Ollie Watkins scored twice to help secure three points and local bragging rights for Brentford as they saw-off Queens Park Rangers 3-1 at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Tuesday night.
The opening goal was headed in cooly by Watkins in the 23rd minute for his ninth of the season, making light work of some lapse marking and an accurate Bryan Mbeumo cross.
Grant Hall dragged Mark Warburton’s men level in the 48th minute, heading home from a corner, before Josh Scowen was adjudged to have tripped Mbeumo in the area, leaving Benrahma to fire cooly into the top corner from the spot.
And Watkins made it 3-1 with the final kick of the game, tapping in Mathias Jensen’s pass to take the Bees to within two points of their rivals, with Rangers remaining in eighth place.
Heading into the clash, there was plenty of sub-plot for the fans and commentariat to get their teeth into. There was of course the proximity of the two clubs, with a West London derby and local bragging rights on the line.
But in the home dugout, there was Mark Warburton. The QPR boss, currently working wonders at the KPF, was quick to express his affection for former club Brentford in the build up, with whom he spent five years, overseeing their rise back into the second-tier and instilling their now synonymous brand of attacking football.
On the pitch, however, it was the Bees who flexed their forward muscles with greater efficiency. Mbeumo had scored in both of his previous league matches and looked confident, and with the likes of Watkins and Benrahma alongside him, how could he not?
And when the first goal came, two of the three were at the forefront. An excellent burst from midfield from Christian Norgaard sparked the move, laying a pass to the waiting Mbeumo.
The summer-signing took a touch before picking out the run of Watkins, who had been granted generous room in the Rs penalty area to head past the helpless Liam Kelly.
However, QPR were not about to rollover so easily. Incumbent Bright Osayi-Samuel, replacing the suspended Jordan Hugill, looked a menace on both wings, whilst some typically slick Eze touches sparked excitement in the home stands. They knew there was a goal in this for them although the rapid counter attacks of Brentford will have remained a constant worry in their minds heading into the second half.
It took just three minutes for the hosts to draw level after the break, however. David Raya had saved exceptionally in the Bees goal from a Nahki Wells header, before his defence forgot their basics from the resulting corner
Hall, returning to the starting XI in place of Yoann Barbet, found himself free, dashing to the near post to head home Eze’s corner to spark the game back into life.
It was to be short lived jubilation for the hosts, however. Bang on the hour mark, Benrahma launched a penalty into the top-corner of Kelly’s net to restore the visiting advantage.
There was plenty of controversy surrounding the decision, however, with Mbeumo appearing to dive over Josh Scowen’s planted foot – there could be a ban coming for the Frenchman in due course.
But it was to be enough for Frank’s side. QPR dominated the ball for the remaining stages but could not fashion a clear chance, before finally, the counter attacking warnings came to fruition.
Substitute Mathias Jensen burst through the Rangers defence before unselfishly laying a tap in on for Watkins who gratefully notched his second of the game and tenth of the season, securing three points and those oh so precious bragging rights for Frank, his teammates and his fans.
Perhaps more importantly, their promotion momentum really looks like it is starting to gather.