Goals from winter arrivals Sam Field and Charlie Austin helped QPR overturn a 1-0 deficit to beat Brentford 2-1 in the Sky Bet Championship on Wednesday night.
Brentford manager Thomas Frank had called on his players to respond and react from their defeat at home to Barnsley on Sunday afternoon but, though they had plenty of the ball early on, the first 20 or so minutes saw QPR deal fairly easily with what the Bees had to offer.
An early Tariqe Fosu effort, that flew well over Seny Dieng’s crossbar, was the only notable chance of the opening exchanges – though the area the cross for the opportunity came from was of concern to the Hoops, with Brentford getting some success down the left.
For QPR, Charlie Austin had a half-chance as he worked space on the edge of the box and tried to curl in a left-footed effort but the striker’s attempt was wayward and floated well wide.
It was, though, from the left-hand side that Brentford got the opener. Todd Kane got himself in the book for a foul at right-wing-back and the resulting free-kick saw a whipped delivery to the near post from Mathias Jensen neatly flicked in by Ivan Toney.
The Hoops had largely dealt with Brentford up to now but Toney has shown this season he doesn’t need many chances to score and so that proved once again.
There’d be no more goals before the break but both sides still had chances.
Ilias Chair jinked inside on the left before rifling just wide of David Raya’s left-hand post whilst a late Dom Ball challenge prevented Ivan Toney from sweeping in his second.
Jensen then had a go himself with Dieng doing well to beat it away in the swirling west London wind before Yoann Barbet tried to make it two goals in two with a crashing volley at a corner, only for Raya to do well to block as it came through a crowd of black shirt-clad Bees players.
It was a half that Brentford had perhaps slightly shaded but both sides were still capable of winning this one, as that so proved in the second-half.
Indeed, QPR looked increasingly positive after the break and early chances came for defensive pair Rob Dickie and Yoann Barbet, both of which were blocked.
A Stefan Johansen free-kick wasn’t miles away from levelling the game soon after, meanwhile, but the Norwegian international couldn’t quite get his compass set for the top-right corner.
Brentford, top scorers by far this season in the Championship, naturally still carried threat however and reminded the R’s of that with a dipping Fosu effort that Dieng could only hope would go over the bar – which it did.
Jensen, meanwhile, was still breaking lines from midfield and looked to steer home a right-footed effort after a lovely backheel from Sergi Canos. The angle always looked against him on the left of the box though and even a player with his quality couldn’t convert.
Brentford, then, were still in front but Thomas Frank would have been concerned that the hosts were enjoying increasing amounts of possession in his side’s half.
Indeed, that eventually told as the Hoops hit a quick-fire double against their promotion-chasing rivals.
Chris Willock, introduced minutes earlier, led a counter-attack using his body well to hold off challenges and his feet cleverly to manufacture space for a pass out to the left from the centre-circle.
His ball found a charging Lee Wallace whose deep cross found supporting wing-back Todd Kane to turn back in. Eventually, the ball fell nicely for Sam Field, only just on for his Hoops debut, to fire a sweet left-footed volley past a helpless Raya.
1-1, then, but not for long.
Indeed, where Brentford had enjoyed success down the left in the first-half it was now QPR’s turn to do exactly the same.
A cross-field pass evaded two Brentford defenders for Wallace to again pick up on the left of the box, with his touch encouraging Raya to come out. The Scot got there first, though, and his square ball was met first by the ever-alert Charlie Austin to usher home.
It was the sort of chance he’s scored for years and another example of just why QPR brought him back in January.
Indeed, this was certainly a welcome nod to Mark Warburton and the Hoops’ business in the winter with the goals coming from two of their recent arrivals, but the second-half performance was down to the whole side.
Brentford, meanwhile, will be disappointed at how this game was left to drift after the break. Looking fairly comfortable, they let QPR back in it and that will concern Thomas Frank after the defeat against Barnsley on Sunday.
Bragging rights for the Hoops tonight, then, as their fine form continues.