Life after Aleksandar Mitrovic doesn’t look too promising for Fulham. Marco Silva confirmed after a crushing derby defeat that the Serbian’s special five years at Craven Cottage had come to an end: his attempts to persuade the talismanic number nine to stay beside the River Thames had failed and that Mitrovic would shortly become Al-Hilal’s latest big-money signing. The Portuguese head coach had insisted that Raul Jimenez was not Mitrovic’s replacement, but finding someone to fill the striker’s shoes in the closing hours of this crazy transfer window won’t be straightforward.

The first home campaign of a campaign where the Whites were hoping to build on last season’s superb tenth placed finish turned into a chastening afternoon. Jimenez toiled manfully against a well-drilled Brentford defence, but barely got the ball in a threatening position. For the second weekend remaining, Fulham didn’t muster a shot on target in the first 45 minutes. The difference between Goodison Park and what had been a sedate derby was that Thomas Frank’s Bees are far more formidable than the Toffees. They enjoy visiting SW6 and didn’t need a second invitation – such as the one offered by Issa Diop the stroke of half time – to feel at home. When the Frenchman left his back pass for Bernd Leno perilously short, Yoane Wisa nipped in, galloped around Ream and the home goalkeeper, and gleefully rolled a low finish in the empty net.

There had been little between the two teams until that piece of particularly dozy defending. Fulham were ponderous and pedestrian, missing the bite of Joao Palhinha in central midfield, and toothless up top. Their most threatening moment came when Ethan Pinnock crashed a clearing header against his own crossbar, whilst Wissa had wasted the visitors’ clearest opening, failing to turn home an Mbuemo cross – allowing Antonee Robinson to clear quite brilliantly at the back post. Leno saved smartly from Wissa and Mathias Jensen’s long-range free-kick lacked the accuracy of the one with which Joe Bryan outwitted David Raya. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say.

Buoyed by their opener, Brentford pushed for a second after the interval. Jensen forced a fine save from Leno with a volley before Bobby De Cordova-Reid, the opening day’s match winner, curled an effort against the crossbar from the edge of the box. Harry Wilson surged into a pocket of space thirty yards from goal but his strike hardly extended Mark Flekken. The visitors, whose reliance on long throws seemed a little primitive, tested Darren Bond’s patience when Rico Henry and Kevin Schade staged a row instead of taking a throw. Silva had seen enough and summoned Tom Cairney and Willian from the bench, in search of some much-needed creativity, but before the pair could be introduced, Bond – refereeing his fifth top-flight match – made the day’s decisive call.

Wissa took a theatrical tumble under the merest of contact from Ream at the back post, but whilst the American wagged his finger at the Brentford forward, the referee had pointed to the spot. It seemed incredibly soft – and Fulham’s anger was compounded by the fact that Bond produced a second yellow for their captain. Mbuemo rolled the penalty in off the post – and the contest was over. Palhinha, Willian and Adama Traore all eventually entered but Brentford, who have lost just twice in the league here since 1981, had the last word when Mbuemo put the finishing touch to a counter-attack that saw substitute Kristoffer Ajer gallop from inside his own half, link up with Henry, and cross during nine additional minutes of agony for those of a Fulham persuasion.

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Leno; Tete (Muniz 85), Robinson, Diop, Ream; Reed (Bassey 68), Lukic; Wilson, De Cordova-Reid (Palhinha 68), Pereira (Willian 67); Jimenez (Traore 86). Subs (not used): Rodak, Mbabu, Cairney, Vinicius.



BRENTFORD (4-3-3): Flekken; Hickey (Roerslev 77), Henry, Collins, Pinnock; Janelt, Jensen, Norgaard (Damsgaard 78); Schade (Lewis-Potter 71), Mbuemo, Wissa (Dasilva 78; Ajer 89). Subs (not used): Strakosha, Jorgensen, Onyeka, Yarmolyuk.

BOOKED: Hickey, Henry.

GOALS: Wissa (44), Mbuemo (pen 66, 90+2).

REFEREE: Darren Bond (Lancashire).