Northampton Town moved out of the relegation zone after a 4-1 victory over Portsmouth, which saw them score four times in the first half.

Two goals by Ryan Watson in 3 minutes set the home side on the way, before further first half goals by Fraser Horsfall and Sam Hoskins gave Northampton a four goal advantage at the break.

Ellis Harrison scored a penalty consolation for Portsmouth in the second half, but the home side had already done enough to make it back-to-back wins and climb up to 19th in the League One table.

Northampton had warmed up for the match by beating Plymouth in midweek, grabbing their first win of 2021 in the process, and had looked for more against another top half side in the form of Pompey.

A few half-chances were exchanged in the opening 20 minutes, but it would soon be Northampton that broke the deadlock.

Watson stepped up to take a free-kick after Mickel Miller was fouled, and swept his effort beyond Craig MacGillivray.

Less than three minutes later and Watson would lead Northampton celebrations again. The midfielder met Miller’s corner and headed home to grab his second of the day, and his sixth in Northampton’s last five outings.

Buoyed by that, Northampton continued to press. They could’ve had a third goal when Portsmouth goalkeeper MacGillivray denied Hoskins, but then would get a third anyway after Horsfall poked the corner over the line.

MacGillivray denied Ryan Edmondson before the away keeper then denied Miller, but the Pompey custodian would concede a fourth goal before half-time.

The goalkeeper had come out to meet a lofted ball, but only found Hoskins, whose first-time shot arced into the goal, although Edmondson did claim to get a final touch at the back post.

Northampton could’ve made it five straight after the break, when Peter Kioso had a shot go straight at MacGillivray.

Portsmouth threw on four of their five available subs on the hour mark and began to attack more, with Jordy Hiwula firing wide straight away before Sean Raggett headed wide.

The away side would grab a consolation with 11 minutes to play when Harvey White was fouled and Harrison beat Jonathan Mitchell in the Northampton goal from 12 yards.

But Northampton were able to control any attempts by the away side to start an unlikely comeback, and although Edmondson would see a late try denied by MacGillivray, it was still job done for Jon Brady’s side.