Fulham finally secured their first Premier League win of the 2022-23 season, earning a 3-2 victory against Brentford at Craven Cottage on Saturday (20 August).
Bobby Reid put the hosts into the lead barely a minute into the game after a little tussle for the ball in the visitors’ box, and it did not take long before they doubled their lead.
Summer signing Joao Palhinha connected well with Andreas Pereira’s corner in the 19th minute to put his thumping header beyond David Raya’s reach.
However, the Bees pulled one back shortly before the break, with Christian Norgaard volleying in Mathias Jensen’s corner.
Brentford came close to drawing themselves level shortly after the break, but Ivan Toney’s efforts were ruled out for offside after VAR checks.
The Englishman was not going to be denied again, though, getting third time lucky to blast in a Yoane Wissa cross from close range 20 minutes later.
Both London sides continued to push for a winner, but it was Marco Silva’s side that had the last laugh, with Aleksandar Mitrovic rising highest to head in Kevin Mbabu’s cross to grab his third Premier League goal of the campaign.
Having missed a late penalty in the goalless draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, the Serbian international striker put the disappointment behind him to fire Fulham to a deserved win.
Two draws and a victory have put the Cottagers in seventh place in the league table, while Thomas Frank’s side find themselves in eighth after an earlier draw and win in the campaign.
Brentford opened the season with a 2-2 stalemate at Leicester City before strolling to a 4-0 win over Manchester United.
Both teams were meeting each other in the Premier League for the first time, but it was Fulham that had the better game, winning their first top-flight London derby at the 25th attempt.
The Craven Cottage side have made seven additions to their squad this summer upon returning to the big time, while Brentford have signed five new players.
It remains to be seen whether they
plans to make further additions to the team before the window shuts next Wednesday (31 August), but both teams appear to have solid squads capable of pushing for a top-half-of-the-table finish this term.
Silva told the BBC after the game:
“We believe in ourselves, our philosophy and in our way.
“It’s the most difficult and best league in the world, but once you’re here you have to challenge, you have to embrace the challenge.
“We know there will be good moments and bad moments, and we have to keep reacting.
“We’re pleased with how we’ve started the season, but we could even have had – and obviously would have wanted – more points.”
A gutted Frank said:
“Football is cruel, especially when you lose in the last minute. Maybe even more when you recover from 2-0 down. Apart from the first 20 mins and the last five minutes we played a good game. The mentality and desire got us back into the game. We always want to try and go for the win, and that is our offensive mentality.
“They scored before 60 seconds and that made them on top in the game. We could have maybe done something differently and then it was a ricochet and it went to them.
“It was a local derby and they came with an unbelievable intensity but it’s football and it happens in the game.
“Coming down from 2-0 to 2-2 is extraordinary in the Premier League and we have done that twice. I’m pleased with a few things even though we lost. It is a maximum of 24 hours of celebrating or being down but tomorrow we need to focus and go again.”