DONCASTER are on the verge of securing promotion to Sky Bet League One after ex-Pompey striker John Marquis’ hat-trick helped them to a thumping 5-1 win at Grimsby and moved them six points clear at the top.
Sam Jones’ strike put the Mariners ahead but Rovers were level when Andy Williams’ dummy allowed Marquis to slot home.
A superb header from Marquis gave the visitors a half-time lead and it was three just after the hour when the striker burst through to complete his hat-trick with his 26th goal of the season.
Williams grabbed the fourth and Alfie May bundled in a fifth late on to leave Doncaster two points away from securing a top-three place and promotion back to the third tier.
Plymouth, who were 1-0 winners at Doncaster last time out, slipped to a 1-0 defeat at home to in-form Accrington.
Jordan Clarke’s eighth minute header was enough for Stanley to return with all three points.
Pompey are now just four points behind the Pilgrims and the pair meet on April 14.
Stanley went into the game on the back of an 11-game unbeaten run and made it 12 as Jordan Clark’s early header from Sean McConville’s free-kick was enough to pick off the Pilgrims.
But Stevenage kept up the pace in the race for promotion as Tom Pett’s early deflected strike earned them a 1-0 win against Barnet, while Ollie Palmer’s last-minute strike saw Luton get the better of play-off rivals Blackpool and moved them fifth.
Reuben Reid’s penalty in the seventh minute of stoppage time snatched Exeter a 2-1 win at Mansfield.
At the bottom, Newport closed the gap on safety to five points with a 1-0 win at home to Crawley as both sides ended the game with 10 men.
The Exiles took the lead in fine style, with Mickey Demetriou letting fly with a 30-yard effort.
Both sides had a man sent off early in the second half as Newport midfielder Joss Labadie and Crawley defender Josh Yorwerth saw red for an altercation.
Omer Riza’s first game in charge of Leyton Orient saw him sent to the stand for the second half of a 2-0 defeat at home to Wycombe.
Tom Parkes was sent off for a high challenge on Wycombe’s Garry Thompson after 28 minutes and they were made to pay as the visitors scored twice in as many minutes shortly afterwards.
Matt Bloomfield slotted in the opener and Wycombe doubled their advantage 60 seconds later when O’s defender Jens Janse collided with his goalkeeper Sam Sargeant, allowing Myles Weston to tap in.
Cheltenham were impressive 3-1 winners against Morecambe, who had seen an early Michael Rose penalty saved by Scott Brown.
Harry Pell’s header put Cheltenham in front and after Alex Kenyon was sent off for handling the ball on the line, Robins striker Danny Wright converted from the penalty spot to make it two.
Pell added a third with a superb free-kick, with Emmanuel Onariase’s own goal scant consolation for the Shrimps.
Elsewhere, Shola Ameobi scored twice as Notts County were 3-1 winners against Colchester, Reggie Lambe made one goal and scored a second as Carlisle were 2-0 winners against 10-man Yeovil and Luke Berry bagged a brace for Cambridge as they beat Crewe 2-1.