Ivan Toney was on target again as Brentford boosted their bid for Europe by winning a feisty west London derby 3-2 against Fulham.
he striker took his tally for the season to 16 with another deadly spot-kick to help sink the Bees’ local rivals.
Unfortunately for Brentford and Toney, should they succeed in their unlikely bid to reach the Europa League, they may have to enter it without their talisman.
Toney is facing the prospect of a lengthy ban after being charged with a total of 262 alleged breaches of the Football Association’s gambling laws dating back to 2017.
But as he promised this week in a social media post questioning the confidentiality of the FA’s investigation, Toney is concentrating on his football.
He got his first sight of goal with just two minutes on the clock, collecting the ball on the edge of the area before curling a low shot towards the corner which Fulham keeper Bernd Leno palmed away at full stretch.
Moments later Toney’s strike partner Bryan Mbeumo missed the simplest of chances, arriving at the far post to meet Rico Henry’s cross only to fire wide from all of four yards out.
Mbeumo was then denied by the outstretched leg of Leno before Brentford’s lightning-quick start was rewarded with a goal after only six minutes.
Fulham failed to deal with a corner and Ethan Pinnock’s drive took a wicked deflection off Fulham captain Tim Ream to leave Leno helpless.
Mbeumo almost made it two with a curling free-kick which flew narrowly wide and Toney tried an unorthodox pass with his backside which almost found Yoane Wissa, before the 26-year-old clipped the crossbar with a free-kick.
Moments later, and totally against the run of play, Fulham equalised from a free-kick of their own.
Andreas Pereira’s effort from the edge of the box came back down off the crossbar and bounced up for Manor Solomon to nod into an empty net for his fifth goal in five matches.
Serbian midfielder Sasa Lukic, making his full Fulham debut with Joao Palhinha suspended, was fortunate to escape a second booking just before half-time when he tripped Wissa as the winger threatened to burst clear on goal.
Brentford were gifted the lead five minutes into the second half when Issa Diop was penalised for the slightest kick on the foot of Christian Norgaard.
Toney stepped up to calmly convert his 21st penalty from the 21 he has taken for Brentford, stretching the Bees’ unbeaten streak to 12 Premier League matches and keeping them in the hunt for Europe.
Toney almost had another with an outrageous effort from the halfway line which floated just over.
Instead Mathias Jensen doubled the lead with five minutes remaining when he tucked away a cut-back from substitute Kevin Schade, before Carlos Vinicius pulled one back for Fulham in stoppage time.