ANDY Monkhouse was again at the double as Hartlepool United cruised to a 3-0 victory over Brentford at Victoria Park.
The 30-year-old scored both goals seven days ago during the 2-1 win at Exeter City and this brace took his tally for the season to eight.
The win moves Mick Wadsworth’s men 15 points clear of relegation but MK Dons’ victory means they remain eight adrift of a playoff position.
Leon McSweeney was first to threaten and the Irish wideman was unlucky not to net a goal-of-the-season contender when his dipping 25-yard volley nestled into the side-netting on 20 minutes.
But the deadlock was broken on 36 minutes, albeit thanks to the eagle-eyed officiating of assistant referee Simon Clayton.
Monkhouse saw a low shot repelled by visiting keeper Richard Lee before the same player hammered the rebound off the underside of the crossbar.
When the ball cannoned down onto the line it looked as if The Bees had survived, but Mr Clayton ruled the effort to have entered the goal, if only by a matter by a matter of millimeters.
It mattered not and Monkhouse wheeled away in celebration at his fourth goal in six matches.
Myles Weston then twice went close to leveling before half-time with vicious left-footed strikes which rose narrowly above Scott Flinders’ crossbar.
But Monkhouse extended the home side’s lead 12 minutes into the second half, latching onto Antony Sweeney’s square pass before drilling home under Lee from 12 yards.
Former Watford stopper Lee then came became Ryan Donaldson and his first goal for the club with an instinctive one-handed diversion over the crossbar after the young loanee had levelled a half-cleared corner towards the roof of the net.
Gary Alexander could have halved the deficit just after the hour mark but his close-range stab was shinned clear by Scott Flinders.
Hat-trick-hunting Monkhouse should have made the matchball his on 68 minutes but the frontman, having not received a pass from strike partner Donaldson, was still remonstrating with his team-mate when the ball ran into his path just yards from goal.
Sweeney arrived to retrieve the situation but his shot was kept out by Lee.
But the game was put to bed seven minutes from time as Gary Liddle climaxed a swift breakaway with a first-time smash after McSweeney had cushioned Colin Larkin’s cross into the midfielder’s feet just eight yards out.
Pools: Flinders, Haslam, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Sweeney, Murray (Humphreys 75), Liddle, McSweeney (Brown 87), Monkhouse, Donaldson (Larkin 70)
Subs n/u: Rafferty, Gamble, Boyd, Bjornsson.
Brentford: Lee, O’Connor, Woodman, Bean (Legge 58), Saunders, Weston (Grabban 75), Diagouraga, Osborne, Simpson (Reed 58), Neilson, Alexander.
Subs n/u: Moore, Balkestein, Bignall, Byrne.