Northampton Town 0 Portsmouth 3: Jordan Cross’ verdict on chilling demolition to silence doubts ahead of Bolton Wanderers showdown

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The fears Pompey were going to struggle without key players at a freezing Sixfields was rebuffed in a brutal fashion by John Mousinho's ruthless men. Here's the Blues verdict from Jordan Cross.

The portents of doom had foretold their frosty prophecy.

A world without Colby Bishop is a barren, bleak and unforgiving landscape; a bit like a December Sixfields in -3C, in fact.

Well, the icy reality of life without their top scorer was about to bring a biting Arctic chill to Pompey’s promotion ambitions, after relinquishing their top spot to a worthy foe.

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Forget FOMO, the fear of missing Colby was the palpable sentiment ahead of a tricky Norhampton challenge, which had even the most optimistic supporter accepting getting in and out with the job done was where the bar was set.

Yet, come the final reckoning of an afternoon this club’s dynamic leader ranked as the most freezing he’d experienced in football, he was able to bathe in the afterglow of a display to warm the souls of those ready to say the wheels were coming off the Blues’ Championship bandwagon.

The forceful truth had just been slammed down the throats of opponents quietly fancying the chances of taking a statement scalp, from an opponent shorn of their two most majestic artists.

Even weakened, however, this team were simply too organised, too smart and too powerful to deal with. 

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A Pompey without the majestic Regan Poole is a poorer Pompey. Throw in the loss of a talisman who’s now scored 34 goals in 67 starts, and the narrative this was a wounded opponent ripe for the picking was perhaps understandable.

The truth was very, very different - a reality gloriously embraced by 1,454 travelling fans bouncing their way back to the League One summit.

This was as complete and dominant a performance John Mousinho’s men have produced since he assumed the Fratton throne.

Northampton were forcefully and brutally smashed aside with a display of first-half attacking might. Then came a second 45 minutes which was a textbook display of putting the game to bed, as a side unbeaten in four home outings were put in an unrelenting chokehold.

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But that wasn’t the most satisfying element of this away-day masterclass, that came in the unequivocal answers to very pertinent questions.

It arrived in Kusini Yengi’s link-up play and hard running, as the Aussie produced his most complete example of leading the front line in Bishop’s absence.

And it appeared in Sean Raggett confidently playing out from the back, in a performance which married ball-playing quality with his forceful natural attributes beautifully.

No Bishop, no Poole: no problem.

While Pompey’s rivals were competently dealing with FA Cup obligations, Mousinho’s side were busy reclaiming their place at the League One summit - and perfectly setting themselves up for their next mouthwatering top-of-the-table assignment.

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The manner in which Pompey almost contemptuously barged aside their opponent with attacking threat from all angles was an eye opener to this team’s possibilities.

Christian Saydee, even by his own wrecking ball standards, was brutal in his dismissal of the Cobblers meek rearguard effort. One first-half moment in which Northampton’s defenders literally bounced off his charge will go down in folklore.

Then there was Paddy Lane underlying his potential with finishing off the quality to match his attacking intent. The outcome was a new bar set for the January arrival’s mercurial talents.

It all meant Pompey’s spot at the top of League One they’d grown to cherish over 64 days before being usurped by Bolton was reclaimed - its significance not downplayed by Mousinho.

Now the toughest test yet lies is wait, one a side who keep finding the answers look far more prepared for after this chilling demolition. 

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