Rangers take West London bragging rights in derby match
Brentford’s Youth Team failed to score in a game for just the second time this season as they were comprehensively beaten by Queens Park Rangers in the U18 Professional Development League Two South this morning.
Rangers had lost all four games against their west London neighbours at First Team, U21 and U18 level already this season, but gained the upper hand in the tie when Rhys Springer-Downes headed home Gianni Crichlow’s cross just before half-time.
Crichlow’s long-range drive doubled the advantage with 20 minutes to play, before he grabbed his second assist of the game with a cross that substitute Ody Alfa headed home ten minutes later.
Brentford opened the game at a high tempo, looking for a repeat of the away win in August, but almost fell behind after seven minutes when Dan Darbyshire broke free in the area and fired a shot across goal.
Two tame free-kicks from George Harmes and Ian Carlo Poveda were easily saved, before goalkeeper Marcin Brzozowski almost gifted Danny Parish a goal when his clearance fell short with the striker closing in; Michael Anastasiou was on hand to make the vital clearance.
Undoubtedly the better team, Brentford again went close through Parish and Poveda, but were denied a penalty when the former was crowded out and felled in the box. Boyhood Brentford fan David Titov put in an inspired display at right-back against the club’s local rivals, but was powerless to prevent Michael Klass hitting a vicious 25-yard effort that beat Ellery Balcombe, but cannoned off the top of the crossbar to safety.
The home side had their chance to open the scoring five minutes before half-time, when Harmes’ whipped corner was met by Julius Fenn-Evans, but he sent his free header over from 10 yards out.
It was the Rs who drew first blood, however; Klass played a short corner to Crichlow, who took a touch and curled a cross to the far post that was diverted past Balcombe by the head of Springer-Downes two minutes before the break.
Early in the second period QPR made a triple change hoping to capitalise on their lead, yet whilst Brentford showed some signs of good build-up play, neither Poveda’s shot from Luke Dunn’s cross, nor Seth Owens rare foray forward could trouble Brzozowski.
QPR had conceded eight or more goals on three separate occasions this season so De Souza gave Courtney Austin his first runout since November and switched from a 4-2-3-1 formation to 4-4-2, partnering the frontman with Parish in attack.
Fellow substitute Shawkat Tahir made an immediate impact upon his arrival on the pitch and won a penalty; Parish stepped up with to score what would have been his tenth of the season, but Brzozowski saved well to his right to preserve his clean sheet.
Back in August, a Crichlow goal had put the Rs in front at Harlington, and the winger put the game beyond doubt when he netted his side’s second of the game; a stinging drive that sailed in from 25 yards out.
Austin had two golden opportunities to add to his season’s tally of seven goals, firstly heading over a Parish cross from five yards, then when Tahir crossed for him inside the box, his outstretched leg couldn’t quite reach far enough to send the ball past the Rs keeper.
But Crichlow capped off an impressive display when he charged down the left wing unchallenged and crossed for substitute Ody Alfa to head over the top of Balcombe to make it 3-0.
Brentford: Ellery Balcombe, Romayne Pennant (Shawkat Tahir 64), Seth Owens, Sean Bird, David Titov (Tyrick Mitchell 46), Giovanni McGregor (Courtney Austin 64), George Harmes, Ian Carlo Poveda, Julius Fenn-Evans, Luke Dunn, Danny Parish
Unused subs: Cameron Greaves, Pablo Gonzalez
Queens Park Rangers: Marcin Brzozowski, Rhys Springer-Downes, Jack Williams, Michael Klass (Ody Alfa 52), Michael Anastasiou (Daniel Disubi 52), Charlie Fox, Gianni Crichlow, Anthony Folkes, Dan Darbyshire, Romeo Akinola, Hugo Cardoso (Josh Bowler 52)
Unused subs: None