Brentford took the West London bragging rights with a fourth consecutive home win over Queens Park Rangers. The Bees scored three second half goals to take the points and beat a QPR side that came to frustrate and were unable to respond after falling behind. Neal Maupay opened the scoring from the penalty spot and then set up a goal for Saïd Benrahma. Sergi Canós came off the substitute’s bench to score a third late on.
While a 3-0 victory may have seemed unlikely at half time, Brentford probably deserved it on the balance of play. They had the better of an even first period and after taking the lead, they put QPR to the sword. They had enough chances to have recorded a more comfortable win and never looked like relinquishing the lead they got early in the second period.
The opening exchanges were tight and tense. The teams matched up with 3-4-3 systems and both played quite narrow. This meant the centre of the pitch was congested and with the competitiveness of a local derby, there were fouls and misplaced passes as pressure was applied. Brentford probably had more of the ball in the opening exchanges but were unable to do much with it.
The visitors got men behind the ball as quickly as they could, often defending with nine outfield players building a wall for Brentford to get through. Their back three became a back five more often than not and The Bees were forced to play in front of them for much of the first quarter of the match. QPR did try to press high at times and stop the home side playing out but were largely content to sit in and wait for mistakes.
It took until the 18th minute for any attempt on goal and that – from Nahki Wells – deflected over Daniel Bentley’s crossbar. Another speculative effort from Toni Leistner was blocked and Ebere Eze also fired over for the visitors when a corner was worked short to him. QPR’s best chance of the first half hour came when Wells found space on the left and a ball inside ricochet fortunately for Massimo Luongo, he burst in to the box but was inexplicably tackled by team mate Luke Freeman as he looked set to shoot from 12 yards.
But it was Brentford who had the better chances in a low-key first half. QPR goalkeeper Joe Lumley saved at the feet of Benrahma after he had played a clever one-two with Ollie Watkins and there was a better chance from a similar position soon after. Following a spell of possession on the left, Benrahma found Romaine Sawyers and was then picked out with a delightful return through ball. With only Lumley to beat, Benrahma took a touch and poked the ball past the far post. Benrahma would have expected to score and could also have played it square to Maupay for a tap in, but the chance was wasted.
Watkins lashed wide after a run from deep and Kamohelo Mokotjo blazed well over the bar when a free kick dropped on the edge of penalty area later in the half. A pass from Yoann Barbet almost created a great chance for Moses Odubajo as he raced in to the space in the left channel but Paweł Wsołek raced back to make a challenge and prevent any sort of shot. The closest either team came to scoring before the break was when Watkins lifted a free kick to the far post and Barbet met it powerfully on the volley. The effort may have gone in or been tapped home by Maupay, but Wells was well-positioned to clear.
It was a first half that didn’t really deserve a goal and certainly not one of the quality that Barbet almost provided. The teams cancelled each other out long periods with an attritional midfield battle developing. Both tried to move the ball wide and Brentford were more adept at it but with QPR not willing to over-commit to attack, it left little space for The Bees and they would have been looking for a bit more inspiration and innovation after the break.
When Brentford went ahead five minutes in to the second half, it owed more to a QPR failing than a moment of inspiration. Odubajo played a ball in to space behind the QPR defence and their back three dithered while Watkins raced after it. Grant Hall was beaten in the race and then barged over Watkins inside the penalty area and hardly mustered an appeal when referee Keith Stroud pointed to the penalty spot, knowing what he had done. After a delay while others complained – most notably Darnell Furlong, who may have been booked as a card was waved in the general direction of him and Hall – Maupay beat Lumley low to his left. The spot kick was firm enough that even though Lumley got a hand to it, the ball nestled in the net and Brentford had the lead.
The Bees had almost scored just before when a dangerous Benrahma free kick was met at the near post but neither Barbet nor Henrik Dalsgaard could get the right connection. The goal did come a few minutes later and The Bees went for the jugular, looking to kill off their visitors. They should have scored again minutes later when a Dalsgaard pass was played on by Sawyers to Maupay, he rolled Leistner and fed Benrahma, but Lumley saved the shot. Benrahma tried to force home the loose ball but the first effort, when he had the whole goal to aim at a Lumley rushed out, was the better one.
There was another golden chance soon after when Brentford broke from a QPR corner, Benrahma got away from Wsołek and fed the arriving Mokotjo but the shot was weak and Lumley saved. With Watkins in more space to the right and Maupay also arriving, Benrahma may have picked the wrong pass but Mokotjo would still have expected to have beaten Lumley. The QPR goalkeeper kept the lead at one again just after when Dalsgaard met a Benrahma free kick with a powerful header. It looked as if the net would bulge but Lumley made a point-blank save.
The QPR goalkeeper was producing heroics to ensure his team were still in the game but Brentford’s pressure eventually told with 20 minutes to go. Sawyers picked the lock with a pass that released Maupay in behind a lumbering defence and he rounded Lumley before unselfishly squaring for Benrahma to score. Maupay had been forced wide but would still have fancied his chances but the pass was unerring and Benrahma had the simplest of tasks to double the lead.
The goal early in the second half had rocked QPR and they offered little in attack after the interval. Wells ran the channels gamely but had no support and the chances for the visitors came from range. Ezri Konsa had to make a brave block from a Luongo shot but the efforts became more speculative and less effective as the half wore on. Another Luongo shot was well off target and one from Jake Bidwell barely stayed in the stadium. Luongo had another go but, again, failed to test Bentley from distance.
Maupay could have made it three when he raced on to a pass from Canós but dragged a shot wide of the far post with only Lumley to beat. QPR, meanwhile, were relying on putting long balls, long throws or set pieces in to the box and trying to get substitute striker Matt Smith or a defender to win something. One dropped for Bidwell but his shot was smothered and Tomer Hemed headed a corner wide soon after. The closest they came to getting back in to the game was when Bright Osayi-Samuel wriggled free in the box, but his low shot was saved by Bentley.
With a minimum six minutes of stoppage time to be played, QPR might have felt they still had a chance, instead it enabled Brentford to grab a third. And it was another goal to savour. The Bees played out of a defensive area and a move involving four or five players created space for Mokotjo to feed Canós, he raced to the edge of the box and fired in to the top corner. The shot looked like it took a deflection as it sailed past Lumley but Canós celebrated with gusto as Brentford sealed their win.
Brentford: Bentley; Konsa, Jeanvier, Barbet; Dalsgaard, Mokotjo, Sawyers, Odubajo; Watkins (sub Marcondes 81 mins), Maupay, Benrahma (sub Canós 81 mins)
Subs (not used): Gunnarsson, Sørensen, Ogbene, Dasilva, McEachran
Bookings: Dalsgaard (67 mins) (eighth of season), Sawyers (77 mins) (eighth of season)
Queens Park Rangers: Lumley; Furlong, Leistner, Hall; Wsołek (sub Smith 77 mins), Cousins, Luongo, Bidwell; Eze (sub Osayi-Samuel 63 mins), Wells (sub Hemed 72 mins), Freeman
Subs (not used): Ingram, Scowen, Manning, Lynch
Bookings: Hall (49 mins), Osayi-Samuel (64 mins)
Attendance: 11,771 (1,630 away fans)