CHARLIE Austin was the match-winner as QPR came from behind to secure a dramatic 2-1 victory over West London rivals Brentford.
The in-form front man netted his third goal since returning back to W12 in January, ensuring Mark Warburton’s side left the Kiyan Prince Foundation stadium with the bragging rights, for the first time since 2018.
Ivan Toney netted early on in the first half for the Bee’s, but Sam Field’s emphatic volley drew Rangers level half-way through the second period – with Austin’s strike minutes later completing the most dramatic of comebacks.
Despite some nervy moments, this victory only highlighted how far Rangers have come in recent weeks, with this positive result securing our fifth success out of six.
R’s gaffer Mark Warburton named the same starting XI that sealed the 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers 11 days ago, with Lyndon Dykes and Charlie Austin leading the line for the Rangers.
This meant Seny Dieng continued in goal behind a back three of Rob Dickie, Geoff Cameron and Yoann Barbet, while Todd Kane and Lee Wallace operated on the right and left flanks respectively.
Further up the field, Dom Ball and partnered loanee Stefan Johansen, with Ilias Chair occupying the No. 10 role – with Dykes and Austin up top for Warburton’s side.
Brentford headed into this one on the back of their first defeat in 21 games, a run which stretched all the way back to October and instantly looked to make amends from the weekend’s defeat.
Straight from the first whistle, it was end-to-end stuff in W12, with the visitors starting brightly and maintaining possession of the ball well.
With only five minutes on the clock their dominance almost paid dividends, when Rico Henry found Tarique Fosu at the far post. But, to Rangers’ fortune, the Brentford wide man could only fire over Dieng’s goal and it remained goalless.
However, as the R’s recent impressive form insinuates, Warburton’s side are no push over and quickly got a foothold of a very fast paced west London derby.
Austin had the home side’s first real chance of the game on 23 minutes. After linking up well with his strike partner Dykes, the 31-year-old tried to curl an effort into David Raya’s far post – only for it to drift wide.
As we approached the 30th minute mark, Brentford took the lead. Mathias Jensen whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the left-hand side of the box. Before finding in-form striker Ivan Toney – the former Peterborough was able to get ahead of his man and flick the ball home for his 23rd strike of the season.
With the half seemingly petering out, the R’s looked to draw level, with the Moroccan Chair spear heading the attack.
The 23-year-old tried his luck from 25-yards out, but failed to keep his effort on target and the hosts continued to trail.
As we approached the half-time whistle, Warburton’s side grew in confidence and probably had their most dangerous period of possession of the half.
Dykes initially had claims for a penalty waved away by referee Gavin Ward, before Rangers’ had their best opportunity of the first period.
In the last action of the half, Chair clipped in a corner-kick which found Barbet, but the French centre-half could only drill the ball straight at Raya in the Bee’s net, before Austin’s scuffed effort was eventually cleared.
After the restart, the R’s continued to turn the screw – with a set-piece again causing danger, but similar to the first half, Raya once again was on hand to deny Barbet and it remained 1-0.
Norway international Johansen was next to go close for the R’s when his audacious free-kick arrowed just wide of the Spaniard's post.
However, it wasn’t all one-way traffic and when Sam Field enter the fray for his first appearance in a QPR shirt, Thomas Frank’s side looked to catch the R’s with one of their notorious counter attacks.
Defender Mads Sorensen led the charge for the Bee’s, picking out Forsu, but the winger could only put his shot wide of the target.
On the 72nd minute, Rangers finally got themselves level through Field.
Substitute Chris Willock broke through the middle and picked out Chair.
The R’s number 10 whipped in a ball for Austin and it eventually fell to 22-year-old Field who emphatically volleyed the ball home and deservedly drew the R’s level.
Only four minutes later and Rangers found themselves ahead.
Lee Wallace found himself free in the visiting box, before squaring the ball to Chair - it eventually fell to that man Austin whose deflected effort squirmed past Raya and the 31-year-olds third strike since returning to W12 in January, gave Mark Warburton’s side the lead.
After going behind, the visitors tried to salvage something from the game, with substitute Bryan Mbeumo firing over for the Bee’s.
Despite wave after wave of Brentford pressure, Rangers stood strong and were able to see out the final few minutes and seal our first victory over Brentford since 2018.