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Match Reports

Brentford 0 Norwich City 1

A single goal gives Norwich the win at Griffin Park

27 January 2018

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Norwich City became only the second time to beat Brentford in the Sky Bet Championship at Griffin Park in 2017/18 as they took the points with a 1-0 win. An early goal from James Maddison settled the game as the visitors won in West London for the second time this term following a Carabao Cup victory in September and followed Nottingham Forest in winning in the league in TW8. It was a goal worthy of winning any game, curled in from 30 yards, but Norwich’s victory was earned at the other end.

The first 20 minutes was even with chances at both ends but Brentford soon took control and played most of the game on the front foot. The Bees laid siege to the Norwich goal at times but chances came and went as the City defence held firm and protected goalkeeper Angus Gunn superbly. And when The Bees did find a way through, Gunn was a barrier too far and ensured his side took the win.

The only goal came five minutes in and followed an end-to-end opening. It was a goal to light up any match and set the tone for an afternoon with plenty of attacking football. Maddison found a fraction of space 30 yards out after a clever turn and curled a shot in to the top corner. Daniel Bentley was left helpless by the placement of the shot and Norwich had the lead.

The visitors could have been in front moments earlier when Bentley, Chris Mepham and Andreas Bjelland dithered when looking to deal with a long ball. Nélson Oliveira looked to profit but Bjelland took control and stepped away with the ball. There had also been chances for The Bees before Maddison’s strike as Ollie Watkins had a shot blocked and, when the resulting corner was half cleared, a Florian Jozefzoon shot was blocked.

Norwich had set their stall out and established a way of playing even before the early goal. They tried to stop The Bees playing out from defence and in to midfield. They got a lot of men high up the pitch to press and tried to win the ball back in attacking areas. When The Bees were able to play through there was space to exploit but with Norwich often profiting from their plan, they also had chances.

Oliveira saw a shot deflect wide and then curled a shot on to the angle of post and crossbar from 25 yards soon after. Maddison also had another attempt from distance but this time curled it straight at Bentley. At the other end, Nico Yennaris shot wide after stepping out of defence before a clever shot corner enabled Ryan Woods to deliver a cross that Jozefzoon headed straight at Gunn from ten yards.

Maddison was the main creative force for the visitors. They looked to play through him at all times and find him in pockets of space. He saw a shot deflect wide after an exchange of passes with Oliveira before his short corner enabled Harrison Read to play a ball in and Christoph Zimmermann fired it just wide at the near post.

As the half wore on Norwich were finding it harder to get as many men up the pitch as at the start of the match. There were more gaps for Brentford to exploit and the game was being played more in Norwich territory. Yoann Barbet drilled a ball across the goal and narrowly wide and other balls in to the box just failed to find a man. Kamohelo Mokotjo saw a shot blocked and a fine move that saw Barbet play in Watkins ended with Jozefzoon shooting wide from ten yards when he really should have tested Gunn.

Mepham saw a header blocked from a corner and Neal Maupay then lashed over before Mokotjo had another shot blocked. Maupay fired wide on the turn before Watkins had a shot blocked and then saw another effort deflect wide. That corner almost led to a Norwich goal as Gunn collected and whacked it long, Josh Murphy got on to it but his attempt to lob over Bentley was miss-hit and bounced wide.

The visitors could have been two up before the break when a corner dropped loose and Grant Hanley got a toe to it ten yards out but his effort went straight at Bentley. That mean Norwich went in at half time with a one-goal lead while Brentford would have been looking for a little more incisive play in the final third. But, after a delayed start to the second period while there was a change to one of the assistant referees, it was Norwich that started brighter

Murphy could have made it two just after the re-start when he looked to get on to a long ball forward but Bentley got out and prevented him turning it in. Reed then got on a deep cross and weaved his way in to the penalty area before letting fly with a shot that flew inches past the far post. The visitors claimed there had been a touch but referee Scott Duncan waved away appeals.

Brentford needed a lift and Mepham provided it. The young defender led an attack with a surge out of defence and then let fly from 20 yards with a shot that was well-blocked after an exchange of passes with Jozefzoon. With Brentford introducing Sergi Canós and Alan Judge soon after, the momentum shifted and The Bees started to lay siege to the Norwich goal.

Mokotjo saw a shot blocked before one from Canós from 25 yards was saved. Watkins was then just unable to reach a Woods cross and turn it in. Judge almost marked his return to Championship football after almost two years out with a badly broken leg with a goal but a shot from 25 yards bounced just past the far post. Jozefzoon then saw another shot saved by the increasingly busy Gunn.

Barbet, Mepham and Canós all had shots blocked in quick succession before a run from Watkins almost opened Norwich up. He got away on the right after a clever turn and cut the ball in to the path of Canós but the shot flew over from ten yards. There was then a golden chance for Watkins after a fine pass from Emiliano Marcondes Camargo Hansen. Watkins turned clear in the box but shot straight at Gunn.

Jozefzoon saw a shot blocked before one from Emiliano was blocked and Gunn then saved from Barnet. Emiliano then smashed a free kick in to the defensive wall before Watkins was unable to make a good connection when he got on to a Canós chip. Even in the eighth minute of stoppage time there was still a chance for Brentford to salvage a point but Jozefzoon’s free kick was high and wide and Norwich had the win.

Brentford: Bentley; Yennaris, Mepham, Bjelland, Barbet; McEachran (sub Judge 59 mins), Jozefzoon, Woods, Mokotjo (sub Emiliano 75 mins), Watkins: Maupay (sub Canós 59 mins)

Subs (not used): Daniels, Dalsgaard, Egan, Macleod

Bookings: Canós (83 mins) (third of season), Bjelland (90 mins) (second of season)

Norwich City: Gunn; Hanley, Zimmermann, Klose; Reed, Tettey, Vrančić (sub Trybull 90 mins), Lewis; Maddison; Murphy (sub Leitner 78 mins), Oliveira (sub Watkins 82 mins)

Subs (not used): McGovern, Stiepermann, Hernández, Srbeny

Bookings: Lewis (41 mins), Hanley (90 mins)

Attendance: 10,252 (1,641 away fans)

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