Swindon Town 1 Brentford 3: Gayle force leaves Robins on brink

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The Independent Football

Swindon Town's hopes of avoiding relegation were left hanging by a mathematical thread here yesterday after Brentford, urged on by a noisy army of visiting fans, marched to a victory that consolidated hopes of automatic promotion and delighted their eccentric manager, Martin Allen.

"Top class, a great result and a very good performance," croaked Allen afterwards. "We did everything right. My day started when my gardening this morning was disturbed by the news that Andy Frampton's wife had gone into labour and he couldn't play. It wrecked our team preparations but this was a very good show."

Such was Brentford's supremacy, Allen, a crouching, waving and gesticulating figure on the touchline, could instead have sat in a deck chair with an ice cream. His side dismantled their opponents comprehensively, turning a sad afternoon into one of ignominious disappointment.

For Swindon, it began with a minute's silence in memory of Eddie Buckley, who served the club for 40 years, but ended in dismal defeat. It is no surprise that the Wiltshire club's player-of-the-season awards, scheduled for next Sunday, have been cancelled due to lack of interest.

The win that ended Brentford's run of four draws came courtesy of slapstick errors by their hosts. After 27 minutes, a misplaced pass by Andy Nicholas was pounced on by Paul Brooker who outpaced all challengers on a 60-yard run, before toe-poking beyond Rhys Evans.

Twelve minutes later, Nicholas dithered and Marcus Gayle struck from six yards. Swindon responded and, after Stuart Nelson saved from a Ricky Shakes' volley, the substitute Aaron Brown pulled a goal back with a quick free-kick, but Calum Willock restored the cushion with an adroit lob four minutes later.