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Queens Park Rangers 2 Brentford 2

Late goals rock Brentford as derby ends all square

27 November 2017

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Brentford conceded two goals in the last 90 seconds as they let a 2-0 lead slip against Queens Park Rangers. It looked as if a brace from Lasse Vibe would give Brentford another West London derby win as they held a 2-0 lead deep in to stoppage time. But Matt Smith headed in in the third minute of stoppage time and Luke Freeman bundled the ball home in the dying seconds to earn his team a share of the spoils.

It was a draw that looked unlikely for most of the second half. Vibe scored just after the break and then added a well-worked second inside the final ten minutes to give Brentford an advantage that seemed as if it would be enough for the win. But two set pieces led to two goals and QPR got a point. It will be one the hosts might feel they deserved based on the openings created but The Bees had enough chances in the second period to put the game to bed before the late intervention and the late drama left both sides scratching the heads at the performance of the officials.

The pattern of the game was established in the early stages. QPR were happy to mix it up. They often went from front to back quickly, looking to hit their twin strikers Idrissa Sylla and Conor Washington and take the territorial advantage. But they also played in to midfield in the early stages, looking to draw Brentford out and play in behind. Brentford’s style was more possession based. The Bees looked to user their midfield trio – Ryan Woods, Nico Yennaris and Kamo Mokotjo – to move up the pitch and then get wide men Sergi Canós and Florian Jozefzoon in to the action in the final third.

Brentford’s style was more successful in the opening exchanges. The home side made mistakes in possession and Brentford dominated the ball. They also had the better early chances. Canós saw a shot deflect for a corner and John Egan’s effort from that dead ball hit a defender and bounced wide. Jozefzoon then delivered another corner that Andreas Bjelland headed straight at Alex Smithies.

The QPR goalkeeper was in the action again soon after, making a superb save high to his left to tip a curling effort from Canós around the post. That led to another corner that Egan met but the home side was able to scramble the ball away. Brentford were not having it all their own way as QPR were harrying in midfield and made it difficult to play through at times but when The Bees got the ball in and out of the centre of the pitch quickly, chances came.

Smithies had to rush out to beat Vibe to a chipped ball through and when a corner dropped loose Bjelland saw a shot blocked. Yoann Barbet then whistled a free kick inches over the bar from 25 yards as Brentford’s pressing won them the dead ball in QPR territory. There were also chances at the other end, however, and Jamie Mackie perhaps had the best of the first half when Sylla found him 15 yards out but he shot over the crossbar.

Sylla had a header blocked and the resulting corner was scrambled clear before an effort from Freeman was bravely blocked. Freeman then almost got in after good work from Sylla but a fine tackle from the impressive Egan prevented him getting a shot away. Sylla’s physicality was causing The Bees problems and he flicked on again later in the half to find Washington but the fierce shot was saved by Daniel Bentley.

Brentford lost Jozefzoon just before the half hour to injury but that allowed Canós to shift to the right and he became more influential. The Spanish attacker headed a Barbet cross wide at the near post and then whistled a shot just past the far post after cleverly turning clear. Canós and Vibe then nearly combined for a goal just before the break but the latter’s shot, after a one-two, was blocked by Jack Robinson.

Canós also started the second half well but the chances immediately after the break were at the other end. When a corner was half cleared, Josh Scowen nodded it back and Sylla diverted it on to the crossbar. The ball was then recycled and Scowen shot well over. Scowen had another shot blocked before Vibe’s lay off put Ollie Watkins away but he shot in to the side netting with players waiting in the middle for a ball across.

That was a good chance for The Bees but they worked a better one moments later and made it count. After a run from Canós was halted, Yennaris lifted a ball in and Vibe controlled, swivelled and turned in one motion to send a low shot out of the reach of Smithies and in to the net. It was a fine finish and a clinical way for Vibe to open his account for the season. The lead was almost doubled moments later when a raking pass from Barbet released Yennaris in behind but his lofted effort on the stretch looped just over the bar.

The goal brought about a change from the home side with the gangly Smith replacing the powerful Sylla. Any pretence about style from the home side went out of the window as ball after ball was played long. Brentford dropped a little deeper, perhaps too deep, to try and combat the aerial threat and looked to play on the counter attack to add the second goal they needed.

Washington shot over after cutting in off the left before then working space on the left for Massimo Luongo to set up Scowen but the midfield man blazed over. As the game got more stretched and more frantic pressure was applied to referee Stephen Martin and he was in the centre of the action. When a long ball was played over the top, the hosts appealed that Bjelland had handled, Brentford struggled to clear and the ball was played back in, Smith challenged and the ball dropped loose but Freeman’s effort hit Egan at point blank range with Mr Martin waving away appeals for a penalty for deliberate handball.

Watkins, who was Brentford’s main out ball on the left, had a shot blocked before Mackie flicked a header wide at the other end. Yennaris then split the home defence with a great ball and Smithies spread himself to prevent Vibe making it two for The Bees. The corner was played short and Yennaris found Vibe again but Smithies was well-positioned to make the save. Watkins then curled a shot over the bar from the inside left channel.

Smith could have equalised when he met a Freeman corner ten yards out but his header deflected inches wide. Egan then blocked another shot from the leggy striker and when Brentford doubled their lead moments later it looked as if The Bees had weathered the storm. Romaine Sawyers had a shot blocked and then picked up the loose ball before exchanging passes with Mokotjo and delivering a cross from the right Vibe fired past Smithies and in to the bottom corner.

That seemed to deflate QPR. The home fans streamed out and Brentford had chances to inflict a heavy defeat. Neal Maupay fed Watkins in the left channel and his deflected shot was superbly saved by Smithies. Watkins and Yennaris then saw efforts deflect over while Egan made a vital header at the other end when it looked as if Smith might get in behind. And with 90 minutes on the clock it looked as if that was that.

But there was a sting in the tail. Mr Martin failed to spot a hack on Watkins and QPR won a corner on the right, it was played short, Jake Bidwell beat Bentley to the cross and Smith headed in off the crossbar. That left the home side a minute to find a goal and when Sawyers was surprisingly penalised in midfield, they had a chance. The ball was pumped long in to the box, Smith headed down and Freeman bundled the ball in to give his team a draw.

Queens Park Rangers: Smithies; Cousins (sub Wszołek 74 mins), Baptiste, Robinson, Bidwell; Freeman, Luongo, Scowen, Mackie (sub LuaLua 73 mins); Sylla (sub Smith 58 mins), Washington

Subs (not used): Lumley, Goss, Chair, Wheeler

Bookings: Freeman (15 mins), Mackie (27 mins)

Brentford: Bentley; Clarke, Egan, Bjelland, Barbet; Woods; Jozefzoon (sub Watkins 29 mins), Yennaris, Mokotjo, Canós (sub Sawyers 73 mins); Vibe (sub Maupay 82 mins)

Subs (not used): Daniels, Mepham, Macleod, McEachran

Bookings: Vibe (63 mins), Maupay (90 mins) (fifth of season) (suspended for one match – Fulham, 2 December 2017).

Attendance: 13,410 (2,259 Bees fans)

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