Brentford good value for slender win after dominant performance against Fulham
Brentford 1 Fulham 0
Fulham fell to a third defeat in eight days but could have no complaints – the home side’s superiority underlined by the fact they struck the post three times.
It was something of a minor miracle that the Whites stayed in this west London derby until the very end, as they were frequently under the cosh and carved open by the trickery of an unplayable Said Benrahma, while Ollie Watkins was a constant threat.
Scott Parker shuffled his pack in the second half, throwing on Abou Kamara, Anthony Knockaert, and Bobby Reid, but the Bees maintained the upper hand and should have won more comfortably.
A more even contest suggested itself early on, with Neeskens Kebano crashing a low shot onto the outside of a post. But the Bees forced a flurry of corners to rouse their fans and they began to create good chances.
A teasing cross from the dazzling Benrahama was begging for a far-post boot to connect with it, then a misplaced square ball from Tim Ream had the Whites in a pickle and Benrahma should have capitalised instead of running into traffic, but Mathias Jensen still stung the palms of Marek Rodak.
Moments later a cross from Benrahma was stabbed in on the volley by Bryan Mbeumo and through the legs of the Fulham keeper for the opening goal in the 22nd minute.
It really should have been 2-0 on the half hour, when Mbeumo got the beating of Ream and his square ball was thumped against the far post by Ollie Watkins, with Josh Dasilva planting the rebound wide with the goal at his mercy.
A rattled Fulham were then grateful that Benrahma skied badly after Watkins had laid an inviting ball into his path on a counter-attack.
Then it was the turn of Pontus Jansson to hit the woodwork just before the interval – the defender rising up at a corner to head against the inside of the far post.
Fulham had got lucky and needed to up their game after the break to have a chance of cashing in. Cyrus Christie – in for the suspended Denis Odoi – tested David Raya in the Brentford goal and Tom Cairney wafted an effort just over before Ivan Cavaleiro chanced his arm from distance.
But the Bees got back on the front foot – twice going close through Dasilva, before connecting with woodwork for a third time when Rodak made a hash of a Jensen shot from outside the area.
The keeper palmed the shot onto the inside of his right hand post then watched open-mouthed as it flew across the line without going in.
Rodak then kept out a Watkins shot arrowing towards the bottom corner and Mbeumo could have wrapped things up after scampering through after another beautiful piece of work from Benrahma.
Reid came on and nearly flicked in a cross from the right from Knockaert, but his header glanced wide. In truth a goal then would have been a travesty, as the Whites disappointed.
Brentford: Raya – Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry – Dasilva (Norgaard 75), Mokotjo, Jensen –Mbeumo (Roerslev 85), Watkins, Benrahma. Subs not used: Daniels, Thompson, Jeanvier, Sorensen, Hammar.
Fulham: Rodak – Christie, Mawson, Ream, Bryan – Cavaleiro (Reid 76), Onomah, Johansen (Kamara 63), Cairney, Kebano (Knockaert 69) – Mitrovic. Subs not used: Bettinelli, O’Riley, De La Torre, Sessegnon.