Checkatrade Trophy Group
Pompey eased to victory over Gillingham in their opening Checkatrade Trophy group match at Fratton Park.
A largely uneventful first half came to life right at the end, with Matt Clarke and Ben Close finding the net in quick succession.
Brett Pitman then hammered home a penalty after the interval to erase any hopes of a Gills comeback.
And a comfortable evening was wrapped up right at the end when David Wheeler opened his Blues account.
Kenny Jackett made 10 changes from the side that comfortably saw off Plymouth in the league at the weekend.
Clarke was the only player to keep his spot, with loan sign Andre Green handed his debut in an attacking role.
Pitman reclaimed the captain’s armband up front, while fellow striker Joe Mason had to be content with a place among the substitutes.
The crowd were packed into the South Stand, but there was not too much to keep them entertained for the majority of the first half.
Pitman thundered a 30-yard free-kick against the crossbar after Wheeler had been fouled by Aaron Simpson.
But that was not typical of a listless opening period that only exploded into life just before the interval.
Neither keeper had much to deal with, although Luke McGee made a regulation save to deny Navid Nasseri.
Pompey finally moved through the gears on 41 minutes when Adam May slipped a fine pass down the line for Wheeler.
His low centre was intended for Pitman, who would have been left with a simple finish had Alex Lacey not cut the ball out.
But the deadlock was broken from the resulting corner, as CLARKE was left untroubled to convert May’s delivery.
And the celebrations from the home supporters had barely died down before the Blues doubled their advantage.
Nathan Thompson crossed from the right and although CLOSE’s first time effort lacked power, it was neatly placed into the bottom corner.
It might have been even better in stoppage-time, but a long-range effort from May flashed past the post.
There were only a few minutes on the clock when the hosts had a great chance to extend their lead further.
Wheeler whipped in a teasing cross from the right that would normally have been gobbled up by Pitman, but he fired uncharacteristically wide from a few yards out.
Pompey’s skipper made up for that, however, by opening his account for the season from the penalty spot on 55 minutes.
Alan Young pointed to the spot when Green went down under Aaron Simpson’s challenge, with PITMAN on hand to slam home from 12 yards.
Gills keeper Tom Hadler then came tearing from his line to stop Wheeler reaching Green’s threaded pass.
Mason was introduced for his Blues bow just past the hour mark, with May the man to make way for the on-loan Wolves striker.
The tempo of the contest unsurprisingly dropped with the lead so commanding and the chances started to dry up again.
Wheeler came close to adding a fourth goal after bundling his way into the box, but Hadler came to the rescue with a decent stop.
And that is exactly what he did at the death, with WHEELER on hand to net from close range after Mason’s blocked shot had fallen into his path.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; N.Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; Close, Rose; Wheeler, May (Mason 62), Green; Pitman (c)
Goals: Clarke 41, Close 43, Pitman 55 (pen), Wheeler 90
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Brown, Naylor, B.Thompson, Evans, Lowe
Gillingham (4-1-2-1-2): Hadler; O’Neill (c), Lacey (Scarlett 80), Ogilvie, Simpson (Nash 65); Oldaker; Rees (Chapman 62), Stevenson; Nasseri; Wilkinson, List
Subs not used: Holy, O’Mara, Woods, Mbo
Referee: Alan Young
Attendance: 2,011 (69 away fans)