But still Dale looked the more likely scorers in the second half, Ian Henderson going close with a dipping volleyed shot from 20 yards after another effective knock down from Andrew.
Dale still had time to almost carve out an equaliser in the final of five minutes added on when Henderson was denied by a superb save from MacGillivray, before shouts for a penalty on Andy Cannon were waved away, Hill later insisting referee Seb Stockbridge got that one wrong and his side ought to have been given a spot kick.
“It was cruel,” said Hill. “We definitely had a penalty decision that has gone against us in the dying embers of that game. It was a penalty.
“I thought the refereeing standard was poor, but poor from a spectacle point of view. But with respect to ourselves, I’m happy with the performance and the level of performance considering the opposition that we were facing.
“There were one or two teething problems n the first half with respect to what I asked for and had planned for, but in the second half the players, individually, worked them out. We grew into the game and we didn’t deserve to lose in the second half.
“We worked it out well in the second half and we created opportunities. Portsmouth didn’t create too many opportunities in the second half, so I was relatively pleased that we were in control to a certain degree but when you look at the opponents’ team, you’re never quite comfortable and you shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, we conceded a very cruel deflected goal.
“But we can’t take anything away from our performance and we’ve got to lead into the game on Wednesday and then on Saturday with that type of attitude towards application. If we apply ourselves in the manner that we have done today, then I think we’ve got a very good side.”