QPR 1 BRENTFORD 3

Greville Waterman reports on a night to remember for 2,482 Bees fans at Loftus Road.

 

The lot of a football fan can be a frustrating and thankless one but every so often a night comes around which more than makes up for all the poor performances, soakings in the rain, sleet and snow, long expensive journeys and the lottery of referees’ decisions.

This was such an occasion as the Brentford fans floated home on air after a convincing win at their old enemy QPR.

Brentford swiftly came out of the blocks and their quick one-two’s and excellent use of the ball soon tore vast holes in the porous home defence, lacking the injured Agent Barbet, which is yet to keep a clean sheet this season.

Dasilva’s rapier-like through pass gave Mbeumo a clear sight of goal but the excellent Kelly outguessed him and made an athletic save low down to his right.

Then a glorious 15-man passing move, which went from one end of the pitch to the other, culminated in Benrahma and Norgaard combining to set Mbeumo free and his dinked cross found Watkins lurking in space between the two ponderous centre halves and his header gave the Bees a fully deserved lead. A goal to savour.

Thomas Frank’s game plan worked to perfection before the break as the forwards pressed high up the pitch and the tireless midfield trio of NorgaardMokotjo and Dasilva tacked and harried and also used the ball cleverly and creatively when the opportunity arose. Benrahma too was a box of tricks and coming back to his best.

Raya was largely untroubled and the Bees went off to the raucous cheers of their supporters after an exceptional first half performance.

"Keep it tight for the first few minutes of the second half and we will silence the crowd” was the thought going through my mind and probably that of every other Bees fan but the game turned on its head as Brentford turned sloppy and gave the ball away straight from their own kick off. A succession of soft corners and free kicks followed, Norgaard was booked for dragging back Eze and the home crowd woke up and became interested again.

Wells forced a wonderful flying save from Raya but Brentford’s respite was brief as Eze’s corner was headed in powerfully and on the bounce at the near post by Grant Hall with his impotent marker, Rico Henry, being cynically blocked off.

Surely QPR who would have gone second with a victory, would go on to win but the Bees held firm and then on the break Watkins’s low cross was only half cleared and Mbeumo went to ground after a challenge by Scowen. Finally the Gods smiled down on us as referee Woolmer awarded what was at best a dubious penalty kick. Fitting justice too for Scowen – a real master of the dark arts who somehow escaped a yellow card during the game.

Benrahma seized the ball to no complaints this time and his fulminating spot kick, reminiscent of Kevin Pressman for Sheffield Wednesday against Wolves (look it up on YouTube) raged into the top corner of the net. As we celebrated wildly behind the goal Said ran to embrace Peter Gilham on halfway – a nice touch.

QPR now had to chase the game and here is where the influence of Mark Warburton became evident. Had Ian Holloway or Steve McLaren still been their manager, Brentford would have doubtless been subjected to an aerial bombardment and might well have wilted under the pressure. Now Rangers passed the ball carefully and quickly from side to side, a mini-Brentford in the making, searching and probing for an opening that thankfully did not come. Eze, Chair and Samuel are real footballers and it was almost a delight to watch them weave their pretty patterns.

Kelly saved well from BenrahmaDasilva and Watkins on the break but our hearts were in our mouths when Raya, otherwise faultless on the night, unaccountably dropped a simple cross that thankfully fell to Jeanvier who hoofed it clear.

Four interminable minutes of injury time were almost up when the ball fell to Valencia who held it up well and Norgaard passed it to Jensen who strode into the area without challenge and set the ball up on a plate for Watkins to score with the last kick of the match for his tenth goal of the season.

This was a famous victory, our third in a row, which cements our drive towards the playoff zone. It is also our seventh win in the ten meetings with QPR since our promotion to the Championship.

The Bees own the bragging rights in West London – and nobody can deny it!

 

Queens Park Rangers: Kelly; Rangel, Hall, Leistner, Manning; Cameron (sub Mlakar), Scowen; Eze, Chair, Osayi-Samuel; Wells

Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Jeanvier, Henry; Dasilva (Jensen), Nørgaard, Mokotjo; Mbeumo (Valencia), Watkins, Benrahma