Brentford 1, Burnley 3

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All the talk prior to kick off at Griffin Park surrounded Burnley target James Tarkowski's refusal to feature for Brentford.

And how the Bees could've done with the 23-year-old defender on a night where the Clarets were clinical, incisive and relentless.

The Burnley players celebrate Joey Barton's stunning free kick

The Burnley players celebrate Joey Barton's stunning free kick

Though there was probably nothing the former Oldham Athletic man could've done to prevent any of the away side's spectacular strikes from beating a helpless David Button.

Sean Dyche's side played with tempo, purpose and conviction from the first whistle and rarely gave Dean Smith's outfit a chance to catch breath.

David Jones fired an early warning signal when dragging an effort wide of the target courtesy of Scott Arfield's knock down.

The Scot almost turned provider again when exploiting the space in behind Maxime Colin only to see his attempted pull back from the bye-line, with Sam Vokes and Andre Gray perfectly poised, blocked by Button at the near post.

Stats from tonight's game

Stats from tonight's game

The visitors probed again - this time through Jack O'Connell's failure to connect with the ball - but Gray miscued from George Boyd's centre before Arfield was foiled by Button.

Stephen Ward's penetrative foray forward almost brought success too, but O'Connell committed and did well to deflect Gray's resulting effort over the bar.

Brentford's backline couldn't cope with the movement of their opponent's off the front and Button's goal was under siege again as Gray beat the offside trap to square for Ward who skewed his attempt wide from the edge of the box.

All that came within 12 minutes of play but the hosts couldn't hold out any longer. Arfield's fourth goal of the season was simply magnificent.

Ward fed the ball in to Gray, the striker cushioned in to Arfield's path and the Scot shaped an exquisite strike that sailed in to the top corner from 20 yards out.

The home side responded though any signs of a fight back were brief. Alan Judge, also the subject of a bid from the Clarets, combined with Colin to find John Swift at the back post but Matt Lowton raced across to block.

Burnley doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark and again it came from a moment of brilliance. With Jones grounded on the edge of the box, Joey Barton stepped up to nonchalantly pass the ball, with exceptional control and technique, past Button via the upright. It was the first time in 11 years that the midfielder had netted in successive games.

The action, live on Sky Sports, was non stop and Vokes should've extended the advantage when turning Arfield's assist over the top under minimal pressure after Colin failed to cut the ball out.

Burnley's third goal arrived with six minutes of the first half remaining and it followed the sequence that had preceded it. In fact the strike was so sweet that it broke Twitter as a consequence!

As the Bees struggled to clear, and the ball looped up in the air, Boyd swung his left boot at the ball and watched from the edge of the box as his volley crept in to the corner.

The Clarets were in cruise control but they could've added more before the break with both openings falling for Gray on his return to Griffin Park.

The Championship's leading scorer left Bidwell in a different postal code when spinning the full back on the edge of the penalty area but, with time on his side, he sliced wide of the target.

The club's record signing then hooked over the bar from Barton's delivery as the half came to a close.

The hosts, who were just seen off by league leaders Middlesbrough midweek, proved a much tougher proposition after the interval as they pressed the ball with a greater energy.

Eventually their persistence was rewarded in the 57th minute as Brentford reduced the arrears. Vokes's clearance was blocked and fell for Judge who turned Lowton with ease before drilling beneath Heaton.

The Bees continued to apply the pressure in search of another and they went close on a number of occasions.

Substitute Lasse Vibe glanced wide from Judge's delivery when getting ahead of his marker, while half the stadium jumped to their feet when the former Rovers midfielder's set-piece careered in to the side-netting as Heaton plunged desperately to his near post.

After Barton's rasping drive flashed past the upright at tone end, substitute Sam Saunders tested Heaton from 25 yards to keep the pressure on at the other.

Colin fired in to the side-netting in a bid to keep the hope alive while Vokes hoisted over from close range after holding off Harlee Dean to collect Barton's flick on from Lowton's cross.

The Clarets remain fourth in the table but have moved to within a point of Derby County and two points of Hull City who occupy the final automatic promotion slot.