Brentford extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a sixth home victory in six years against Queens Park Rangers. Ivan Toney’s 12th goal of the season won the game for The Bees as he headed home in the second half. Vitaly Janelt’s first goal for The Bees put them in front in the first half and although QPR equalised, Brentford won the game in the second half.
It was a hard-fought win for The Bees but one they will feel they just about deserved. The visitors started well and then battled back to equalised in a first half they probably shaded. But Brentford controlled the contest after the interval, went ahead again through Toney and the 2020/21 QPR went home the same way the five previous teams to visit this corner of West London had, with nothing.
QPR would have been the happier side after the first ten minutes. They dominated possession and territory in the opening stages, played on the front foot and pushed Brentford back. They mainly attacked down the right side with Bright Osayi-Samuel trying to isolate himself on Rico Henry. The Brentford left back was overworked in the opening stages, but Osayi-Samuel was unable to contribute anything of note and The Bees stood firm.
But despite QPR having a lot of the ball, the early chances went to The Bees and they were ahead inside 15 minutes. The goal came as Brentford moved quickly on the right, Emiliano Marcondes found Bryan Mbeumo and his cross was flicked on cleverly by Toney to Henry. There may have been a chance to shoot but Henry laid the ball back to Janelt to drill a low shot in to the corner of the net from 22 yards. QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng was left helpless and the ball fizzed past him to put The Bees in front.
Dieng had saved a shot from Mbeumo a few minutes earlier but almost presented Brentford with a second goal soon after. His poor kick gave the ball to Marcondes 25 yards out, the Brentford midfield player took a touch and fired a low shot but it was too close to Dieng and the goalkeeper was able to make the save. QPR were being pushed back and were being pulled out of position in defence as Brentford looked to attack.
But the visitors were able to turn defence in to attack and equalised ten minutes after falling behind. A Tariqe Fosu cross was cleared and Osayi-Samuel was able to break on the right. He got away from Fosu and the chasing Janelt to deliver a cross, Lyndon Dykes arrived to fire it first time past David Raya and in to the net. The goal came against the run of play but QPR could argue they deserved to be level after the first half of the contest.
The game was mostly even after the equaliser. QPR had a lot of the ball but looked most dangerous when they were able to break after Brentford attacks. The Bees were more patient on the ball, but their tempo wasn’t troubling QPR and it was the visitors that ended the half with the upper hand. And they probably should have gone in ahead at half time.
The spell of QPR pressure came after a Brentford attack. Mbeumo got away on the right and cut the ball back for Henrik Dalsgaard to cross, Toney to his head to it but the effort lacked the power to beat Dieng. The visitors went straight on the attack and a clever flick from Ilias Chair allowed Dominic Ball to put Dykes in behind, Mads Bech Sørensen came across and put his shoulder in to the back of the QPR attacker. Referee Matthew Donohue decided a foul had been committed and correctly adjudicated it was just outside the penalty area. He also, perhaps fortunately for The Bees, decided the offence was only worthy of a caution, despite Dykes seeming like he was about to shoot from 15 yards with only Raya to beat.
Yoann Barbet took the resulting free kick and hit it in to the side netting. Raya the got down well to save a shot from Chair before a Tom Carroll pass released Dykes in behind in the inside left channel again. This time Dykes got the shot off but lashed it well wide. Brentford also had a chance just before the break when Mbeumo got in behind and on to a Janelt pass but his touch was heavy and Dieng gathered.
The Bees would have been looking for a change in momentum at the break and made two substitutions. Pontus Jansson and Mathias Jensen were introduced in the place of Dalsgaard and Josh Dasilva. That also saw a change in shape for The Bees with Jansson joining Sørensen and Ethan Pinnock in a back three with Marcondes shifted to the right side of a midfield four.
With fewer players in the centre of the pitch, the game was more open, but it was QPR that had more of the ball. Osayi-Samuel was still the main outlet and with Henry further forward there was more space for him to exploit. This was also an attacking option for The Bees and Henry had chances to cross from deep inside QPR territory early in the second half that he failed to make the most of.
Marcondes and Mbeumo were linking well on the right and while QPR had more of the ball in the first 15 minutes of the second half, they did not create much. Barbet met a corner with a header he failed to direct and there were other set pieces for the visitors. The Bees were using their possession in a better way, moving forward quickly, especially wide, and breaking well when they could. They had the ball in the net ten minutes after half time when Mbeumo created space to cross for Toney to finish but he was adjudged to be offside. Toney was holding a very tight line and was millimetres offside if at all, but the goal was ruled out.
A few minutes later, the flag stayed down, and Toney was not be denied. Mbeumo was hacked down by Chris Willock on the right and won a free kick deep in QPR territory. Marcondes delivered it and Toney diverted a header past Dieng and in to the net. Toney was once again holding a tight line on the last defender, but he got himself ahead of Niko Hämäläinen and left him standing as he nodded home. The cross was superb, Toney was too strong and too clever for Hämäläinen and The Bees had the lead.
Jansson had a header saved from a Mbeumo free kick soon after and was then in the action at the other end, landing on the ball as it dropped loose from a corner before fellow defenders were able to clear. Henry saw a shot deflected in to the side netting when he got on to a Toney pass with Dieng stranded. Jansson then saw a shot blocked after turning on the edge of the penalty area as Brentford looked to give themselves breathing space.
Jensen and Janelt, in the centre of midfield, were starting to dominate the contest and the width being offered on both sides pushed QPR back. The visitors were unable to get enough of the ball to create problems at the other end and Ball lashed well over from 25 yards when they did work some space in the Brentford half. And their task was made more difficult when Todd Kane was sent off inside the final ten minutes. He had been cautioned for a foul on Fosu just past the hour and when he put his foot in to the chest of Marcus Forss, Mr Donohue had no choice but to show a second yellow card, swiftly followed by a red.
QPR had already made two attacking substitutions but made another as they sought to chase the game. But they were unable to build any momentum with a man fewer on the pitch. And it was Brentford that should have added to their lead. Sergi Canós and Toney combine to put Forss in behind, but Rob Dickie made a superb recovery tackle to keep his side in the game.
With five minutes additionally added to the end of the game, there was time for the visitors, but Brentford held firm. Toney almost added another with a clever lofted effort that landed on the roof of the net and he then played a pass for Sama Ghoddos, but the shot flew over the bar. QPR had some attacking possession but never looked like scoring and The Bees took the points.
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard (sub Jansson h/t), Pinnock, Sørensen, Henry; Marcondes (sub Forss 71 mins), Janelt, Dasilva (sub Jensen h/t); Mbeumo (sub Ghoddos 87 mins), Toney, Fosu (sub Canós 71 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Thompson, Stevens, Pressley
Bookings: Sørensen (39 mins), Canós (90 mins) (second of season)
Queens Park Rangers: Dieng; Kane, Dickie, Barbet, Hämäläinen (sub Bonne 85 mins); Ball (sub Adomah 80 mins), Carroll; Osayi-Samuel, Chair, Willock (sub Thomas 73 mins); Dykes
Subs (not used): Kelly, Wallace, Masterson, Kakay, Bettache, Kelman
Bookings: Hämäläinen (29 mins), Ball (74 mins)
Sent Off: Kane (83 mins) (second bookable offence)