Diego Jota’s late deflected winner saw Brentford come from behind to beat Fulham for the first time in 24 years at Griffin Park tonight.
The Spanish substitute secured a famous victory for the Bees when he cut in from the right flank and his shot from distance took a wicked deflection off Dan Burn and cruelly left the outstanding Marcus Bettinelli, who had kept Fulham in the game, with no chance. That scenario looked a long way off when Hugo Rodallega seized on a horrible error from Harlee Dean to open the scoring against the run of play just before the hour. But the Brentford captain was determined to make amends for his dreadful mistake and fired home the equaliser having swapped passes with Stuart Dallas to cap a rampaging run from the back.
Brentford’s fourth consecutive win lifts Mark Warburton’s in-form side up to fourth in the table and they deserved all three points having dominated the first competitive west London derby between these sides in sixteen years. Bettinelli kept their bright football at bay with excellent first half saves from Tony Craig, Jon Toral and Toumani Diagouraga. Right on the stroke of half time, the England under-21 goalkeeper also held a free-kick from Alan Judge. Fulham offered little in comparison with David Button only called in action late in the first period when he did well to kept out a close range Rodallega header.
But it was the visitors who went in front after the break. George Williams picked up on a loose pass from Dean at the back and fed Ross McCormack. The Scottish striker sped into the area and rolled the perfect low ball across for Rodallega to fire past Button and give Fulham the lead. Dean beat the turf in frustration and resolved to make amends at the other end. He did so magnificently with a strike that any centre forward would have been proud of – and there was better to come for Brentford in stoppage time when Fulham afforded Jota far too much room outside the box and Bettinelli was left helpless by the deflection off Burn.
BRENTFORD (4-2-3-1): Button; Odubajo, Bidwell, Dean, Craig; Diagouraga (Jota 75), Douglas; Pritchard, Toral (Dallas 66), Judge; Gray (Proschwitz 84). Subs (not used): Bonham, Tarkowski, Smith, Saunders.
BOOKED: Dean, Toral.
GOAL: Dean (81), Jota (90+1).
FULHAM (4-1-2-1-2): Bettinelli; Zverotic, Stafylidis, Bodurov, Burn; Parker; Christensen, Williams; Ruiz (Eisfeld 74); McCormack, Rodallega. Subs (not used): Kiraly, Hutchinson, Hyndman, Roberts, Dembele, Woodrow.
BOOKED: Zverotic, Burn.
GOAL: Rodallega (57).
REFEREE: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).