Slick Brentford just too potent for Rangers in west London derby
QPR 1 Brentford 3
Rangers again missed the chance to go second in the Championship as neighbours Brentford got the better of them in Monday’s west London derby.
The Hoops were deservedly behind at the break to an Ollie Watkins header and although Grant Hall levelled it early in the second half, parity was short lived, with Said Benrahma blasting home a controversial penalty to restore the visitors’ lead.
Rangers occasionally threatened to get back on level terms again but Watkins tucked home from close range in injury time to seal the deal after having the goal put on a plate for him by sub Mathias Jensen. It was the striker’s 10th goal of the season.
The Bees looked slicker from the outset, sharper on the ball and in their swift counter-attacks, which always threatened to be telling. They are on a roll and played with the greater confidence throughout.
Bryan Mbeumo had the first big chance of the evening for them to offer a warning – carelessly left in space on the edge of the area by a sleepy Rangers defence and picked out by Josh Dasilva. But his first-time shot was kept out by Liam Kelly, diving low to his right. It was one of many fine saves demanded of the Scot.
However, on 23 minutes, Mark Warburton’s old side, who had started brightest, stole into the lead when Mbeumo’s chip to the near post was met by the diving head of the ever-dangerous Watkins.
Rangers needed to step it up, attacking the Loft End in the second half and they drew level four minutes after the restart.
Hall was the unexpected hero for Rangers, heading home an Ebe Eze corner swung towards the near post – the goal coming moments after keeper David Raya had pulled off a fine save to keep out a Nahki Wells header, with Eze again the supplier.
Yet just as Rangers’ ambitions were growing, they fell behind again on the hour – Benrahma firing into the roof off the net from the penalty spot after ref Andy Woolmer decided Josh Scowen had tripped the Algerian.
It was hardly a full-blooded challenge and replays in fact showed that Benrahma had thrown himself to the floor as Scowen pulled out of the challenge. In other words, a clear dive.
But without VAR in the Championship, there was no possibility of a second opinion.
It was almost 3-1 when Benrahma had a goalbound shot tipped aside by Kelly and the busy stopper had to be alert to deny Watkins another goal with a shot on the turn inside the box.
It was hardly a surprise when Watkins bagged another in injury time during yet another swift break.
Rangers know they always have hope with Eze. Even if the first half was disappointing from Warburton’s side overall, Eze had Hoops fans on their feet with some dazzling midfield trickery.
It suggested better things were to come and most of the danger the R’s conjured came from him. But this time it was not to be and they could have few real complaints about the outcome.
Rangers: Kelly – Rangel, Leisner, Hall, Manning – Scowen, Cameron (Mlakar 72), Osayi-Samuel – Chair, Wells, Eze. Subs not used: Lumley, Kane, Wallace, Pugh, Amos, Ball.
Brentford: Raya – Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Jansson, Henry – Mbuemo (Valencia 75), Dasilva (Jensen 80), Norgaard, Mokotjo – Benrahma, Watkins. Subs not used: Daniels, Thompson, Pinnock, Zamburek, Roerslev