Bill Hagerty admires Brentford’s intelligent spanking of Rangers in fiercely-fought local derby


It is not necessarily true that brain always triumphs over brawn, but it’s a better than even-money bet. Take David and Goliath. Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston. The tortoise and the hare. Odysseus’s wooden horse and the Trojan War. Okay, perhaps not the wooden horse, which relied upon the Trojans’ stupidity, but you get the picture.

Brentford’s dispatch of local rivals QPR, who arrived with battering ram-rated brawn but not a lot of detectable grey matter, was also an example of outwitting the enemy. Not by brains alone – there was a lot of guts, if little blood, in their performance, and a smidgeon of luck which they embraced gratefully – but in the long run Rangers were out-thought rather than out-muscled.

The visitors’ game plan became evident when Neal Maupay was clattered to the ground while the sound of the starting whistle must have still been reverberating in his ears. He was to be similarly dumped, face first or on his back, several times more, experiences that on this day did not result in a bout of his familiar red mist but sanguine acceptance,perhaps brought on by his deserved if premature award in the week as the EFL player of the year in London.

Said Benrahma found himself shadowed by at least two of the visiting defence and struggled to retain the form that had brought him a hat-trick against Hull. Ollie Watkins sliced a shot towards the corner flag and Kamohelo Mokotjo cleared the roof of the visitors’ stand, while QPR were restricted to the occasional and invariably wayward pot-shot from distance. Edifying it wasn’t.

The game-changer came minutes into the second half when Watkins rush into the goal area ended with him sprawled on his face, courtesy of Grant Hall. Goalkeeper Joe Lumley’s dive was in the right direction but could achieve only finger-brushing contact with the ball as Maupay’s penalty registered his twenty-third goal of the season.

From then on, with Romaine Sawyers and Mokotjo establishing professorial authority in midfield, Brentford dominated. Mokotjo tested Lumley who then did well to reach a powerful Dalsgaard header and a Benrahma free kick, while QPR substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel proved his first name to be a considerable exaggeration by clumsily fouling Dalsgaard and earning a yellow card with his first intervention in the proceedings.

So unemployed was Daniel Bentley that he might have knitted a scarf to keep out the early-evening chill before Osayi-Samuel required him to save – feet first – the visitors’ first and only on-target effort.

The onrushing Benrahma’s goal – simple after an educated through ball from Sawyers and a selfless square pass from Maupay – destroyed the visiting defence, guaranteeing the three points, before Sergi Canos, substituting for Benrahma, scored in the final minute with a shot that took a heavy deflection to sail past Lumley and high into the net.

Incidents along the way included Jake Bidwell being  heckled by the Brentford faithful for clattering Maupay as well as having the temerity to leave Griffin Park for Loftus Road and two flares tossed on to the pitch, one at either end, that earned the ‘mindless idiots’ responsible a severe verbal wigging from announcer Peter Gilham.

Hard to believe, I mused to my mate Charlie at the final whistle, but this is the first time Brentford have won five consecutive league games at home in 68 years.

 ‘I remember it well,’ he said. Occasionally economic with the truth is Charlie.


Brentford: Bentley, Konsa, Jeanvier, Barbet, Dalsgaard, Mokotjo, Sawyers, Odubajo, Watkins, (sub Marcondes), MaupayBenrahma (Canos).

QPRLumley, Furlong, Leistner, Hall, Bidwell, Wszolek (sub Smith), Cousins, Luongo, Freeman, Eze (Osayi-Samuel), Wells (Hemed).