Playing in front of a large home crowd, Lancaster City knew that only a win over Portobello would get them through to the semi finals of the British Water Polo Championships and keep their cup defence alive.
Portobello, who also needed a win to progress, caught the Lancaster defence cold and took a two goal lead.
Ed Grundy gave Portobello the lead before a superb solo goal from City captain Tom Curwen brought one back.
The away side bagged another with nine seconds left in the quarter to restore their two goal advantage though.
In the second period Curwen scored three times but with Lancaster unable to contain the away side they then hit back with three of their own and going into half time Lancaster trailed by two.
The third quarter was much better defensively with Rob Simpson and Ryan Pinington controlling from the back.
Curwen scored again, his fifth goal of the game, before a counter from Portobello restored their advantage, a futher goal from both sides saw Portobello 8-6 up with only the last quarter to play.
In the closing stages up stepped Stefano Cossutti with two delightful bounce shots past the Scottish international keeper to make the scores level with three minutes left to play.
City continued their tough defence and allowed Portobello no easy shots on goal before Cossutti stepped up again with only 30 seconds left on the clock to give the home side the lead for the first time in the match.
They were then able to see off one last away attack before the final whistle went.The win takes Lancaster through to the semi finals where they will play Cheltenham in a repeat of last year’s final on June 2.