Brentford 5 Birmingham 0
Brentford thrashed struggling Birmingham to keep their play-off hopes well and truly alive.
Ollie Watkins and Florian Jozefzoon gave the Bees a comfortable half-time lead before Neal Maupay ended a second-half Blues resurgence with two strikes in quick succession, the second given as an own goal by Marc Roberts.
Watkins opened the scoring with a low, hard shot from distance that David Stockdale should have saved but pushed into his near corner before Jozefzoon finished a swift counter-attack.
Maupay tapped home Henrik Dalsgaard’s low cross from close-range before reaping the rewards of another Stockdale mistake after being set up by Watkins, who found the fifth late on.
It was a morbid return to Griffin Park for former Bees trio Harlee Dean, Maxime Colin and Jota, who all joined Birmingham last summer.
Dean was subjected to most of the jeers from the home support, as Maupay was lively from the start and had three early shots on goal that missed the target before Brentford lost Josh McEachran to injury.
Ryan Woods was introduced but the visitors capitalised on some sloppy Bees passing and on-loan Southampton striker Sam Gallagher went close before Stockdale’s mistake helped Brentford take the lead.
Maupay was influential in the second goal on 41 minutes as he stole possession high up the field and setup Jozefzoon on the left side of the penalty area to finish well.
Gallagher again went close unmarked after the break that he should have done better with, before the rest of the half was dominated by the hosts and yielded three more goals.
Dalsgaard did well on the right to provide Maupay’s first before Watkins robbed Stockade of possession far away from goal and setup Maupay to find the net via Roberts and the crossbar.
And Watkins bagged a second when he headed home Jozefzoon’s cross from inside the box to lift Brentford into the top 10 and to within three points of the play-off places.
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Egan, Bjelland, Barbet; Mokotjo, McEachran (Woods 20); Jozefzoon, Sawyers (Judge 70), Watkins; Maupay (Marcondes 74)
Subs not used: Daniels, Clarke, Ogbene, Mepham