Northampton Town had no answer to promotion hopefuls Portsmouth as they lost 3-0 at Sixfields to Pompey.
Sean Raggett’s early goal and a Paddy Lane double gave the visitors a three goal advantage by the 50th minute, and Northampton were unable to mount a comeback.
The result meant that while Portsmouth returned to top spot in League One, the Cobblers were left beaten for the first time in four matches, having won their three previous games.
Northampton’s contest with Pompey had originally been scheduled for mid-October, but was pushed back due to international call-ups. The game took its new slot after both Northampton and Portsmouth were knocked out of the FA Cup, with the match taking place on the same weekend as that competition’s Second Round.
The hosts had started brightly at a chilly Sixfields, with away goalkeeper Will Norris denying first Mitch Pinnock and then Sam Hoskins.
But Portsmouth would strike first in the 11th minute, as a Jack Sparkes corner picked out Raggett, who duly headed into the Northampton goal.
Portsmouth would soon offer more after taking the lead, and moments after Kusini Yengi hit the bar, the visitors had a second goal. Christian Saydee’s through-pass released Lane, who beat Max Thompson with his strike and put the visitors two goals ahead just before the half-hour mark.
Kieron Bowie headed wide in Northampton’s best opportunity for a goal back before the half-time whistle.
Within three minutes of the restart, Portsmouth struck for a third time. Alex Robertson’s cross found Lane, who was able to place home his second and the away side’s third of the afternoon.
Hoskins and substitute Louis Appere had chances to bring Northampton back into the contest, but the home side ran out of time as Portsmouth took the points.