Austin bags dramatic derby winner as QPR storm back to sink the Bees
QPR (0) 2 Field 72, Austin 76
Brentford (1) 1 Toney 30
The Rangers messiah that is Charlie Austin grabbed his third goal since returning to the club as the Hoops stormed back from a goal down to claim a hugely satisfying win over their neighbours.
The game appeared to be drifting towards a routine win for the high-flying Bees, courtesy of Ivan Toney’s first half goal, but two goals in four minutes – the first from debutant substitute Sam Field, turned the match dramatically on its head.
Brentford were so keen to bounce back instantly from the disappointment of having their unbeaten run of 21 league games ended on Sunday, but they lost their way after Toney claimed his 24th goal of the season and Rangers’ positive approach in the second half was richly rewarded.
It was surely a sweet moment for former Bees boss Mark Warburton, and for Rangers, who had lost the previous four encounters with their rivals and won only one of 10 encounters.
With five wins in six matches, their fortunes have changed emphatically and putting a spanner in the promotion works will have delighted the fans watching at home.
In a rather prosaic first half, mostly characterised by misplaced passes, much midfield hustling and balls flashing across the Rangers box, the Bees grabbed the initiative on the half hour following a foul by Todd Kane on Rico Henry.
Mathias Jensen, positioned on the left corner of the penalty area, drilled the ball firmly towards the near post and Toney got ahead of his markers to help the ball on its way inside the far post.
Rangers did manage to get a couple of shots away, with Charlie Austin and Ilias Chair both flashing shots wide. They came closest though just before the interval when David Raya was called into action to block a firm low volley from the right boot of Yoann Barbet following a corner.
A spirited start to the second half by the Hoops hinted at what might be. An inswinging corner from Chair come back off the crossbar and Stefan Johansen curled a free-kick from distance just past the angle of post and bar.
The state of play and the prospect of counter-attacking at pace suited the Bees. In one such raid, Tarique Fosu pinged wide from well outside the box, although he ought to have opted to pass to better placed runners either side of him. Then Sergi Canos’ backheel gave Jensen a chance from close-range which was clipped over from a tight angle.
But the Hoops drew level when Kane’s lofted ball to the far post caused mayhem, and a weak attempted clearing header from Rico Henry landed at the feet of Field, the 22-year-old midfielder on loan from West Brom, who gleefully crashed home.
Five minutes later and the unexpected turnaround was completed when Lee Wallace scampered to the byline and pulled the ball back invitingly to Austin, who made no mistake, sweeping a low shot into the bottom corner via a defender.
The striker seemed to take particular pleasure in celebrating loudly in front of the away dug out – the result, no doubt of some choice derby verbals being launched between both parties before that moment.
But it summed up the passion that this fixture has started to generate in recent years and a night of drama.
Hoops: Dieng – Dickie, Cameron, Barbet – Kane, Ball (Field 56), Johansen, Wallace (Kakay 79) – Chair – Austin, Dykes (Willock 65). Subs not used: Lumley, Hamalainen, Bettache, Kelman, Adomah
Bees: David Raya – Dalsgaard (Rasmussen 83), Reid, Bech Sorensen, Henry – Dasilva (Ghoddos 75), Janelt (Forss 83), Jensen – Fosu (Mbeumo 58), Toney, Canos. Subs not used: Pinnock, Daniels, Roerslev, Zamburek, Bidstrup