Brentford scored two goals in the final two minutes to make it two wins out of two against Fulham. The Bees won the top-of-the-table clash 2-0 to restart their Sky Bet Championship season in the best possible way. Three months after the game was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, The Bees added to a 1-0 win at Griffin Park with a victory at Craven Cottage and closed the gap on Fulham in the table.
The teams started the game third and fourth in the Championship with The Bees four points behind their hosts. The game befitted two sides pushing for promotion and was relatively even with both teams having spells where they looked the likely winner. But Brentford added impetus with substitutes in the second half and took command. Emiliano Marcondes came on late on and set up the opening goal for Saïd Benrahma before scoring the second himself.
While Fulham had the best chance in the first half, it was Brentford who probably had the better of the game. The Bees looked stronger as the half wore on, and ended in the ascendency, but could have been behind before that. The best opening came when Tom Cairney and Neeskens Kebano were involved in creating a chance for Bobby Decordova-Reid, he let fly from 12 yards and beat David Raya but his shot cannoned away off the crossbar.
Raya also saved a header from Aleksander Mitrović that lacked power and Anthony Knockaert bent a shot from 25 yards that faded just wide of the far post. The other chances in the first half all came at the other end. The Bees tried to get Ollie Watkins in to space between Denis Odoi and Michael Hector and were often able to find room for Mathias Jensen and Josh Dasilva around the penalty area without finding the crucial final pass.
Benrahma saw an early effort blocked and Watkins set up a chance for Dasilva, but he slipped at the vital moment and the effort was saved low by Marek Rodák. The best Brentford chance of the half went the way of Tariqe Fosu, who forced Rodák in to a near post save after Benrahma had drifted off the flank and in to space. Benrahma also saw another shot blocked after work by Watkins and a Christian Nørgaard effort deflected wide.
As the half came to an end, Brentford started to really threaten. An opening was worked for Henrik Dalsgaard, but he couldn’t find the final pass from the right side of the penalty area and when Fosu measured a cross, Watkins got in front of Hector but powered his header the wrong side of the post. The Bees would have been happier at the break, especially with how the half ended but Fulham started the second period well.
They had the ball in the next eight minutes after the break but Mitrović was offside as he put an Odoi cross in after a clever dummy by Decordova-Reid. Odoi had a shot deflect wide and Joe Bryan hit a defensive wall with a free kick as Fulham pressed. Cairney was finding more and more space and it took a brilliant save from Raya to keep out a Mitrović header just past the hour mark.
Raya had made another save from Mitrović earlier in the half and another later on, but Fulham seemed to run out of steam. The Bees introduced Marcondes and Shandon Baptiste after the second half drinks break and took control. Dasilva moved further forward and with Baptiste and Marcondes prompting in front of an increasingly imperious Nørgaard, The Bees sensed there was a chance to turn one point in to three.
Watkins fired wide after cutting inside and Dalsgaard blasted off target from distance before Dasilva cut inside and lashed in a shot that did not trouble Rodák. But The Bees had the initiative and Benrahma bent a free kick over the wall and just wide before Ethan Pinnock met a Marcondes corner but failed to get the power to beat Rodák. The work of Odoi denied Pinnock the power he needed but Odoi was caught napping when Brentford scored soon after.
The crucial pass was played by Nørgaard, finding Marcondes in space in the inside right channel, he measured a cross and Benrahma arrived ahead of Odoi to poke home. The ball was just ahead of Watkins but Benrahma wanted to attack the cross more than his Fulham counterpart and prodded in. That gave The Bees the lead with two minutes remaining.
There was a hairy moment for Brentford when a cross dropped in the box and a Mitrović effort deflected away. But Brentford cleared the corner and the game was won. Benrahma broke away and picked out Marcondes on the far side, with Joel Valencia for support he cut back inside the penalty area, lashed in and celebrated the points.
Fulham: Rodák; Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Reed (sub Arter 80 mins), Cairney; Knockaert (sub Jasper 88 mins), Decordova-Reid (sub Johansen 88 mins), Kebano (sub Cavaleiro 72 mins); Mitrović
Subs (not used): Bettinelli, McDonald, Le Marchand, Christie, Sessegnon
Bookings: Arter (89 mins)
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Dasilva (sub Valencia 85 mins), Nørgaard, Jensen (sub Marcondes 70 mins); Fosu (sub Baptiste 70 mins), Watkins, Benrahma
Subs (not used): Daniels, Roerslev, Jeanvier, Thompson, Mokotjo, Dervişoğlu
Bookings: Dasilva (38 mins) (second of season)