hosts.
And Tisdale regarded it as a pivotal moment.
He added: ‘Who is to know what the most important part is of any game?
‘That moment may have been one or if not the most important part of the game. Without that they go 1-0 up after a couple of minutes and our plan, all our thinking, the way we have prepared the players goes out of the window and we have to go again.’