Your Brentford v Norwich City match report powered by Utilita
Mario Vrancic’s penalty sent Norwich City on their way as Brentford fell to defeat in the Third Round of the Carabao Cup.
The Bees had chances of their own with Yoann Barbet missing from the penalty spot and Justin Shaibu striking the post, but Vrancic’s second – followed by Josh Murphy’s lifted finish - meant that it was the visitors who progressed to the next round despite Josh Clarke’s late finish.
Dean Smith decided to shuffle the pack following the 1-1 draw with Reading last time out. Chris Mepham was selected at the heart of defence, Ilias Chatzitheodoridis at left-back and Theo Archibald on the right-hand side of midfield in three of seven changes.
After some cagey opening exchanges it was Norwich who took the lead with ten minutes on the clock; Mario Vrancic stroking home from the penalty spot after Chris Mepham was adjudged to have fouled Marley Watkins in The Bees’ area. Josh Murphy looked to double the visitors’ lead three minutes later but saw his long-range effort dip wide of the post and into the Ealing Road end. Luke Daniels held from Watkins on the quarter-hour mark as Norwich continued to push for a second.
Brentford worked their first chance of note on 17 minutes. A clever spread of play from one side to another released Chatzitheodoridis down the left-hand side, who proceeded to advance forward and arrow a shot at Angus Gunn from 25 yards. Vrancic bent a free-kick narrowly wide of Daniels' left-hand post moments later in what was developing into a breathless encounter at Griffin Park.
Next it was Brentford’s turn to threaten. Archibald did well to advance to the by-line and cut back for Nico Yennaris, but the former Arsenal man couldn’t generate the whip on his strike to curl past Gunn. The hosts were presented with a major chance moments later. Wes Hoolahan wiped out Kamohelo Mokotjo in The Bees area to concede a penalty, however Yoann Barbet blazed over from twelve yards to see the visitors’ lead remain intact.
Yennaris hit wide on the turn in the last action of the half as Brentford went in for the interval trailing by one. Josh Murphy had two chances to add Norwich’s second shortly after the break, first firing across goal and wide of the post before latching onto a loose pass and again driving the wrong side of the stick.
But Norwich weren’t to be denied. Vrancic’s first-half free-kick proved to be the perfect rehearsal as after Hoolahan was fouled in the D, he curled over the wall and into the corner past a helpless Daniels.
Brentford responded well to The Canaries’ second as they held onto the ball and looked to work an opening. Barbet went close with a free-kick on 56 minutes; Gunn shuffling across to hold the Frenchman’s long-range drive. Moments later Harrison Reed flashed wide at the other end as the visitors looked to extend their advantage.
With Norwich dominating it was substitute Justin Shaibu who seized the game by the scruff of the neck, carrying the ball down the left-hand side before cutting in and smashing the far post with Gunn beaten.
Despite Brentford’s efforts the third goal went the way of the visitors; Murphy bursting clear of the Bees backline before dinking over Daniels. Josh Clarke struck at the death to pull one back for The Bees, but it was Norwich who progressed to the Fourth Round.
Brentford: Daniels; Chatzitheordoridis, Barbet, Mepham, Clarke; McEachran, Mokotjo; Archibald (Watkins 53), Yennaris, Jozefzoon (Dalsgaard 70); Maupay (Shaibu 53).
Subs not used: Bentley, Egan, Woods, Sawyers.
Norwich City: Gunn; Husband, Zimmermann, Klose (Franke 83), Pinto; Vrancic, Trybull (Stiepermann 73); Hoolahan, Reed, Murphy (Wildschut 76); Watkins.
Subs not used: Matthews, Jerome, Tettey, Phillips.