Daniel Alfei believes Pompey paid the price for a ‘terrible’ first-half display as they slumped to defeat against Torquay.
Bill Bodin settled Saturday’s Fratton Park fixture with a 27th-minute strike having been left all alone at the far post.
It capped a dreadful opening 45 minutes from Richie Barker’s lethargic side, who were booed off at the break.
The second half did see an improvement with the hosts dominating possession.
But there was no cutting edge and they didn’t register a shot on target until the 86th minute.
Ben Chorley and substitute Wes Fogden wasted glorious close-range chances in the final moments, while Patrick Agyemang had appeals for a penalty waved away.
However, there was no way back for Barker’s men as second-from-bottom Torquay held on to move within three points in the table.
And right-back Alfei put the dreadful result down to that wretched first-half.
He said: ‘Everyone was disappointed with the first half.
‘It wasn’t good enough, we didn’t come out quickly, they started better than us and looked like they wanted it more.
‘We had to pick it up second half but by then it was too late, if we had nicked a goal it would have been great to come away with a draw in the end but the first half wasn’t good enough.
‘Coming into the game we were flying, the lads were buzzing, the confidence was high, we were in a good spot – yet the first half was slow and lethargic and not good enough.
‘There has been a lot of travelling involved, but there is a lot of travelling involved throughout the whole season, I don’t think we can use that as an excuse.
‘We just weren’t with it, not good enough and it ended up costing us the game.
‘We were better second half, we had to be but the first half was terrible from us.
‘We never try to take a game too lightly just because the opposition are towards the bottom of the table, we don’t think we are going to turn up and win it, that doesn’t work in these leagues, anyone can beat each other.
‘We just didn’t start bright enough, didn’t start sharp enough and that is what cost us.’
Referee Dean Whitestone was booed at the final whistle, with a disputed Pompey penalty claim among the issues for home fans.
Agyemang’s stoppage-time cross appeared to strike Kevin Nicholson on the arm from close range, but no spot kick was forthcoming.
Alfei, however, believes it was a good penalty shout.
He added: ‘We had a couple of chances to score, put some balls into the box, got down the sides and had a couple of corners.
‘But we just couldn’t put it away and there was a penalty shout.
‘From where I was standing it looked like it could have been a pen, I don’t know where the ref was but it happens, you see decisions like this all the time.
‘Some get given, some don’t and that one wasn’t.
‘There was nothing we could do about it.
‘We should have been in a better spot than relying on a penalty in the last minute anyway.’