Pompey celebrated victory in their battle to remain in the Football League with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Northampton.
The Blues’ travelling army were in high spirits just before kick-off when news broke that Rochdale had defeated Bristol Rovers earlier in the day – a result that meant Andy Awford’s side could no longer fall through the League Two trap door.
And the feel-good factor in the away end increased after six minutes at Sixfields when the returning Danny East instinctively lobbed Cobblers keeper Matt Duke to give Pompey the early breakthrough.
To be fair to the hosts, who remain in the bottom two, they didn’t let their heads drop and raised their game to match the atmosphire in the ground.
After an impressive opening 20 minutes from the visitors, Northampton put them under increasing pressure – with Emile Sinclair left cursing his luck when he failed to connect with Evan Horwood’s superb delivery on 29 minutes.
Chris Hackett and Ricky Ravenhill had efforts that failed to test Carson.
But Pompey, too, posed a threat on the counter-attack and Jed Wallace’s trickery nearly paid off when he tried an audacious lob over Duke from the edge of the box.
However, it was the hosts who closed the opening half with the better chances, Carson having to be alert to deny former Pompey loanee John Marquis from close range and then Darren Carter after he burst through the Blues defence.
The tempo of the game failed to slow down in the second half, with Northampton piling the pressure on the Blues.
Substitute Ivan Toney was denied by the impressive Carson before defender Mathias Kouo-Doumbe was prevented from equalising when Carson again remained strong.
Toney then had another effort bounce over the bar and on to the roof of the net.
But still the Blues managed to cling on to their lead and even threatened the score at the other end as substitute Michael Drennan fired straight at Duke.
With Northampton desperate to salvage something from the game, they stepped up the gears again but there was to be no way throught a determined Pompey rearguard.
Marquis, again, tried his luck twice – in between Wallace’s attempt to relieve the pressure at the other end.
Yet, the home side’s efforts would eventually provide no cheer for the home fans, as Pompey clung on to secure a fifth-straight win of Awford’s tenure and climb up to 13th in the league table.