QPR finally laid to rest their woeful record in London derbies by comfortably beating Brentford 3-0 at Loftus Road. It had actually taken until the 17th attempt for the Rs to win a local derby, which is a quite remarkable stretch of matches.
The return fixture for this match, which was towards the end of Chris Ramsey’s ill-fated reign, saw Brentford win 1-0 at Griffin Park, with the Bees deserving the three points and Alan Judge running the show. However, Saturday’s game was a completely different affair.
After a fairly even opening 15 minutes, the Rs gradually started to gain control, with Junior Hoilett and Tjaronn Chery giving the visitors plenty to think about. In the past few months, Hoilett has been revitalised. The cynic in me thinks this is because he is out of contract in the summer, but this season has undoubtedly been his best in a Rs shirt and in the 38th minute, he arguably scored his best goal for the club. Picking the ball up at the halfway line, Hoilett evaded a challenge and headed towards the opposition box with purpose. Whilst no one was close to pick him up, and a good 25 yards out, Hoilett expertly curled it with his first right foot past the hapless Brentford keeper, Button. It was beautiful finish and Hoilett’s sixth of the campaign.
Saturday’s game however wasn’t just about Hoilett. With the exception of Matt Phillips, who almost looked like he couldn’t be bothered, every QPR player had a really solid game. For what he lacks in ability, Sebastian Polter makes up for by sheer graft, running and causing havoc. The Brentford defence couldn’t handle him. He is oddly more effective when he doesn’t have the ball, but on Saturday his hard work was rewarded with a goal. Chery, playing behind the big German, fed the ball through and Polter dispatched instantly. The second goal effectively killed off the Bees hopes of anything in the game.
Alejandro Faurlin and Tjaronn Chery both put in good performances too, with the former feeding through the latter after some slack Brentford defending to make it 3-0 nil. Chery is clearly at his strongest when played in the ‘number 10’ role, and his goal at the weekend now makes him the club’s top scorer this season (Charlie Austin aside).
Another man worth singling out has to be Clint Hill. Here’s a chap that was greeted with a more of a troubling scratch of the head then a fanfare when he was signed by Neil Warnock in 2010. However, over the past six years he has come to embody everything about the club that was decent. In a brilliant performance against Derby last week, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink dubbed Clint ‘Mr QPR’ for playing through a hamstring injury. Again on Saturday, you could see how much the win meant to Clint and how well he played, despite still being hampered by injury. What was meant to be a brief spell at QPR, has ended up with Hill playing more times for Rangers than any other club during his career, and we love him for it.
Back-to-back wins, two clean sheets – say it quietly, but Hasselbaink is starting to put something together at Loftus Road. Admittedly Brentford were poor at the weekend, a shadow of the team from earlier on in the season, but let’s also not take anything away from an impressive home win. There’s something about Hasselbaink’s style of play that won’t suit those modern footballers who want to take it easy, which in the past few years QPR have been guilty of buying by the bucket load, but perhaps under his stewardship, the Rs are heading towards brighter days.