Pompey crashed to a miserable 5-1 defeat at high-flying Scunthorpe as their recent defensive resilience deserted them on a day to forget at Glanford Park
Richie Barker’s side had recorded five clean sheets in their previous 10 games but any hopes of a sixth were ruined inside five minutes as hat-trick hero David Syers’ deflected shot wrong-footed Blues keeper Trevor Carson.
And any chance of the visitors earning back-to-back victories for the first time this season – after defeating AFC Wimbledon 1-0 last weekend – were effectively ended on 36 minutes as League Two’s top goal-scorer Sam Winnall finished clinically, despite appeals for offside.
The game was over as a contest a minute before the break when Republic of Ireland international Paddy Madden – on loan at the hosts from Yeovil Town – cut through the Blues defence before teeing up Syers for his second of the afternoon.
Pompey debutant Toumani Diagouraga, playing in a central-midfield role, had the visitors’ only effort on target in the first half.
Richie Barker made a double substitution at half-time with Ricky Holmes and debutant Michael Drennan replacing Thery Racon and Andy Barcham.
But three minutes after the break it was four, as Carson expertly saved from David Mirfin but the predatory Madden pounced to fire home the rebound from five yards.
Wes Fogden was then caught in possesession for the visitors as a rampant Scunthorpe side underlined their promotion credentials with a fine sweeping move that ended with Syers completing his hat-trick from five yards out.
Drennan gave the travelling fans something to cheer back down the M1 with a late stooping header from Jed Wallace’s cross.
But the Aston Villa loanee’s debut goal was little more than a footnote on a miserable afternoon for Barker’s side.
The result leaves the Blues in 21st place in the table, seven points and two places above the relegation zone.