Brentford 1 Fulham 0
Fiery Brentford took the spoils in the west London derby with their fourth successive home victory.
A 23rd-minute strike by Bryan Mbeumo was sufficient in the end, although the Bees were completely dominant for the vast majority of the clash in which Fulham were a mere shadow of their potential, with several of their top players off colour.
The Whites had goalkeeper Marek Rodak to thank for a string of smart saves as their defence struggled to cope with the pace and ingenuity of Brentford. Jaded Fulham – who host Leeds United next Saturday – have now lost three successive Championship games.
The visitors were the first to go close in the 12th minute when Neeskens Kebano struck the left post with a right foot shot from outside the box after an unselfish lay off by Alfie Mawson. The Bees responded eventually when Mathias Jensen brought out a fine save by Rodak with a fierce drive from a similar position.
Brentford settled – and they got their reward, with a well-crafted opener.
Ollie Watkins managed to hold off the attentions of Alfie Mawson on the right side, before laying the ball off to Said Benrahma, who chipped the ball to the back post for Mbeumo to find sufficient space to volley home.
The goal imbued the Bees with zest and their appetite clearly unsettled Fulham. Watkins almost made it two, but the striker jammed the ball against the post after being set up nicely by Mbuemo who had just dispossessed a labouring Mawson.
Thomas Frank’s men continued to dominate the bulk of the first half and, in fact, would have been slightly disappointed not to have seen the Bees extend their lead by the interval, particularly when Pontus Jansson hit the post with a header from a Jensen cross.
Fulham brightened, albeit slightly, at the start of the second half. And home keeper David Raya had to be alert to parry a decent shot from distance by Cyrus Christie. The momentum didn’t last, with Brentford always looking dangerous, Josh Dasilva just missing the target and then drawing a great save from busy Rodak via a low, drilled shot.
Fulham began to noticeably fade, and had the luckiest of escapes in 67 minutes, when Rodak palmed Jensen’s shot against the post before watching the ball dribble across the goal line to eventual safety.
Mbeuno outstripped the Whites’ defence on the break in the closing moments but was let down by a lack of composure. But the Bees did more than enough to see out their deserved derby success.
Brentford: Raya, Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry, Mokotjo, Jensen, Dasilva (Norgaard 75), Mbuemo (Roerslev 85), Watkins, Benrahma
Fulham: Rodak, Christie, Mawson, Bryan, Ream, Kebano (Knockaert 68), Johansen (Kamara 64), Cairney, Cavaleiro (Decordova-Reid 76), Onomah, Mitrovic