Will Grigg scored four goals as Swindon Town were relegated from League One after a ruthless 5-0 defeat away to MK Dons.
Town’s 3-1 victory at home to Portsmouth on Tuesday night offered them a slim lifeline, however they were up against an imperious and clinical Dons side.
Russell Martin’s side took the initiative straight away, racing into a two-goal lead within the first half an hour thanks to a close-range effort by Grigg and a penalty by Scott Fraser.
The Reds finished the half strongly and created chances through Tyler Smith and Scott Twine, only to have the wind knocked out of their sales by a second goal by Grigg right at the end of the first-half.
Grigg completed his hat-trick and scored a fourth right at the start of the second half to confound Town’s disappointment.
Town suffered in the early stages as the home side took control, moving the ball around with some crisp and tidy passing.
After fifteen minutes, the home side took advantage of their early dominance and breached the Town defence to take the lead.
A long ball in behind the Reds’ back line found Scott Fraser on the left-hand side of the penalty area, and the Dons number 10 steered the ball back across goal finding the sliding Will Grigg who made no mistake with the finish.
Dons did not hold up and it only took ten more minutes to double their lead.
A headed clearance from the Town defence fell kindly to Zak Jules and his volley struck the hand of Mathieu Baudry, leaving referee Scott Oldham with no choice but to point to the spot.
The confident Scott Fraser made no mistake, sending Lee Camp the wrong way and stroking the ball into the corner.
The second goal appeared to galvanise the Reds who started to impose their presence on the contest and created a golden opportunity to halve the deficit.
Twine won the ball in the Dons half and freed Jordon Garrick down the right-hand side and the Swansea loanee’s cross was dummied by Pitman into the path of a free Tyler Smith, however the number nine could not keep his effort down.
Minutes later a looping and curling 25-yard free kick from Twine was inches away from finding the corner of the Dons goal.
Town were getting closer and closer, but the Dons broke Reds hearts with a breakaway goal right at the end of half-time.
Laird terrorised Swindon’s left flank the entire game and it was his run which killed the contest off before half time.
The Manchester United loanee drove past Thompson and found the lurking Will Grigg with an accurate cutback and the experienced striker diverted the ball past a helpless Lee Camp.
It was a nightmare start for The Reds as Grigg completed his hattrick.
A smart interchange of passes culminated in Fraser being freed down the left-hand side to slide the ball across goal for Grigg to tap in.
The home side were ruthless and soon Grigg had a fourth, converting yet another cutback from the left-hand side past Camp to make it 5-0.
Dons still had an appetite for goals, and they would have had six if it were not for Anthony Grant clearing an Andrew Surman effort of the line.
The former Norwich City and Bournemouth midfielder should have got himself on the score sheet in the 64thminute, but his effort from Fraser’s run and pass was high and wide.
Camp endured a relentless afternoon in Buckinghamshire, but he did produce an incredible save from Laird in the second half, clawing a powerful, point-blank header from the Dons’ right wing-back onto the cross bar and away from safety.