David Nugent’s 10th goal of the season gave Portsmouth a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Fratton Park for their third consecutive victory.
Nugent struck after 65 minutes, volleying home from 12 yards after latching on to Dave Kitson’s flick on. The result left the Eagles remain in relegation trouble, lying just three points clear of the drop zone having played two games more than third-bottom Scunthorpe.
Pompey were on top for the majority of the match as Palace failed to really threaten as an attacking force.
The home side’s pressure finally told after 65 minutes when Greg Halford’s long throw was flicked on by Kitson and met on the volley by Nugent who mis-hit the ball but it bounced into the ground and over a helpless Speroni.
Palace should have been level just two minutes later when Ambrose found Patrick McCarthy in the box but he could only head wide from six yards.
Freedman tried to get his side back into the game with a double substitution on 73 minutes with Zaha and Jermaine Easter coming on for Neil Danns and Scannell.
But it did not make much of a difference as their only chance of an equaliser came when Zaha spooned wide from 12 yards four minutes from time as Pompey held out comfortably.