Three goal in ten second half minutes condemned Brentford to West London derby defeat against Queens Park Rangers. The Bees had led at half time thanks to a Neal Maupay goal and seemed to be in control of proceedings. But they conceded three times between the 50th and 60th minutes and there was no way back. Henrik Dalsgaard pulled one back with ten minutes remaining but that triple salvo had sealed the game.
All appeared to be going well for Brentford at the end of the first period. They had earned the lead that Maupay had given them at the midway point of the first half and although the later stages of the opening 45 had been more even, there was little sign of what was to come. The loss of Maupay to a head injury just before the break may have contributed but as QPR moved up a gear in the second half, Brentford had no answer and then could not fight their way back.
A deluge at kick-off ensured a slick playing surface and Brentford looked to make the most of it in the early stages. The Bees went on the front foot early on and looked to press QPR back. The home side tried to stay organised and compact out of possession, as they were for a lot of the opening exchanges, but they also looked to stop Brentford playing out from the back. And the home side were also keen to counter-attack when they could, which meant both sides had sights of goal in the first quarter.
Brentford probably came the closest to getting a goal in the first 20 minutes. Josh McEachran and Romaine Sawyers won the ball in midfield and the former released Sergi Canós on the right, he attacked the box and let fly with a shot that whistled just past the far post via the finger tips of Joe Lumley in the home goal. Nico Yennaris and Saïd Benrahma then combined to work a shooting chance for Moses Odubajo but Toni Leistner, the man-mountain in the home defence, diverted it behind for a corner. Maupay also headed wide from The Bees as they pressed.
But QPR also had some early sights of goal, albeit going about the game in a different way. A poor Daniel Bentley kick enabled Ebere Eze to find Nahki Wells inside the box and he whistled a shot just past the far post. Another shot from Wells deflected over the bar, albeit a goal kick was given, when the hosts broke and Geoff Cameron fizzed a shot just wide when a free kick was half cleared. But Brentford had the initiative, they were dominating possession and territory and midway through the half, they had the lead.
It was a goal that was superbly executed and finished, as Brentford found a gap and ruthlessly exploited it. Yennaris helped Benrahma find some space in the inside left channel and he lashed in a shot from 25 yards that dipped and swerved, and Lumley could only palm out to the waiting Maupay to nod in. Maupay gleefully celebrated his 12th of the campaign and the inquest began in the QPR defence as to why both Benrahma and the goal scorer were afforded the luxury of time and space deep in their territory.
That could have been a platform for Brentford to build on and The Bees continued to dominate the ball for the remainder of the half. But QPR responded well to going behind, they worked a little harder, tried to get higher up the pitch and began to gain a territorial foothold. Brentford would have felt they had control, but the tempo was slower and the chances at the end of the half went the way of the home side.
They did, however, mostly come from set pieces. Bentley failed to gather a free kick that dropped to Leistner, but his shot was blocked and when Dalsgaard ceded possession in his own half a Massimo Luongo shot failed to really trouble the Brentford goalkeeper. The home side did almost equalise at the end of the half when a free kick was whipped to the far post, it caused confusion and Joel Lynch got a toe to it that diverted it towards goal but Sawyers cleared off the line.
That should have been the last action of the half but as play continued, Maupay fell to the ground in the centre circle. He was holding his head, needed oxygen and, after lengthy treatment, had to be replaced. Alan Judge came on with Canós moving to play as the central striker.
The change was just about the last action of the first half and almost had an immediate impact at the start of the second. McEachran and Judge combined to release Canós and he worked his way in to the box but pulled his shot wide of the far post. Canós proved to be a livewire option down the middle but by the time he was next in the game, QPR had levelled.
The goal came when the home side overloaded on the right but owed a lot to some fortunate ricochets. Pawel Wsołek saw a cross blocked and was lucky that it fell back to him, his shot was saved by Bentley, but it bounced around and fell to Luongo to tap in. The midfield player could not miss but Brentford may consider themselves unlucky that the ball fell in the wrong place. What followed, however, owed little to luck.
Within eight minutes QPR were ahead when Dalsgaard and Judge clipped the heels of Luke Freeman on the left and the free kick was swung in, Leistner pulled off Chris Mepham and got a header in that was half blocked but dropped free for Lynch to tap in. Moments later it was three as Wsołek got away on the right and delivered a cross, Wells beat Konsa and slotted home.
At that point the game was just about up and Brentford were left wondering what had happened. They could have gone 2-0 up before the equaliser and had chances to regain the lead just after the leveller. Benrahma and Canós were causing the hosts problems and it took a fine save from Lumley to keep out a shot from the former with the latter just unable to force it in. Canós was then unable to get a shot away after a Yennaris flick had released him.
Even after the triple strike Brentford could have hit straight back as Canós freed Benrahma and a low curling effort was well saved by Lumley. But the game was different in the early stages of the second half. QPR pushed very high up the pitch. They stopped The Bees playing the ball in and out of midfield and for long stages, the game was played around the Brentford penalty, even when the visitors had possession.
QPR had all the momentum and could have added to their lead. Freeman fired in to the side netting and Wells was just unable to reach to score when Wsołek again got away on the right. Eze then smashed a free kick just over from 20 yards. Benrahma curled over at the other end and Judge had a shot blocked as Brentford started to turn the game their way again. There were signs QPR were starting to tire in the final 15 minutes and a late Dalsgaard goal gave Brentford hope.
Brentford had a long spell of possession and Sawyers found space, he slipped a ball through for Dalsgaard to get in to the penalty area, cut back on to his left foot and beat Lumley. Unfortunately for Brentford, Benrahma had taken a knock to the ankle from Leistner in the build-up and had to be replaced.
The goal gave Brentford ten minutes plus stoppage time to find a way to win a point and they pressed on. Sawyers and Josh Dasilva drove The Bees forward and QPR retreated as the minutes ticked down. But the home side were well drilled and they defended their penalty area well. Judge managed to work space for one shot that flew high and wide and even Bentley went forward for a last second corner kick but there was no way through and QPR had the win.
Queens Park Rangers: Lumley; Rangel, Lynch, Leistner, Bidwell; Wsołek, Cameron, Luongo, Freeman; Eze; Wells (sub Cousins 86 mins)
Subs (not used): Ingram, Furlong, Hall, Scowen, Smith, Osayi-Samuel
Bookings: Freeman (18 mins), Wells (65 mins)
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Konsa, Mepham, Odubajo; McEachran (sub Dasilva 76 mins); Canós, Sawyers, Yennaris, Benrahma (sub Clarke 84 mins); Maupay (sub Judge 45 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Barbet, Oksanen, Emiliano
Bookings: Sawyers (59 mins) (fifth of season – suspended for one match, Middlesbrough, 24 November)
Attendance: 17,609 (2,696 Bees fans)