Accrington Stanley could not extend their unbeaten run away from home to five games, losing 1-0 to Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Jake Jervis’ goal just after half-time was enough for the hosts to claim all three points and leapfrog the Reds in the League Two table.

James Beattie made one change to the team, with Saturday’s match-winner Kal Naismith starting ahead of George Bowerman, who dropped to the bench.

17 year-old youth scholar Max Hazeldine was again on the bench with Danny Webber unavailable to face his former club through illness.

The opening exchanges were fairly dull with neither side threatening the other’s goal and it took 20 minutes for the first effort on target to be registered.

Ricky Holmes met Jake Jervis’ cross but his header floated easily into the arms of Marcus Bettinelli, who had gone more than five hours without conceding a goal away from home by that point.

That run should have ended three minutes later as Michael Drennan lashed wide of an open goal.

A free-kick was floated in by Daniel Alfei and Bettinelli came to claim the ball but dropped it under pressure from an attacker. The referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge and was left to the Aston Villa loanee Drennan to have the simple task of putting the ball into an unguarded net but his shot flashed wide to widespread Stanley relief.

The Reds then threatened themselves as Naismith drifted in from the left hand side and unleashed a vicious effort from 25 yards that flew narrowly past Trevor Carson’s post.

Stanley’s blueprint for success on the road was serving them well again as they managed to get to the break goalless.

However, their resistance would be broken just three minutes into the second half as Jervis found the bottom corner with a long-range effort.

The striker picked the ball up on the left wing, cut inside onto his right foot and was given far too much time and space to pick his spot and beat Bettinelli from 25 yards.

Stanley tried to hit back immediately with Naismith’s spectacular 40-yard effort taking a deflection to loop just over the crossbar with Carson left scrambling.

Top-scorer Peter Murphy tried to haul Beattie’s men back into the contest but his header from Piero Mingoia’s cross lacked power and was easy for the goalkeeper to collect before the counter-attack saw Romain Padovani sidefoot Holmes’ cutback wide from 12 yards when well-placed.

In truth, the second half was as dull as the first, though Stanley were more than a match for their opponents but couldn’t carve out a clear-cut opportunity.

Portsmouth almost doubled their lead in the 89th minute as Bettinelli superbly tipped Daniel Alfei’s curling effort onto the bar at full-stretch.

There was one final chance for the Reds to take a point from the game as some neat interplay saw Naismith find space in the box. A swivel of the hips took him past a defender and opened up a shooting opportunity but the Scot could only fire wide on his weaker right foot as Stanley succumbed to defeat.

Stanley: Bettinelli; Hunt, Aldred, Winnard, Liddle (Gray 82); Mingoia, Murphy, Joyce, Molyneux; Naismith, Odejayi.
Subs not used: McCartan, Hatfield, Windass, Atkinson, Hazeldine, Bowerman.