Brentford made it four wins on the spin as they triumphed in a televised West London derby against local rivals Queens Park Rangers. Austrian striker Marcos Djuricin wrote his name in to Brentford history with the winning goal on a memorable night at Griffin Park. The forward converted an Alan Judge cross early in the second half to settle the match and send QPR the way of Rotherham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic – all beaten by Lee Carsley’s Brentford in the last 13 days.
But this one meant a little bit more. Brentford had not beaten QPR since August 1965 and for much of the last 50 years there have been approaching 50 league places between the teams. But Djuricin’s goal put Brentford in to the top ten of the Sky Bet Championship, above their rivals and closing in on the leading teams.
The Bees deserved it overall. They had a little bit of luck in the first half with the visitors hitting the woodwork twice but dominated possession throughout. And they controlled the second half, limiting QPR to very few sights of goal once Djuricin had broken the deadlock.
QPR set up to contain The Bees. They fielded a tight five man midfield with the three most advance of that pack only a few yards in front of defensive pair Karl Henry and Dániel Tőszér. The visitors were content to sit off and tried to stop Brentford playing out in to midfield and then forward. The Bees dominated possession in the opening exchanges but it was largely in unthreatening areas.
With both teams playing five in the centre of the park that area was very congested and the first 30 minutes was low on quality. The football that was played was played by Brentford and they looked to utilise the in-form Judge to open the blue and white door. But the Irishman was tightly shackled and only when he drifted in to wide areas, or QPR let him run off, did he get the possession he would have liked.
The sights of goal in the first half hour all fell to Brentford but they were no more than half chances. John Swift saw a weak shot saved by Robert Green and Alan McCormack headed a Jake Bidwell cross wide. Toumani Diagouraga miss-hit a volley from the edge of the penalty area when Green had flapped at a Judge corner but the QPR goalkeeper did well to save a fierce Swift shot later in the half. Judge also created an opening for himself with a nice turn and run but he dragged his shot wide.
QPR showed more of their attacking threat towards the end of the end of the first half. They spent much of the opening exchanges playing the ball long and seemed to be more worried about Brentford than playing football. However, once their attacking midfield players linked with lone striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas they proved they could create chances and actually came closest to scoring in the first period.
Massimo Luongo was the man who almost did it for the visitors, hitting the woodwork twice. First he met a Matt Phillips cross with a flick header that hit the angle of post and crossbar. And soon after he picked up an Emmanuel-Thomas pass, cut inside and fired a shot that flew across David Button and hit the far post. Button also saved from Phillips but the best chance probably fell to Tjaronn Cherry, who found space 20 yards out but got a chipped effort horribly wrong when he could have run in on goal.
The game opened up as half time approached and was a much better spectacle as a result. Green was well position to save a curling Judge shot after good work by Swift as Brentford looked to end the half with the lead. And it continued to be open after the break.
The Bees could have gone ahead within a minute of the restart but Green saved well from Djuricin after McCormack had got in behind and, after the ball had been recycled, Swift then shot over. But the home fans did not have to wait long to celebrate their goal. It was scored by Djuricin and set up by Judge but owed much to the work of Diagouraga. The long-legged midfield player held the ball and waited for the chance to play and delightful pass in to Judge in the inside left channel the cross came in and Djuricin got in front of Clint Hill to smash it home.
Brentford could have gone further ahead when Harlee Dean headed a Judge corner wide and Bidwell then got up from the back to nod a McCormack cross over the top. Judge tried to add to his goal tally with a curling free kick but fired it wide of the far post. Button saved a Nedum Onuoha header but the game became very stop-start after Djuricin’s strike.
QPR rung the changes as they looked to find a way back in to the game. Top scorer Charlie Austin was introduced and they also had to make a defensive substitution as Hill limped off. The Bees were also forced in to a change as Judge had to be withdrawn, replaced by Konstantin Kerschbaumer.
Although they had two strikers and two wingers on the pitch, QPR did not have enough of the ball to make it count. And with Dean and James Tarkowski imperious yet again at the back, the long balls forward from the visitors came back with interest. David Hoilett had a shot blocked and Tőszér blasted wide but Austin was shackled and Emmanuel-Thomas’ main impact was his long throws that came to nothing.
When Brentford got the ball in the final stages they passed it precisely, looked to create openings and ran the clock down, forcing QPR to chase it. Philipp Hofmann could have added a second after he picked up a clever Kerschbaumer pass but he dragged his shot wide. That proved not to matter in the end though as referee Simon Hooper, who deserves to be commended for the way he handled a game that had the potential to be fiery, brought proceedings to a close and ended 50 years of pain for Brentford fans.
Brentford: Button; Yennaris, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Diagouraga, McCormack (sub Vibe 82 mins); Woods, Judge (sub Kerschbaumer 77 mins), Swift; Djuricin (sub Hofmann 89 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, O’Connell, Canós, Gogia
Bookings: McCormack (21 mins) (seventh of season), Djuricin (86 mins) (second of season)
Queens Park Rangers: Green; Onuoha. Hall, Hill (sub Perch 74 mins), Konchesky; Henry, Tőszér; Phillips. Luongo (sub Hoilett 66 mins), Chery (sub Austin 63 mins); Emmanuel-Thomas
Subs (not used): Smithies, Doughty, Faurlin, Polter
Bookings: Hill (21 mins), Tőszér (25 mins), Phillips (81 mins)
Attendance: 12,037 (1,642 away fans)