Match ends, Brentford 3, Fulham 2.
Brentford’s impressive Premier League season continued as they overcame west London derby rivals Fulham at the Gtech Community Stadium to keep their hopes of European football very much alive.
Bees’ striker Ivan Toney was the talisman once more, making it 22 successes out of 22 from the penalty spot for Brentford as they closed to within three points of sixth-placed Newcastle United.
Toney is playing under a cloud as he faces a ban after accepting breaking Football Association betting rules, but he was outstanding here as Brentford secured a deserved three points.
Thomas Frank’s side made a lightning start and could have scored three times even before Ethan Pinnock’s shot deflected off Tim Ream to put Brentford ahead after only six minutes.
Fulham are having an outstanding season of their own, and they finally gained a foothold before drawing level six minutes before the break when Israel forward Manor Solomon continued his rich vein of form, heading in the rebound after Andreas Pereira’s free-kick struck the post.
Brentford regained the momentum, with both Bryan Mbeumo and Toney hitting the woodwork with free-kicks, and were awarded a 53rd-minute penalty when Issa Diop fouled Christian Norgaard.
Toney, as is his custom, beat Bernd Leno with ease.
Mathias Jensen sealed the win from close range five minutes from time following good work by Kevin Schade with Carlos Vinicius’ stoppage-time goal for Fulham nothing more than a consolation.
Brentford’s eyes on Europe
Brentford’s supporters finished this game singing about the prospect of a place in Europe next season and why not as this remarkable story goes on?
Manager Frank has done a superb job, leading a group of players inspired by Toney, who now has 16 goals in 24 appearances across all competitions this season.
Toney’s immediate future is under that cloud after breaking betting rules and there is no doubt any absence would be a huge setback, but such is the spirit, character and ability built by Frank in this side that they could yet take it in their stride.
Brentford started with so much pace and intensity they threatened to blow Fulham away, and then showed their self-belief and resilience to regather their forces after Marco Silva’s side forced their way back into contention with an equaliser.
Those supporters who pack into the Gtech Community Stadium are living the dream and it shows no sign of ending yet.
Disappointing night for Fulham
Fulham still have European aspirations of their own as they have been a revelation under the guidance of Marco Silva since their return to the Premier League, but they ended well beaten by their London rivals.
Vinicius’ late bundled goal gave the scoreline a flattering appearance for Fulham as it came with virtually the last kick of the game.
Silva’s big players Aleksandar Mitrovic and Willian were unable to exert any influence, snuffed out by Brentford’s defending, and both endured a frustrating evening.
There was hope when the prolific Solomon reacted first to Pereira’s shot hitting the woodwork but Brentford soon re-asserted their authority.
Fulham remain in a superb seventh place despite this setback and must now regroup as they face Premier League leaders Arsenal at Craven Cottage on Sunday before an FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United.
Player of the match
Squad number17Player nameToneyAverage rating
Squad number16Player nameMeeAverage rating
Squad number3Player nameHenryAverage rating
Squad number24Player nameDamsgaardAverage rating
Squad number5Player namePinnockAverage rating
Squad number8Player nameJensenAverage rating
Squad number9Player nameSchadeAverage rating
Squad number6Player nameNørgaardAverage rating
Squad number19Player nameMbeumoAverage rating
Squad number2Player nameHickeyAverage rating
Squad number27Player nameJaneltAverage rating
Squad number30Player nameRoerslevAverage rating
Squad number10Player nameDasilvaAverage rating
Squad number11Player nameWissaAverage rating
Squad number1Player nameRayaAverage rating
Squad number11Player nameSolomonAverage rating
Squad number30Player nameCarlos ViníciusAverage rating
Squad number17Player nameLenoAverage rating
Squad number18Player nameAndreas PereiraAverage rating
Squad number2Player nameTeteAverage rating
Squad number20Player nameWillianAverage rating
Squad number6Player nameReedAverage rating
Squad number13Player nameReamAverage rating
Squad number31Player nameDiopAverage rating
Squad number8Player nameWilsonAverage rating
Squad number9Player nameMitrovicAverage rating
Squad number33Player nameRobinsonAverage rating
Squad number28Player nameLukicAverage rating
Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-ReidAverage rating
Squad number12Player nameCédric SoaresAverage rating
- 2HickeySubstituted forRoerslevat 90+1′minutes
- 24DamsgaardSubstituted forJaneltat 76′minutes
- 19MbeumoSubstituted forDasilvaat 90+1′minutes
- 11WissaSubstituted forSchadeat 77′minutes
- 2TeteSubstituted forCédric Soaresat 83′minutes
- 28LukicBooked at 35minsSubstituted forDe Cordova-Reidat 75′minutes
- 20WillianBooked at 25minsSubstituted forAlves Moraisat 83′minutes
- 11SolomonSubstituted forWilsonat 75′minutes
- 9MitrovicBooked at 61mins
- 12Cédric Soares
- 14De Cordova-Reid
- 30Alves Morais
- Anthony Taylor