HULL CITY manager Nigel Pearson paid tribute to the spirit and tenacity of his players after the Tigers came out on top in a five-goal thriller at Portsmouth.
Jimmy Bullard's 21st-minute penalty put the visitors in front, before Liam Lawrence levelled from the spot before the hour.
Matt Fryatt came off the bench to grab a debut goal following his 1.2mmove from Leicester, and Nick Barmby soon made it 3-1 to Hull before Pompey midfielder Greg Halford set up a grandstand finish.
"It was an exciting and pulsating game," said Pearson. "It was not our best performance of the season, but to come away from home to a place like this and score three goals is very good.
"I'm delighted with the result because we needed to be brave and show a lot of spirit, and the players did that.
"I'm sure Portsmouth will say they should have got something out of the game and they probably should have, but I would have taken that result beforehand.
"At 1-1, they looked as if they had gained the momentum, but they were a bit gung-ho.
"Sometimes, you've got to try to change the shift of the game and we did that and scored two very good goals."
Hull have climbed away from the relegation zone and are now just six points off the play-off places in the congested Championship table.
After the home side had started brighter, Hull earned themselves a penalty on a rare foray forward when Halford brought down winger Cameron Stewart in the area and Bullard placed a right-footed spot-kick beyond Pompey goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.
David Nugent twice went close for the home side and Hull could not hold on to their lead for long after the restart. Lawrence charged clear into the Hull area and after he was tripped by Anthony Gerrard, the Pompey midfielder planted the penalty into the bottom corner.
But after spending most of the game on the back foot Hull regained the lead through new signing Fryatt when he controlled the ball and turned to fire across Ashdown into the bottom corner.
The goal rocked Pompey, who had dominated for much of the game, and the home side soon found themselves two goals down when Barmby ran on to Bullard's astute pass and fired the ball into the same corner.
But Portsmouth refused to lie down and hit back through Halford's header from Lawrence's cross. Pompey charged forward in the closing stages in a bid to salvage a point, but Hull held on for their fourth away league win of the season.
Portsmouth: Ashdown, Halford, Dickinson, Rocha (Hreidarsson 25), Mokoena, Lawrence, Mullins, Utaka (Sonko 90+2), Nugent, Kitson, Kanu (Ward 77). Unused substitutes: Flahavan, Ciftci, Kilbey.
Hull City: Guzan, Zayatte, Dawson, Gerrard, Ashbee, Harper, Solano, Bullard, Stewart (Barmby 69), Simpson (Fryatt 60), Mclean. Unused substitutes: Oxley, Cooper, Devitt, Cullen.