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Match Reports

Brentford 1 Norwich City 2

First half goals hand Brentford home defeat

6 November 2021

Brentford were unable to recover from conceding two first half goals and were beaten by Norwich City. The Bees fell behind inside the opening six minutes and that lead was doubled, against the run of play, later in the half. Rico Henry scored after the break, but The Bees could not find an equaliser and Norwich took the points.

It was a game defined by its goals. Norwich scored before there had been any real pattern established and their second came when The Bees appeared to be in control. Bryan Mbeumo had a goal disallowed and when Henry got his first in the Premier League, Brentford seemed to have the momentum to battle back. But Norwich held firm and took a 2-1 win.

Brentford could have scored before Norwich got their early goal. A long throw was half cleared, and Mathias Jensen picked it up inside the penalty area, his chipped cross was met by Ivan Toney, but the flicked effort bounced just past the far post. It was an interesting opening to the game for Toney, who was also cautioned for a late tackle on Andrew Omobamidele before Norwich’s goal.

The goal started with a run down the left by Milot Rashica. Brentford failed to clear the cross and Mathias Normann picked it up. He weaved past a few challenges and his way towards the Brentford penalty area before he picked out the bottom corner with a low shot. Álvaro Fernández went full stretch to his left but was unable to keep out the shot and Norwich were ahead.

Fernández had to make another save when Rashica cut in off the left soon after and Brentford were forced in to a defensive change when Zanka limped off. Charlie Goode was introduced and was straight in to the action. A long throw from Goode bounced inside the area, Christian Nørgaard turned it towards the corner, but Tim Krul was there to get something in the way and keep it out.

Brentford started to settle after a difficult opening to the contest. Norwich had the better of the midfield battle in the early stages, but The Bees began to find space to play and were moving through the centre of the pitch in to attacking areas. Ethan Pinnock headed a corner over the bar and Sergi Canós darted down the right and enabled Mbeumo to set up a chance for Jensen, but the effort was blocked.

Mbeumo had a shot blocked before Norwich grabbed a second goal on the counter-attack. Normann found space in midfield and played a pass that opened Brentford up. Teemu Pukki raced away, after getting a lucky ricochet when the pass hit his heels and was preparing to shoot when Goode made a challenge. Referee Jarred Gillet decided the challenge was unfair and pointed to the penalty spot, showing Goode a yellow card as a lost goal scoring opportunity had been restored. After a check by Video Assistant Referee Lee Mason, the penalty stood, Pukki placed it to the right of Fernández, who dived the other way, and Norwich had breathing space.

Toney had a header blocked as Brentford tried to find a way back in to the game before half time, but Norwich were set to defend their lead. They had a solid platform in midfield and stopped Brentford taking control of the centre of the pitch. They tucked their wide players inside to make it harder for Brentford to break through and went in at the interval in a very healthy position.

Brentford tried to change the flow of the game at the break with the introduction of Saman Ghoddos. They got Ghoddos closer to Toney and Mbeumo and looked to push Norwich’s midfield back in to their defence. It could have got worse for Brentford early in the second half as Pierre Lees-Melou saw a shot blocked before Brandon Williams darted down the left to create another chance. He found Pukki on the right side of the penalty area with only Fernández to beat. The shot flew across the Brentford goalkeeper and inches wide of the far post.

Brentford went straight down the other end and thought they had reduced the deficit. Toney flicked a long ball on and Mbeumo was in behind. He used his pace to get away from Max Aarons and shot past Krul, maybe with the aid of a deflection. Mbeumo was initially signalled to be onside, but Mr Mason checked the replay and decided he was not. The goal was ruled out of offside, and Norwich still had a two-goal lead.

Lees-Melou blasted over from distance but there had been a shift in momentum. Ghoddos was finding pockets of space, Mbeumo was testing Norwich in behind and Brentford were playing more in Norwich territory. The Bees pushed the visitors back and looked to find their way back in to the game.

A deep Jensen free kick was met by Pinnock, but he headed straight at Krul. The Norwich goalkeeper then rushed off his line to save at the feet of Toney, who may have been unfairly eased out of the way by Ben Gibson, although not according to Mr Gillett. Krul held on to a Pontus Jansson header and also made an incredible point-blank save when a Jensen corner took a touch off Goode and reached Nørgaard. The shot from Nørgaard was fierce and looked set for the net, but Krul got his body in the way.

Brentford did find a way through on the hour mark. Space was worked on the right for Ghoddos, and he sent over an outstanding cross that arced over Krul and was turned in at the far post by Henry. The cross took an entire defence out of the equation and dropped perfectly for Henry to arrive, he met it on the stretch and diverted it in to the net.

The pattern for the remaining minutes was quickly established. Brentford brought Marcus Forss on to strengthen their attacking options and Norwich tried to take time out of the game. The visitors delayed at every opportunity, inviting Mr Gillett to manage the situation and add the time at the end of the game. The six minutes signalled and seven played may not have adequately covered it.

Fernández had to save a long range free kick from Rashica, but it was Brentford in the ascendency. Canós got on the end of a deep cross, cut back and tested Krul with a powerful near post shot. A clever corner then found Canós in space again, but his shot was saved again by Krul. Fernández had to be alert to deal with a drilled effort when a free kick was half cleared and then denied Rashica when the Norwich man burst in to space.

Kenny McLean shot wide for Norwich but most of the late chances went to Brentford. Canós was unable to get to an Mbeumo cross early enough to turn it towards goal and could only find the side netting. Goode also lashed over the bar when a cross dropped. There was no lack of effort and pressure from The Bees, but Norwich stood firm and took the points.

Brentford: Fernández; Zanka (sub Goode 12 mins), Jansson, Pinnock, Canós, Jensen, Nørgaard, Janelt (sub Ghoddos h/t), Henry (sub Forss 69 mins); Toney, Mbeumo

Subs (not used): Cox, Roerslev, Stevens, Thompson, Bidstrup, Onyeka

Bookings: Toney (4 mins), Goode (28 mins)

Norwich City: Krul; Aarons, Gibson, Omobamidele, Williams; Normann, McLean; Dowell (sub Giannoulis 74 mins), Lees-Melou, Rashica (sub Idah 90 mins); Pukki (sub Sargent 78 mins)

Subs (not used): Gunn, Rupp, Gilmour, Płacheta, Tzolis, Sørensen

Bookings: Normann (32 mins), Omobamidele (52 mins), Aarons (90 mins)

Attendance: 16,837 (1,725 away fans)


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