RANGERS fell to the narrowest of defeats in an all-action west London derby at Griffin Park.
A fairly-even contest throughout, Massimo Luongo twice hit the woodwork for QPR in the first half before Brentford grabbed all three points with a goal 11 minutes after the break.
Marco Djuricin got the all-important strike for the hosts, finishing at close range to earn the Bees victory.
QPR head coach Chris Ramsey named an unchanged starting XI following last weekend’s 3-0 home triumph over Milton Keynes Dons in W12.
Top scorer and recent injury victim Charlie Austin was also named among the substitutes, though Leroy Fer wasn’t included in the 18. The Dutch midfielder’s wife gave birth to the couple’s first child earlier today (Friday).
A tremendous atmosphere greeted the players as both teams emerged from the tunnel for kick-off.
Rangers fans snapped up all 1,600 tickets available to them ahead of this local derby, and the Hoops faithful behind one goal were in fine voice.
There was little to separate the sides in an untidy opening stanza.
Brentford’s John Swift shot from range in the fifth minute, but his low effort was comfortably collected by R’s custodian Rob Green.
The Bees also threatened in the 12th minute. Jake Bidwell crossed from the left, before Alan McCormack nodded just over.
In-form home midfielder Alan Judge fired wide in the 26th minute, but it was another attempt that failed to worry Green.
QPR first tested their opposing shot-stopper in the 32nd minute. Matt Phillips carried the ball forward before blasting at goal from 25 yards, but David Button produced a smart catch on a damp evening.
Three minutes later, Rangers’ Daniel Tozser freed Tjaronn Chery. Thereafter, he attempted to chip the ball over Button – when he perhaps could have drilled a shot at the target instead – and that effort sailed harmlessly over.
Play then quickly switched to the other end, and Green was called into action to claim Swift’s curling attempt at the second opportunity.
From an attacking point of view, QPR got better as the first half wore on and, six minutes before the break, went the closest both teams had gone yet.
Phillips crossed from the left, and Luongo’s header crashed back off the upright.
Incredibly, Luongo struck the woodwork once more, again without joy, just four minutes later, this time hitting the foot of the right-hand post from inside the box.
It remained goalless going into the half-time interval.
The home side began brightly in the second period, and had a fine double chance just seconds after the re-start.
First, Djuricin’s volley from inside the penalty area forced a wonderful one-handed stop from Green, before Swift blasted over from the rebound.
Brentford’s Button was also tested in the 50th minute, saving from a Phillips header when Jay Emmanuel-Thomas crossed from the left-hand touchline.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 56th minute, with the hosts edging in front.
The Bees' Toumani Diagouraga took possession down the left and when he centred well for Djuricin, it was that man who gave Green little chance with a close-range finish.
Rangers head coach Ramsey reacted swiftly by making a change in the 63rd minute. Striker Austin was brought on, with Chery replaced.
A second R’s substitution soon followed – Luongo making way for Junior Hoilett.
Chances fizzled out thereafter. Bidwell headed just over for Brentford in the 72nd minute.
QPR’s Clint Hill was forced off in the 74th minute after going down following a collision. So James Perch took his place for the visitors’ third and final substitution.
An unfortunate moment which added to an ultimately-disappointing evening, with Rangers unable to reply in the closing stages of the second half.