Bees beat Norwich at Carrow Road
A goal in each half gave Brentford their third straight Sky Bet Championship win and their first ever league victory at Carrow Road.
The last time The Bees beat Norwich City in the league in Norfolk The Canaries were playing at The Nest and, an FA Cup win aside, Carrow Road has not been a happy hunting ground for Brentford.
But the class of 2014/15 are breaking ground only previously trodden by the great Brentford side of the 1930s and did it again on a cold afternoon in East Anglia.
They had control of the game almost from first whistle to last and could have been ahead long before Jota stroked home the opener.
Norwich hit back but Alex Pritchard converted a second half penalty to give The Bees a win they fully merited.
Brentford started the game incredibly well; they should have been ahead inside a minute and could have been out of sight within 15.
Pritchard, playing in an advanced midfield role, was finding pockets of space and picking his passes while Andre Gray’s pace had the home defence worried.
It was Gray who had the golden early chance, released by Stuart Dallas in behind, the striker only had John Ruddy to beat but the ball took a horrific bobble as he prepared to finish from 12 yards and he sliced it wide.
Jota also had an early sight of goal, set up well by Gray, but Martin Olsson came across from left back to make a fine goal saving tackle.
Olsson was at it again soon after, making a tackle to prevent Gray getting on to a Pritchard pass and Dallas also had a good chance, firing over from the edge of the penalty area.
Norwich had an attacking outlook, with players in advanced areas, but were struggling to get hold of the ball in the first 15 minutes.
They almost scored on the counter attack when a Ruddy throw released Nathan Redmond, his long cross found Gary Hooper but the near post shot was well saved by David Button.
But when The Bees took the lead just before the midway point of the first half it was no more than they deserved.
It came from a Norwich attack, Moses Odubajo intercepted and raced 60 yards before slipping in Gray, his pass was inch perfect for Jota to slot the ball home with his left foot from ten yards.
Kyle Lafferty blasted over as Norwich tried to hit back immediately but Brentford appeared to have control.
They were dominating possession and territory and Norwich struggled to contain Pritchard, in particular.
It was against the run of play when the hosts levelled within six minutes of falling behind.
It came from a corner – the initial delivery was half cleared, Lafferty’s shot was blocked by Harlee Dean but it fell to Redmond, he beat Jake Bidwell and let fly with a shot that deflected through the legs of James Tarkowski and beat Button.
Norwich may have felt they could build on that but the rest of the first half offered little in terms of entertainment.
The hosts looked play long, in to Cameron Jerome and Lafferty, and get on to the second balls.
That did not prove successful but they were able to stop The Bees finding the space they did early in proceedings, albeit a poor playing surface hindered the visitors, along with a few strong challenges.
The second half also took a while to get going, with the pitch getting worse as the afternoon wore on and preventing much good football.
And as it was The Bees trying to play more than their hosts, it affected their game more.
There were long range shots off target early in the second half from Bradley Johnson and Steven Whittaker before Brentford got control of the game.
They started to dominate possession, play the game in Norwich’s half and find the spaces they did in the opening exchanges.
Dallas almost embarrassed Ruddy with a shot that squirmed through the goalkeeper’s grasp before being gathered at the second attempt and Jota shot well over.
Ruddy did save his team when Pritchard and Gray set up the marauding Jonathan Douglas, his low shot was superbly pushed wide by the Norwich goalkeeper.
There was little he could do, however, when Brentford were awarded a penalty.
Pritchard found Gray and he was met by a pair of tackles from behind from Carlos Cuellar and Michael Turner.
Referee Nigel Miller decided one of them had fouled the striker, probably Turner, and pointed to the spot.
Pritchard’s spot kick sent Ruddy the wrong way and restored Brentford’s advantage.
Norwich could have been level within moments again – Johnson curled a shot from 25 yards that dipped over Button but bounced off the crossbar, it fell to Jerome and the Brentford goalkeeper recovered to make a remarkable one handed save and keep his team ahead.
Douglas blasted over for Brentford and Redmond blazed wide for Norwich as the minutes ticked down and a Pritchard shot deflected wide soon after.
Button was called in to action again in the dying seconds, pushing a Lewis Grabban shot away after the striker had got on to a Jerome knock down.
The Bees could have sealed it with the final attack of the game when Chris Long got away on the left, but his cross was just ahead of Tommy Smith.
It proved, however, not to matter as Pritchard’s penalty was decisive and Brentford had the win.
Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, Cuellar, Turner, Olsson; Whittaker (sub Grabban 79 mins), Johnson; Redmond, Hooper (sub Hoolahan 69 mins), Lafferty (sub Bennett h/t); Jerome
Subs (not used): Rudd, Murphy, Bassong, McGrandles
Bookings: Jerome (33 mins), Lafferty (38 mins), Turner (57 mins), Johnson (75 mins)
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga; Jota (sub Smith 79 mins), Pritchard, Dallas (sub Toral 87 mins); Gray (sub Long 86 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Yennaris, Craig, Saunders
Bookings: Bidwell (43 mins) (fifth of season)
By Chris Wickham