A solitary first-half goal from Ricky Holmes earned in-form Northampton a 1-0 victory over his former club Portsmouth.Holmes broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when the former Pompey midfielder beat goalkeeper Paul Jones with a curling shot after being set up by Chris Hackett. Ivan Toney earlier tested Jones from the edge of the box and headed wide from a good position. At the other end Ryan Taylor had a header saved by Matt Duke, while Danny Hollands fired wide. Paul Robinson headed over from a corner and Josh Passley fired over for Pompey before Holmes struck the only goal of the game. Toney tested Jones with a low shot on the turn as Cobblers got on top in the closing stages of the first half. But Matt Tubbs forced Duke into action at the other end and Nigel Atangana was off target just before the break. Passley flashed a shot just wide after the restart, Robinson saw his header saved by Duke, as did Taylor, but in between Holmes was off target. Chances were few and far between in the second half as defences got on top. Tubbs was denied by Duke late on before Ben Chorley got a second caution and was dismissed as Holmes' first-half strike proved the difference.