Luton 1 Pompey 3

Michael Smith. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Smith. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey beat Southend 1-0 at Fratton Park today. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

Picture Gallery: Pompey 1 Southend 0

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Pompey secured an important 3-1 victory at Luton Town as they closed in on League Two’s automatic promotion places.

The Blues leapfrogged the Hatters into fourth place in the table after coming from behind to claim victory at Kenilworth Road.

In a frenetic first half, Danny Hylton put the hosts in front on seven minutes when he headed home Alan Sheehan’s cross while Gareth Evans lay injured in the penalty area.

Luton thought they had extended their lead minutes later when Hylton tapped home from inside the six-yard box, only to see his effort ruled out for offside.

And that decision proved crucial as Michael Smith added to his goal at Cheltenham on Saturday with a fine finish from outside the box on 12 minutes that drew the sides level.

Both teams traded blows as the game lived up to its pre-match billing.

But it was the Blues who struck next, with Evans firing home on the stroke of half-time following a poor defensive clearance from the Hatters to give Paul Cook’s side the advantage going into the break.

In the second half, the visitors’ game management came to the fore as they prevented Luton from lifting the home support.

They also posed a serious threat going forward, with Christian Burgess seeing a header smack the crossbar in the 63rd minute, while Evans should have done better after being picked out in the box by Carl Baker moments later.

Pompey had a scare on 82 minutes when Matt Clarke had to clear off the line after Sheehan attempted to make the most of David Forde’s punched clearance.

But they wrapped up the win six minutes from time when substitute Kal Naismith brilliantly fired home from the edge of the Luton box as the hosts appealed for handball.