FIVE games remain and Town need to find some snappy answers to the tough questions posed by defeat at Griffin Park.
A play-off slot is there for the taking, but if Town produce too many more performances like this then they will surrender that opportunity.
It was not that it was an awful display and at the 70-minute mark, with the game still goalless, they looked the more likely winners having created some good chances at the start of the second period. But once they went behind to a 71st-minute penalty they capitulated in a manner that does not bode well unless they can find a response.
Admittedly the visitors were within their rights to argue against the spot kick, but really their frustrations should have been channelled into hitting back rather than switching off and allowing the Bees to romp to victory.
Not to denigrate Andy Scott’s side in any way – he has put together an athletic, pacy and well-organised outfit – but Brentford are essentially a League I side and if Town are aiming to be competing in the Championship next season then they really should be capable of bettering sides like these.
The turning point came when Sam Wood fired in a corner on 71 minutes and Town defender Dean Heffernan was hit as the ball bounced across the six yard box.
Referee Andy Hall ruled that the Town left back had played the ball with an arm and, despite skipper Peter Clarke leading the protests, it was left to Alex Smithies to try and keep the scores level, but he was well beaten by Charlie MacDonald’s perfectly placed kick.
It was tough for Town to take as the contest had been pretty even and, if anything, they were just beginning to look the more likely scorers.
At the start of the second period they were making the running with chances falling frequently as first Gary Roberts’ persistence set up a shooting chance for Theo Robinson, who put the ball narrowly wide, and then they had a string of corners from which central defenders Neal Trotman and Peter Clarke went close to scoring.
But the Bees’ penalty for some reason best known only to the Town defence, shifted the balance of power and the home side added to their tally twice in 13 mad minutes.
Their second goal came courtesy of a neat Danny Foster pass that allowed Lewis Grabban a free run at Smithies and he finished in style, and then MacDonald added his second when he was allowed too much room by the Town defence to control a Foster throw-in and turn the ball into the net.
If they wanted to make excuses, Town could point to the fact that they were forced into a late change with right-back Lee Peltier being withdrawn after suffering an ankle problem in the pre-match warm-up, but then the Bees could point to the fact that they could raise only five substitutes – being denied the services of Lionel Ainsworth who could not face his parent club. To be honest there were no excuses for Town’s frankly frightening last 20 minutes.
But even then they still created chances and Trotman hit the bar with a header following a Robbie Williams corner and then, in time added on, a Robinson shot caused consternation in the home penalty area and keeper Wojciech Szczesny conceded a penalty as he attempted to stop Roberts picking up the loose ball after the Bees’ keeper had been able only to parry the initial effort.
The fact that from the penalty all Roberts managed to do was scatter the fans that were left at the very back of the stand as he produced a high, wild shot nowhere near the target, pretty much summed up Town’s wretched finish to the afternoon.Related content