Your Brentford v Queens Park Rangers match report powered by Utilita.
Brentford’s push towards the Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs continued as they beat Queens Park Rangers at Griffin Park. Florian Jozefzoon scored a second half winner that gave The Bees three points they had to work hard for but deserved on the balance of play. Sergi Canós had put Brentford in front during an opening they dominated but QPR levelled late in the first period after Ollie Watkins had seen a penalty saved. But The Bees found a way through in the second period and took the win.
The victory leaves Brentford just a point outside the top six with two games to go and on a run of four wins and a draw from their last five, as well as being unbeaten in seven. The win was hard-fought, with QPR battling back from a poor start and determined after the interval to make life difficult for the hosts, but well-earned. It extended Brentford’s run to four wins out of five against QPR in the past two seasons.
Brentford went on the attack from the first whistle and could have been ahead inside a minute when Canós and Watkins combined to set up Romaine Sawyers for a shooting opportunity. His shot was deflected wide for a corner. When that was worked cleverly short, Watkins set up Canós for an effort that curled just wide. Those were just two good openings that Brentford created in an opening 20 minutes they dominated.
The Bees were deservedly ahead at the end of that period thanks to Canós. His second goal of the season, and second in a Griffin Park West London derby this term – after he scored against Fulham in December, came 16 minutes in from one of many corners The Bees forced in the opening exchanges. Lewis Macleod delivered it, John Egan flicked on and when Yoann Barbet couldn’t force it in the ball dropped loose and Canós was first to it, smashing in to the roof of the net. The Spanish attacker was surrounded by QPR players but simply wanted it more and lashed home.
The goal was the least Brentford deserved for their start to the match. They knocked the ball around superbly, cut holes in the QPR defence and midfield and created chances. The visitors tried to stop The Bees playing through but couldn’t get tight enough in the key areas, Ryan Woods and Sawyers found pockets of space and Canós was a livewire threat on the left. Egan made a block when Idrissa Sylla tried to shoot from 20 yards but most of the action was at the other end.
A poor kick from QPR goalkeeper Matt Ingram and miss-control from Alex Baptiste presented the ball to Sawyers 25 yards out, he found Watkins and the chance appeared to have gone when the return pass went astray. But Watkins got on to the loose ball and his low shot was well saved by Ingram. The corner was played deep, Henrik Dalsgaard headed back and a shot on the turn from Chris Mepham was well saved by Ingram.
Macleod then curled a shot over the bar after good approach play involving Canós and Watkins before putting in the corner from which Brentford edged ahead. Canós had a shot blocked soon after following a good run from deep but QPR reacted well to going behind. They took a position higher up the pitch and started to get possession in Brentford territory. Josh Scowen saw a free kick deflect wide and then had a shot blocked before a header from Baptiste was weak and saved by Daniel Bentley.
The flow of the half was interrupted by a series of stoppages. Massimo Luongo received treatment for a head injury, as did Darnell Furlong before a lengthy stoppage when Brentford were awarded a penalty. That came five minutes before the break after a sublime piece of skill from Sawyers. He looked like he had lost the ball in his own half before winning it back, flicking it around two QPR players, exchanging passes with both Woods and Macleod and then splitting the defence with a delightful ball. Watkins raced clear and was brought down by Ingram. Referee Andrew Madley decided the QPR goalkeeper had been trying to play the ball and cautioned him when he could have dismissed him for deliberately bringing down the Brentford man. Ingram was injured in the clash and looked dazed but was still able to get down to his left to save a rather weak Watkins spot kick. Watkins also appeared to be hurt by the collision and that may have affected his penalty.
That seemed to deflate The Bees a little, who had other chances before the spot kick. Watkins had seen an effort from a tight angle saved by Ingram and the same man then lashed just wide after a run from deep. Watkins also hit a shot against the near post after good work by Canós on the left. Ingram may have had that covered but may have been beaten by the pace. Watkins next effort, from the penalty spot, also failed to beat the QPR keeper and gave the visitors a boost, so much so that they levelled just before the break.
The goal came out of nothing. Luongo intercepted as Brentford tried to break from a corner and, after a couple of lucky ricochets when The Bees failed to clear, worked a shooting chance, Bentley saved superbly but Sylla was there to tap home and level it up. Ingram sunk to his knees at the other end, the effects of the collision ending his afternoon. It also ended Watkins match early as the Brentford striker failed to appear after the break.
Neal Maupay came on to replace Watkins and Brentford almost regained the lead just after the break when a deep corner found Sawyers but his shot deflected in to the side netting. That was something of a false dawn at the start of the second half. The match was stop-start after the interval, challenges flew in and QPR had three players booked in two minutes. Brentford were dominating possession but QPR sat in and made themselves hard to break down. They also looked to counter-attack.
Sylla headed a corner wide for the visitors before a break down the left led to Jake Bidwell almost finding Scowen. Mepham made an important tackle to stop that shot and Luongo then had two efforts blocked. A cross from Dalsgaard almost opened QPR up at the other end as Canós arrived and headed powerfully down but substitute goalkeeper Alex Smithies saved superbly low to his left. The same man then saw a header deflect wide.
The crucial goal came with just over 20 minutes remaining and Sawyers was involved again. He wriggled free on the left and worked the ball away to Kamohelo Mokotjo, he fed Jozefzoon and the winger cut inside before curling a shot past the outstretched hand of Smithies and in to the corner. That gave The Bees the lead for the second time and thrilled a packed Griffin Park. It was almost three soon after when Dalsgaard played a one-two with Jozefzoon and Maupay set up Sawyers but his low shot was saved by Smithies.
QPR tried to respond and made changes. They threw tall striker Matt Smith on and looked to play long to him but Brentford had chances at the other end. Mepham headed a Jozefzoon free kick over the bar and Canós had a shot blocked after a run from deep. There were other occasions when the ball wasn’t quite played correctly or a defender made a late interception and that kept QPR in the game.
Darnell Furlong was just unable to reach a Smith flick to head in and Luke Freeman nodded over the bar from one of many long throws in the later stages. But Brentford stood up strong. Mepham and Egan headed almost everything away with Barbet taking the task of marking Smith and doing it superbly. That meant QPR couldn’t find a way through and Brentford had the win.
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Egan, Mepham, Barbet; Woods; Jozefzoon, Sawyers, Macleod (sub Mokotjo 65 mins), Canós (sub Yennaris 81 mins); Watkins (sub Maupay h/t)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Bjelland, Clarke, McEachran
Bookings: Woods (26 mins) (ninth of season), Watkins (33 mins) (eighth of season)
Queens Park Rangers: Ingram (sub Smithes 45 mins); Kakay, Furlong, Baptiste, Bidwell (sub Manning 74 mins); Luongo, Scowen; Smyth (sub Smith 72 mins), Freeman, Wsołek; Sylla
Subs (not used): Cousins, Perch, Eze, Osayi-Samuel
Bookings: Ingram (42 mins), Bidwell (50 mins), Sylla (52 mins), Scowen (52 mins)