Ollie Watkins scored two more as Brentford picked up their third win in a week – and claimed West London bragging rights – by beating Queens Park Rangers. The striker headed in the opener in the first half and then sealed the win in stoppage time. In between, Saïd Benrahma lashed in a penalty to restore Brentford’s lead after QPR had levelled early in the second but The Bees deserved their win and 3-1 was not flattering.
Brentford had been in control for most of the first half, scoring once and creating almost all the good chances. But QPR started the second half quickly and Grant Hall headed in a corner to level it up. A penalty, hotly disputed by the home side, gave Brentford the chance to restore their lead and The Bees did not really look like giving it up. The different between the teams was shown as Brentford ruthlessly exploited the space afforded to grab a third while QPR tried a series of pot shots to no avail.
While the atmosphere around the stadium in the early exchanges was highly charged, the game started at a more sedate pace than might have been expected. Both teams were happy to maintain possession in their own half and while there were always attempts to look forward, there was a calmness among most of the players. Brentford had more of the ball in the first ten minutes but QPR had the first shot when Bright Osayi-Samuel darted in to space on the left and let fly but his effort was gathered low down by David Raya.
Much of the opening quarter of the contest was played in a congested central third of the pitch. Both teams started with a plethora of players looking to occupy the middle of the pitch and the ball was not on the flanks as much as either team would have liked. Bryan Mbeumo looked to provide the width on the right for The Bees while Osayi-Samuel did so on the QPR left but most of the play was in the midfield area. The tempo was, however, starting to rise and much of the first half was played at high pace.
Mbeumo was looking the man most likely to create something for Brentford and should have scored 16 minutes in. The home side failed to deal with the second phase of a corner and Josh Dasilva wriggled free in the centre of the pitch before threading a ball through to Mbeumo, he only had Liam Kelly to beat but the goalkeeper got down well to save the first time shot to his left. The ball looped up and Watkins met it, but his header lacked power and Kelly recovered to save.
Dasilva had a shot blocked for The Bees after good work by Watkins and Mbeumo and Benrahma curled a shot in to the arms of Kelly from 22 yards as Brentford pressed. But The Bees almost gave QPR a goal 18 minutes in when a poor Watkins pass put Kamohelo Mokotjo under too much pressure and he was robbed. Ilias Chair had most of the Brentford half to run in to and players in support, but he dragged a shot wide.
Midway through the half the goal Brentford had been threatening arrived, and in exactly the way it was being telegraphed. After Benrahma had created the initial space a delightful sleight of foot from Christian Nørgaard gave him space in midfield, Mbeumo waited for the ball and then delivered a cross for Watkins to head in. The Brentford striker got between the defenders and his powerful header beat Kelly to give The Bees the lead.
It could have been two when Benrahma, who was becoming increasingly influential, got away on the left but Mbeumo couldn’t convert the cross and Mokotjo was unable to get a shot away. Mbeumo was then unable to find Watkins in the penalty area after Dasilva burst through the midfield. QPR tried to respond after the goal and had the ball in attacking areas but Brentford defended well and there was nothing clear cut for the hosts.
The home side had switched their wide players late in the first half and seen Osayi-Samuel get a little more joy on the right while Ebere Eze had drifted in off the left to good effect without being able to create an opening. But Eze drew a foul early in the second half from Nørgaard that saw the Brantford man booked – surprisingly the first of the night given some of the challenges in the first half from the home side that saw no further punishment from referee Andy Woolmer – and QPR penned Brentford in. Osayi-Samuel won a free kick that was delivered by Eze and met by Nahki Wells, but Raya made a great save to his left. Seconds later, however, he was beaten.
The resulting corner was taken by Eze, Hall got free at the near post and powered a header past Raya and in to the net. The delivery was inch perfect and Hall’s team mates created him the space for him to arrive and plant an unstoppable header in to the net. Brentford tried to respond immediately with Benrahma curling a shot just past the far post after cutting inside and the game was starting to stretch.
As the volume and temperature rose around the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, the pace of the game increased. Both teams looked to attack and there were mistakes as the game became more frantic. One of those mistakes in possession, gave Brentford their second goal. Eze was robbed by Henrik Dalsgaard after a series of increasingly erratic passes and Watkins was released in the inside right channel, his shot beat Kelly but was blocked by Toni Leistner, only for it to fall to Mbeumo. As Mbeumo attempted to wriggle free, Josh Scowen came in with a tackle and Mr Woolmer adjudged a foul had been committed. Benrahma lashed the penalty high to Kelly’s right and Brentford were back in front.
It could have been three moments later when a Watkins backheel put Benrahma away, his first touch took the ball perfectly for a low left foot shot but Kelly was equal to it and saved superbly. Raya saved from Eze at the other end after Dasilva had been robbed by Chair, but Kelly was still the busier goalkeeper. Benrahma almost created a third when he robbed Osayi-Samuel and darted away from him, the ball reached Mbeumo and although the first shot was blocked, the follow-up from Dasilva needed to be well saved again by Kelly.
A great run on the left by Ryan Manning could have created a second QPR goal when Rico Henry made a mess of a headed clearance and nodded it against Wells, but the striker could not react and Raya gathered. The Brentford goalkeeper was well positioned to save from Chair after more good work by Eze, but Kelly was working harder. When Dalsgaard nodded a deep free kick in to Watkins, the QPR goalkeeper made a superb stop low down to his left to stop after the Brentford striker had spun quickly and let fly.
As the minutes ticked down, QPR became more frantic. The home fans jeered their displeasure whenever the ball went backwards, and Brentford dealt the almost everything that was thrown forward. When The Bees failed to clear one long ball, Chair set up Eze but his shot was saved by Raya. And that gave Brentford a chance to wrap it up. Nørgaard, still full of running deep in stoppage time, burst through midfield and set Mathias Jensen away, the ball was squared, Watkins tapped in and Brentford had the win.
Queens Park Rangers: Kelly; Rangel, Hall, Leistner, Manning; Cameron (sub Mlakar 72 mins), Scowen; Eze, Chair, Osayi-Samuel; Wells
Subs (not used): Lumley, Kane, Wallace, Pugh, Amos, Ball
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Jeanvier, Henry; Dasilva (sub Jensen 81 mins), Nørgaard, Mokotjo; Mbeumo (sub Valencia 75 mins), Watkins, Benrahma
Subs (not used): Daniels, Roerslev, Thompson, Pinnock, Žambůrek
Bookings: Nørgaard (46 mins) (third of season), Henry (57 mins) (second of season), Watkins (90 mins) (second of season)
Attendance: 15,562 (2,482 Bees fans)