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Match Reports

Norwich City 1 Brentford 2

Brentford start Christmas programme with away win

22 December 2017

Your Norwich City v Brentford match report powered by Utilita

Lasse Vibe scored two first half goals as Brentford won at Carrow Road in the league for only the second time in their history. The Danish striker fired home two goals in five minutes at the end of the first half, finishing a pair of superb passes from Romaine Sawyers. And that was enough to get The Bees the win. Norwich had a lot of the ball and scored in stoppage time to raise the potential that they could take a point but Brentford’s well-drilled defence held firm and they got a 2-1 win.

The victory extended Brentford’s current run of Sky Bet Championship form to two defeats in 16 matches as the season reaches its halfway point. And The Bees were well worth their win. Norwich’s Angus Gunn was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers and with Andreas Bjelland imperious alongside the fledgling Chris Mepham, the home side were reduced to set pieces and long-range efforts for the majority of their chances. The late goal may have caused some concern but Brentford had done enough to get the victory.

Brentford started the game brightly and could have been ahead inside two minutes. The Bees had already kept the ball deep in Norwich territory when Ollie Watkins cut in off the left and curled a shot that beat Gunn but hit the far post, it rebounded in to the box but Vibe did not react quickly enough and could only turn the ball wide of the unguarded net on the stretch. The two combined for Brentford’s other good chance of the first half hour when Vibe crossed and Watkins met it with a powerful header but Gunn made a fine save from the effort, which deflected off Ivo Pinto and looked to have beaten the goalkeeper.

That woodwork strike came before the pattern of the game had truly been established and when it was it was probably the hosts that started to take the upper hand. They looked to play a possession-based game plan, happy to have the ball in defence and play through the pitch to create chances. They did, however, had a lot of the ball in areas that did not really hurt The Bees and Brentford sat in to invite Norwich to play in front of them.

Nélson Oliveira played as the lone striker for the home side and had two early sights of goal. He met a cross from Marco Stiepermann with a header but Yoann Barbet got a block in and Daniel Bentley saved. The striker had a shot soon after that hit his own man – Marley Watkins – and when Kamohelo Mokotjo conceded possession to Oliveira soon after, there was a good piece of defending from Mepham to prevent a clear run at goal.

By the time the midway point of the first half arrive the two Watkins chances were the closest either team had come but Brentford had started to take control. Sawyers was knitting the play together and The Bees were using the ball in areas of the pitch that could hurt Norwich. Sawyers fired over after exchanging passes with both Watkins and Vibe and Barbet had a shot saved soon after.

Alex Pritchard had a shot blocked for the hosts and that came just after a triple escape for The Bees. James Maddison’s corner was met by Timm Klose, Watkins got on to it for the hosts but Bentley made a point blank save. The ball was recycled and Pritchard’s shot was blocked but it fell for Oliveira ten yards out, Bentley saved and then pushed away the second shot by the Norwich striker. Still the danger was not clear as a cross came in from the right and Klose, still up from the back, met it with a powerful header that clipped the post on its way wide.

Those chances came slightly against the run of play at that point and Brentford made their growing dominance count with two goals in five minutes, both for Vibe. The first came when it looked if a move had broken down on the edge of the box but Watkins won the ball from Grant Hanley with a firm challenge, Sawyers fed Vibe and the Danish striker slotted low past Gunn. The first-time finish was instinctive from the Brentford man and left Gunn floundering.

It was two soon after when Sawyers and Watkins set up Vibe for a near post shot that was well saved by Gunn. Brentford, however, recycled well and Sawyers picked the pass brilliantly again, Vibe found the finish again from a similar inside left position and Gunn was once again left to pick the ball out of his net. The boos rang out around Carrow Road as Brentford moved in to a commanding position.

But the home side looked to respond. Hanley could have reduced the arrears with a header from close range from a Pritchard corner but Bentley saved and immediately got Brentford moving. His quick throw released Watkins and The Bees surged forward, the ball was moved to Jozefzoon and he cut inside before curling a shot inches past the post. Barbet could have made it three late in the half when he met a Watkins free kick but his header deflected wide.

Maddison had a shot blocked late in the half but the home side had it all to do at the break. For all their possession, Norwich’s best chances had come from dead balls and Brentford were the more incisive of the teams. The hosts also had to make a change at the break with central defender Hanley off injured, to be replaced by Christoph Zimmerman. The Bees also had to make a change early in the second half with two-goal Vibe, only just back from injury, replaced by Neal Maupay.

Norwich, as would be expected, started the second half on the front foot. There was a little more incision to their passing as they tried to play in Brentford territory. Pritchard fired across the face of goal just after the break and when a ball dropped to Oliveira 18 yards out, he volleyed high and handsome, hitting the roof of the stand.

But that was almost the end of the surge from the hosts. The Bees sat in and made themselves hard to break down while Norwich played in front and looked to thread a pass, to the annoyance of the home fans. Brentford also broke superbly, epitomised when Bentley saved an Oliveira header and set Barbet away, his long pass seemed to allow Jozefzoon in on goal but Harrison Reed got back to make a tackle. Sawyers also had a shot blocked before a Maupay effort from a Watkins cross deflected wide.

Oliveira had a shot blocked and Mario Vrančić fired wide on the turn before centre half Klose almost opened Brentford up. The defender ran from deep and threaded a pas for Vrančić to run on to, he lifted it over the quickly onrushing Bentley but the ball clipped the bar on the way over. Maddison saw a shot blocked and Oliveira headed straight at Bentley as Norwich started to press but without success.

And Brentford had chances to make it safe. After a series of passes Sergi Canós turned clear and headed towards goal before letting fly with a shot that Gunn pushed wide. Barbet also missed the target with an effort before Oliveira shot embarrassingly over from ten yards after good work by Maddison. Oliveira finally made his mark in stoppage time when he turned smartly and drilled home from 18 yards. That gave the hosts four minutes to find a goal but they barely entered Brentford territory and when referee Jeremy Simpson brought the game to a close, it was The Bees that were celebrating.

Norwich City: Gunn; Pinto, Klose, Hanley (sub Zimmermann h/t), Stiepermann (sub Lewis 68 mins); Reed, Vrančić; Pritchard, Maddison, Watkins (sub Murphy 68 mins): Oliveira

Subs (not used): McGovern, Wildschut, Trybull, Tettey

Bookings: Stiepermann (45 mins), Pritchard (79 mins)

Brentford: Bentley; Yennaris, Mepham, Bjelland, Barbet; Woods; Jozefzoon (sub Canós 73 mins), Sawyers, Mokotjo (Sub McEachran 83 mins), Watkins; Vibe (sub Maupay 54 mins)

Subs (not used): Daniels, Sørensen, Chatzitheodoridis, Macleod

Bookings: Sawyers (58 mins) (fourth of season), Maupay (60 mins) (seventh of season)

Attendance: 26,725


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