LONDON: Ivan Toney extended his hot-streak as the Brentford striker’s 15th Premier League goal this season helped clinch a 3-2 win over west London rivals Fulham on Monday.
Toney has shown no signs of being distracted since he was charged with 262 breaches, dating back to 2017, of the Football Association’s gambling laws.
The 26-year-old recently criticised the FA in an Instagram post over what he alleges are lapses of confidentiality as he prepares to argue his case.
But Toney has kept his focus on the pitch and his penalty at the Community Stadium made it eight goals in his last 10 games.
Only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Tottenham’s Harry Kane have scored more than Toney’s tally in the league this term.
Toney’s 15th goal put Brentford back in front after Fulham’s Manor Solomon had cancelled out Ethan Pinnock’s opener.
Mathias Jensen netted late on and Carlos Vinicius’s stoppage-time strike was no consolation for Fulham as Brentford extended their unbeaten league run to 12 matches.
Brentford, undefeated in the league in 2023, sit ninth, just one point behind seventh placed Fulham in the race to qualify for European competition.
Toney has scored 27 of his 28 career spot-kicks, with his only miss coming while playing for Peterborough in 2018.
"Ivan is the best penalty taker in the world for a few reasons, his strategy, he practices it and he is very cool," Brentford boss Thomas Frank said.
"He is a special footballer. His character is unique in terms of leadership and driving his team.
"His link-up play and the way he sees his team-mates in terms of combinations and then his ability to score goals. He is an all-around player."
Given the genteel west London districts that Brentford and Fulham call home, their encounters will never rank among football’s most explosive derbies.
Before 2014, the neighbours had never even met above the third tier of English football.
But after decades in the shadow of local rivals Chelsea, both clubs are enjoying a golden period and have climbed above the spluttering Blues this season.
Brentford quickly looked more likely to finish as west London’s preeminent club this term as they laid seige to the Fulham goal.
Brentford’s early blitz paid off in the sixth minute as Pinnock’s strike from the edge of the area took a wicked deflection off Tim Ream and fizzed past the wrong-footed Bernd Leno.
Despite being battered for the opening half an hour, Fulham equalised in the 39th minute.
Andreas Pereira’s free-kick smacked down off the bar and Solomon alertly headed into the empty net from close-range.
It was a fifth goal in his last five games for the Fulham winger, who signed on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk last year.
Solomon is the first Israeli to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances.
That milestone became just a footnote when Brentford regained the lead in the 53rd minute.
Jensen’s long throw wasn’t cleared by Fulham and Issa Diop’s raised boot caught Christian Norgaard, conceding a penalty that Toney converted with minimal run-up and maximum composure.
Jensen ensured Brentford’s enterprising display would earn three points in the 85th minute when the Dane turned in Kevin Schade’s cross from close-range.
Vinicius flicked home after David Raya spilled Pereira’s shot but it was too late for a Fulham escape act.
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