QPR suffered a 2-1 defeat at Brentford this afternoon in an incident-packed game which also saw the hosts miss a penalty.
The Bees took the lead on 15 minutes through Sergi Canos’s close-range effort and had an ideal opportunity to double that advantage shortly before the interval when they were awarded a spot-kick after Matt Ingram brought Ollie Watkins down in the box.
Ingram, who was injured in the incident, faced the penalty from Watkins after lengthy treatment – and duly atoned for his error with a save.
R’s fans behind Ingram’s goal celebrated – and they were celebrating again in first-half injury time when Idrissa Sylla scored from close range, his seventh of the season.
But it was the hosts who went on to take all three points, Florian Jozefzoon curling home what proved to be the winner with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Ian Holloway made six changes from the side that lost 2-1 to Preston seven days ago, with Ossie Kakay, Josh Scowen, Luke Freeman, Paul Smyth, Pawel Wszolek and Idrissa Sylla all named in the starting line up.
Jack Robinson missed out owing to illness, while Jordan Cousins, Ryan Manning, Matt Smith, James Perch, Ebere Eze and Bright Osayi-Samuel were on the bench.
With Nedum Onuoha suspended, Furlong moved into centreback with fellow youth product Kakay coming in at right-back to make his first league start for the R’s.
Brentford knew victory was all-important in their bid to finish in the top six. Ahead of kick-off they were four points outside the playoff places and one of seven teams eyeing the final two available spots.
Rangers, meanwhile, were looking to get back to winning ways after that loss to the Lilywhites. Holloway’s men were also aiming to end a run of four games without a victory against the Bees.
The hosts were unbeaten in six and started brightly, with Sergi Canos curling an early effort over the crossbar while Ingram had to be quick off his line to clear to safety moments later.
Ingram pulled off an excellent save on six minutes to deny Ollie Watkins, diving low to his right.
Brentford’s tails were up and Rangers had to ride the early storm. They managed to do so until the 15th minute when Sergi Canos diverted a goalmouth scramble beyond Ingram following a corner from the left.
In truth, it was no less than Brentford deserved but QPR have shown their character many times this season and this would be another test of their resolve.
Scowen saw his volleyed effort deflect wide as the R’s looked to get themselves back on level terms. From the resultant corner, Luongo’s header was easily gathered by Brentford keeper Daniel Bentley.
On the half-hour mark, Ingram had to be alert to deny Watkins at his near post while two minutes later the same player again went close, this time firing narrowly wide after the Bees broke from a QPR attack.
Watkins went even closer in the 37th minute, hitting the upright from close range as the Bees sought to double their advantage before the break.
Moments later the hosts were given that opportunity from 12 yards when Watkins was brought down by Ingram inside the penalty box, with the R’s stopper injured in the process.
After several minutes of treatment, Ingram was between the posts to face Watkins – and duly saved it, diving low to his left.
It led to incredible scenes of celebration from the QPR fans behind the goal – and only served to intensify the incredible atmosphere inside Griffin Park.
And inside injury time of the first half, the R’s suddenly found themselves level! Luongo looked to slide the ball through but it ricocheted back into his path. The Australian dug the ball out and forced a fine save from Bentley, but he could only palm the ball into the path of Sylla who tucked home from close range.
Before the game resumed Ingram, still suffering from the earlier collision, was replaced by Smithies.
At the break, Watkins was replaced by Neal Maupay.
Romaine Sawyers was the first player to go close in the second half, his effort deflecting into the side netting of Smithies’ goal.
On the hour, Luongo came close to giving the R’s the lead.
Bidwell – captaining the R’s against his former club – pulled the ball back from the left byline into the Australian’s path. After his initial shot was blocked, Luongo was the first to react, chesting the ball before firing goalwards from 16 yards. Bentley brilliantly tipped the ball over to keep the game on level pegging.
Meanwhile, Smithies also needed to be on top of his game at the other end as he finger-tipped Canos’s header wide.
But he could do nothing to stop Florian Jozefzoon’s effort hitting the back of his net on 69 minutes and restoring Brentford’s lead, cutting the ball onto his left foot and curling the ball beyond Smithies.
And the R’s stopper had to be alert to deny Sawyers from grabbing a third for the hosts just two minutes later.
Holloway made a double change for the final 20 minutes, bringing on Matt Smith for the tireless Smyth while Ryan Manning came on for Bidwell.
In the closing ten minutes, QPR were committing bodies forward which was leading to unavoidable gaps defensively.
Try as they might, the R’s were unable to find the equaliser despite Freeman and Sylla both going close in the final stages.