LONDON (AFP) – Brentford’s surprise challenge for promotion to the Premier League received another boost on Friday with a dramatic 2-1 win over west London rivals Fulham.
Mark Warburton’s side were expected to be relegation candidates in their first season back in the Championship for 21 years, but they have defied the odds to rise to fourth in the second tier table.
The Bees, one of the division’s smallest clubs, are now only one point behind leaders Derby, who face promotion rivals Watford on Saturday.
Brentford defender Harlee Dean was at fault for Hugo Rodallega’s 57th-minute opener.
But Dean made amends with an 81st minute equaliser and Spanish midfielder Jota, a pre-season signing from Celta Vigo, came off the bench to seal the points at Griffin Park with his deflected strike in stoppage-time.
Alex Pearce’s nightmare first half helped Cardiff make it five straight home wins as they saw off 10-man Reading 2-1.
The Republic of Ireland international’s 45 minutes to forget began with the game’s opening goal when the Reading defender diverted Peter Whittingham’s inswinging corner past his own goalkeeper.
And seconds before the break the centre-back saw red when he fouled former Royal Adam Le Fondre inside the box, allowing Whittingham to fire home the second from the penalty spot.
A late mistake from David Marshall allowed Michael Hector to net what turned out to be just a consolation for Nigel Adkins’ men, who remain without an away win since August.