Brett Pitman’s second-half header saw Portsmouth beat Southend 1-0 at Fratton Park as Blues were made to regret a missed penalty from Nile Ranger.
Blues were awarded the spot-kick right on half time after Christian Burgess handled a shot from John White, but Ranger slipped as the struck the ball sending it over the crossbar.
The home side were lifted by that miss and broke the deadlock nine minutes after the interval through their talisman Pitman, who flicked in a Matty Kennedy cross.
And Pitman’s 12th goal of the season was enough to see Portsmouth secure all three points and put an end to a run of five successive defeats against Southend.
The defeat also put to an end to Southend’s incredible run of 27-games without a league defeat in November, stretching back to 2009.
It was a miserable return to League action for Blues whose last League One game came three weeks ago away at Walsall, but Southend came to Fratton Park fresh after an 11-day break without a game.
Blues boss Phil Brown made three changes to his starting line-up which lost to Yeovil a fortnight ago with Nile Ranger and Theo Robinson coming in, whilst Michael Turner partnered Anton Ferdinand at centre-half to make his league debut.
The home side were unchanged from their win last weekend at Blackpool and they went close to opening the scoring five minutes in through their captain, Brett Pitman.
A low cross into the six-yard box from Matt Clarke found the Pompey number eight, but the former Bournemouth and Ipswich striker failed to toe-poke the ball on target.
Southend’s front two of Ranger and Robinson combined for Blues’ first chance of the game with only a superb fingertip save from Luke McGee preventing Robinson from curling the ball in.
From the resulting corner, Ranger was desperately unlucky not to get on the end of a deflected effort from Josh Wright with the Blues striker unable to stretch enough to score at the far post.
Both sides looked threatening in the final third and Portsmouth twice went close when Kyle Bennett had a header cleared off the line by Turner before Close’s long-range shot was saved by Mark Oxley.
It looked like neither side would break the deadlock before half-time with Simon Cox going close with a header before Ryan Leonard’s shot from distance which was easily saved by McGee.
But in the dying seconds of the first-half, Blues were given the chance to score from the penalty spot as referee Carl Boyeson awarded Southend a penalty in the final minute of the half.
A Blues corner fell kindly to Cox whose thunderous shot was blocked by Danny Rose before Christian Burgess blocked John White’s follow up with the linesman flagging for a handball.
Ranger stepped up to the take the penalty but slipped as he struck the ball, sending it high and wide of the target to the joy of the Portsmouth fans in the Fratton End behind the goal.
Missing that penalty would have given Portsmouth a huge lift going into the second-half and they took full advantage of Southend’s failings from 12-yards as they scored shortly after the interval.
Matty Kennedy – brought on at half-time by Kenny Jackett – was the creator as his cross found the head of Pitman who flicked the ball beyond the despairing dive of Oxley to give Pompey the lead.
Southend were looking at their first defeat to Portsmouth since 1996 and they immediately went in search of an equaliser, coming close when Michael Kightly’s first-time effort was cleared by Oliver Hawkins.
Blues had a change of shape as Ranger went off for Stephen McLaughlin, whilst Marc-Antoine Fortune and Jermaine McGlashan were brought on.
Despite the changes, Southend struggled to create any meaningful chances in front of goal with their luck summed up by a Leonard that hit a prone Ferdinand on its way out for a goal-kick.
The home side, however, were content with their one strike as they comfortably saw time out for their third successive win in the league.
Portsmouth XI: McGee, Rose, Clarke, Burgess, Pitman (C), Hawkins, Lowe (Thompson 87’), Naismith, Bennett (Kennedy 46’), Evans, Close. Subs Not Used: Bass, O’Keefe, Main, Donohue, Chaplin
Blues XI: Oxley, Ferdinand (C), Turner, Kightly, Timlin, Cox, Leonard, Robinson (Fortune 77’), Wright, White (McGlashan 82’), Ranger (McLaughlin 64’). Subs Not Used: Bishop, Hendrie, Yearwood, Bwomono
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Assistants: Simon Knapp & John Farries
Fourth Official: Justin Amey
Portsmouth: Brett Pitman 54’
Southend United: None
Southend United: John White 76’