Bournemouth stormed to within a point of the npower League One leadership after overcoming the brave resistance of Portsmouth 2-0 and boss Eddie Howe praised his side's patience.

Portsmouth, with three newcomers in yet another patched-up team, held out for 63 minutes before they succumbed. Lewis Grabban took his tally for the season to 13 with the first goal and Marc Pugh made the game safe with a second after 75 minutes.

Howe admitted his team were a home banker against a Portsmouth side who have now gone a club-record 19 matches without victory.

He said: "It is good to be so close to the top, but this was a big victory. Everyone thought it should be easy for us, but we knew it would not be. Portsmouth were well-organised and disciplined and we had to be patient. The crowd understood what we were up against and stuck with us.

"Teams will try to stop you playing and that is their right. Six Portsmouth players did not move from defending their goal. But the longer the game went on we knew it would open up for us and we would create chances and that is what happened."

Grabban took a pass from Josh McQuoid to open the scoring and Pugh ran on to a pass from Brett Pitman to add Bournemouth's second. Pitman also hit the crossbar with a header and in the dying seconds substitute Matt Tubbs was clear, but was denied by on-rushing goalkeeper Simon Eastwood.

Portsmouth have now used more than 50 players with Patrick Agyemang, John Akinde and Therry Racon making their debuts. Boss Guy Whittingham admitted it is hard putting together a constantly changing line-up.

"It is like pre-season for us every week with us getting in new players. But we have to keep going because that is the situation we are in. The new boys did well. Agyemang and Akinde did well up front and we have some competition at last for the places up front to give the fans something to cheer about.

"I am obviously not pleased with the result, but in our position it is a big achievement just to be competitive. For an hour or so against the in-form team in the division I thought we did extremely well. In the first half, apart from hitting the bar, I do not think they troubled our goalkeeper.

"In the end we lost our discipline at the back. Just when we started to cause them a few problems defensively they hit us. There will not be any more new players. We have just created an unwanted record, but there is no alternative but to plod on."