Accrington Stanley suffered a heavy defeat against Portsmouth to end a nine-match unbeaten run at the Wham Stadium.
First-half goals from Kyle Bennett and Michael Doyle as well as an own goal by Matty Pearson enforced Stanley to a first home loss since October.
A late goal for Shay McCartan was merely a consolation as attentions turn to the visit of Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
In a frustrating evening for the Reds, John Coleman’s side drop to sixth in the League Two table and remain four points inside of the play-offs.
Goalkeeper Jason Mooney came into the side to replace the suspended Ross Etheridge and was tested in the early stages as Gary Roberts’ header from close range was comfortably saved by the Irishman.
Portsmouth continued to create chances as the half progressed and were rewarded with Kyle Bennett’s opener.
Gareth Evans’ low cross couldn’t be cleared from danger before the ball fell kindly for the winger to find the bottom corner to break the deadlock.
The home side responded well to going behind and became more urgent in their play. Billy Kee found space to try his luck from outside the area, but the tame effort fell at the feet of Pompey goalkeeper Ryan Fulton.
Portsmouth came into the match unbeaten in their last three matches and that confidence was beginning to show in abundance.
Michael Doyle’s strike from distance cannoned back off the crossbar moments before Matty Pearson’s own goal doubled the lead of the visitors.
Another low ball into the box from a wide position proved too difficult for the Stanley defense as Ben Davies cross was turned in by Pearson at the near post.
Just as the interval approached, Doyle gave the south coast side a three-goal advantage with a stunning volley from 30 yards out as Liam Wakefield’s clearing header fell into the path of the midfielder, putting an end to a difficult half for Accrington.
The break did little to stop the flow of play and Pompey kept up their dominance. A Bennett cross was almost deflected into the net by Pearson for a second time and Mooney was at hand to parry over the bar.
A long ball forward from Tom Davies found Kee inside the Portsmouth area, but the striker was unable to find the target with a first-time header.
Portsmouth swiftly came up the other end, but Michael Smith angled shot was dragged well wide in a promising position.
Ex-Stanley winger Kal Naismith came on and showed signs of his form at Accrington with a good run inside from the right flank, but his effort was a simple save for Mooney down to his right.
Shay McCartan manage to pull a goal back towards the end with a fine shot on the turn at the penalty spot to rifle the ball Fulton and maintain Accrington’s run of scoring in every home match this season.
Coleman’s men pushed forward in the hope of making an unlikely comeback, but couldn’t muster a chance to make it a nervy final few minutes for the visitors.
Starting line-up: Mooney; Wakefield, Pearson, Davies, Halliday; Conneely (Brown HT), Crooks; Mingoia (Boco 67′), McCartan, McConville (Shaw 67′); Kee
Subs not used: Hughes, Procter, Steenson, Carver