LYNDON Dykes’ fifth goal of the campaign couldn’t save Rangers from derby defeat at Brentford.
QPR certainly gave a good account of themselves on our first-ever visit to the Bees’ new Community Stadium, but were undone by Thomas Frank’s clinical outfit.
Vitaly Janelt’s impressive 14th-minute strike handed Brentford the lead, but Rangers and Dykes responded with a well-executed goal involving Bright Osayi-Samuel in the 26th minute.
It would be the Bees’ night, though, with top scorer Ivan Toney’s 64th-minute header proving decisive.
Rangers were also reduced to 10 men when Todd Kane was shown a second yellow card seven minutes from time.
QPR boss Mark Warburton was able to welcome back Rob Dickie from an ankle injury for this west London affair, while there were also starts for Kane and Tom Carroll.
Club captain Geoff Cameron missed out altogether, while Osman Kakay and Conor Masterson dropped down to the bench.
There was also a spot among the substitutes for George Thomas, previously out since September with a thigh problem.
In a 4-2-3-1 formation, the R’s lined up as: Seny Dieng; Kane, Dickie, Yoann Barbet (captain), Niko Hamalainen; Dom Ball, Carroll; Osayi-Samuel, Ilias Chair, Chris Willock; Dykes.
Coming up against a side unbeaten in six Championship outings, Rangers began brightly.
It was the hosts who broke the deadlock – just short of the quarter-hour mark – though.
Brentford’s Rico Henry teed up Janelt on the edge of the box, who powered his low effort beyond Dieng and into the bottom right-hand corner.
That was harsh on Rangers and, four minutes later, things could well have got worse.
Dieng misplaced a pass into path of Emiliano Marcondes just outside of QPR’s penalty area, but thankfully redeemed himself to save from the Bees frontman’s subsequent attempt.
The R’s then deservedly levelled matters on 26 minutes.
Osayi-Samuel displayed blistering pace to get away from his marker down the right and, when the winger picked out Dykes on 12 yards, the Scotland number nine struck beyond David Raya.
Rangers continued to threaten after that, even though they were unable to find a second goal before half-time.
Shortly before the break, Barbet’s free-kick and Chair’s 20-yard effort both forced R’s corners.
QPR really should have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time.
A fine passing move from the Super Hoops ended with Ball playing in Dykes, but he could only shoot wide after advancing into the box.
Rangers’ play in the first period saw Brentford boss Frank make a double change at the interval, with usual skipper Pontus Jansson brought into the heart of the hosts’ defence.
That didn’t appear to disrupt QPR’s flow, however, with the visitors continuing to be positive after half-time.
Brentford did have the ball in the net once more through Toney in the 55th minute, who finished smartly from Bryan Mbeumo’s floated centre. Fortunately, the offside flag came to the rescue.
Rangers would enjoy no such luck in the 64th minute, though, as the home side edged in front once more.
Marcondes’ right-flank free-kick picked out Toney at the near post, who got in front of Hamalainen to head past Dieng.
Six minutes later, Brentford almost made it 3-1 when Henry’s edge-of-the-box effort was deflected inches wide of the left-hand post.
As the R’s searched for a second equaliser, Willock made way for Thomas in the 73rd minute. Adomah replaced Ball six minutes later.
But as Rangers sought another route back into the match, Kane’s 83rd-minute dismissal for a second yellow card – following a late tackle on Marcus Forss – made the task that much harder.
Almost instantly, QPR responded boldly by throwing on Macauley Bonne for Hamalainen.
However, there would be no late show from the R’s.
With Rangers stretched at the back, Brentford had opportunities to add gloss to the scoreline, but it remained 2-1.