Ivan Toney grabbed Brentford’s first Premier League hat-trick as The Bees picked up a vital victory over Norwich City at Carrow Road. The striker volleyed in from a corner to put The Bees ahead in the first half and then scored two penalties after the interval to seal the win. Norwich pulled one back, but The Bees took the points.
It was an enthralling match with no shortage of incident. As well as four goals, two of them penalties, there were two more disallowed and a series of yellow cards. It was competitive and combative, and Brentford came out on top, winning 3-1 with Toney scoring Brentford’s first top-flight treble since 1937 and taking his tally for the season to 11.
It was an all-action start to the contest with chances at both ends inside the first ten minutes. The first went the way of the hosts, who should have scored inside two minutes. A pass from Ethan Pinnock was intercepted by Billy Gilmour and he exchanged passes with Teemu Pukki before setting up Milot Rashica 12 yards out. Rashica only had David Raya to beat, but the Brentford goalkeeper got down well to save low, and Gilmour smashed the loose ball over the crossbar.
Raya had earlier saved a shot from Kenny McLean that Christian Nørgaard had got a block on, and he saved a low near post shot from Pukki later in the half. But there were also chances at the other end. Bryan Mbeumo volleyed a cross from Christian Eriksen wide at the near post and Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul got down well to save a shot from Sergi Canós.
There was a similarity in styles from the sides, both playing 4-3-3 formations. There was patient play in their own territory and an attempt to play through midfield. Brentford sometimes went longer, with Eriksen finding space to release Mbeumo on the right, who was supported by Kristoffer Ajer on the overlap. The Bees had a sight of goal when Pinnock headed an Eriksen corner back, but Mbeumo’s volley was saved.
Norwich probably had the slight upper hand as the game approached the half hour. Ajer had blocked a Rashica shot, and Raya had got down well to hold on to an effort from Gilmour. Joshua Sargent also fired over the crossbar. The home side may have had a fraction more of the ball and territory, but it was Brentford that struck first.
It came from possession on the right side when Eriksen, Mbeumo and Ajer linked. They won a throw in that was propelled in to the penalty area by Pinnock. It dropped to Canós on the edge of the box and his shot was arrowing in to the corner before it was pushed away by Krul. Eriksen floated the corner towards the near post, Ajer flicked in on and Toney volleyed in from close range. The delivery was perfect, the flick on took out the defence and Toney was able to steer it past Krul and Brandon Williams on the line.
Eriksen almost created a second goal for Canós with a delightful reverse pass. Canós cut inside Sam Byram but was crowded out before he could shoot. The pair linked again later in the half when Canós went flying down the left, away from Byram. He set up Eriksen for a shot that was blocked. Vitaly Janelt also saw a shot fly over the bar as half time approached.
Norwich tried to respond immediately after falling behind with a Grant Hanley headed blocked. The ball was recycled and Rashica let fly from the edge of the box, but Pontus Jansson made a superb block. The Bees ended the half strongly, playing on the front foot and with the lead and minutes in to the second half, they had a second
It came from another Eriksen corner, which he lifted in to the near post. Jansson got a head to it and diverted it across the face of goal but received a boot to the head from Ben Gibson in the process. Referee Anthony Taylor was instructed by Video Assistant Referee John Brooks to look at the incident again. After reviewing it, Mr Taylor pointed to the spot. There was lengthy delay while Krul tried to psyche Toney out, but the Brentford man won the battle. He drilled the spot kick to Krul’s right as the goalkeeper toppled to his left and The Bees were two up.
That came in a frenetic start to the second half where Mr Taylor and Mr Brooks were the centre of attention. The home side had appeals for a penalty when Williams stood stock still inside the penalty area and allowed Mbeumo to run in to him. Mr Taylor decided no foul had been committed and Mr Brooks agreed.
The Bees went two up moments later and there was another penalty appeal soon after. This time Pinnock challenged McLean for a dropping ball. Pinnock kicked ball and man and both Mr Taylor and Mr Brooks decided that the Brentford defender had met the ball first, meaning Norwich only had a throw on. The anger of the hosts was further raised when The Bees scored a third soon after.
Nørgaard picked a pass in midfield and a dummy from Canós allowed Toney a run in the inside left channel. Gibson came across to make a challenge and Mr Taylor decided a foul had been committed. This was, again, checked by Mr Brooks and the spot kick was awarded. Krul once again played games on his line and Toney once again smashed the ball to his right. Krul went the correct way this time, but the kick was too powerful, and Toney had his hat-trick.
That was by no means the end of the action. Raya was forced in to saves from Pukki and Byram before the home side thought they had one back. Brentford were penned in their penalty area and then failed to clear a cross. Rashica let fly with a shot from 15 yards that fizzed across the turf and beat Raya low to his right. The teams were lined-up to resume the game, but Mr Brooks was checking. He found that Pukki was offside from the initial cross and the goal was ruled out.
It had been a stop-start second period, punctuated by the video checks and more were to follow. Mbeumo lashed in a shot that looked set for the net before Byram blocked. Mbeumo did have the ball in the net soon after, only to see his celebrations cut short.
Pinnock took a throw on the left and got it back from Toney. His cross looped high and Mbeumo met it with a powerful downward header. Krul saved that and then magnificently blocked the effort from Jansson that followed, only for Mbeumo to smash the loose ball home. Mr Brooks took a look and saw that Pinnock was offside when he got the ball back from Toney to cross so Mbeumo’s goal was ruled out.
Janelt looked like he was about to set up another chance with a burst through the middle, but he was tackled by Gibson and Norwich cleared. That prompted a further flashpoint with Janelt lying on the floor and Gibson trying to lift him up. Jansson was booked for his involvement in the fracas. The hosts were still looking for a goal and Raya saved a chop from Pierre Lees-Melou before a Pukki shot was blocked after a nice turn.
Norwich got a goal back in stoppage time. Substitute Jonathan Rowe worked his way in to the box on the left and his attempt to cross deflected off Jansson in to the path of Pukki. The striker latched on to the looping ball and lashed it past Raya in to the net.
There was eight minutes of stoppage time added and Norwich still had most of that to find two more goals. Byram saw a shot blocked and Sargent lashed over in the dying seconds. Brentford held firm, got their win and Toney walked off with the match ball.
Norwich City: Krul; Byram, Hanley, Gibson, Williams (sub Aarons 81 mins); Gilmour (sub Rowe 74 mins), Normann (sub Lees-Melou 81 mins), McLean; Sargent, Pukki, Rashica
Subs (not used): Gunn, Zimmermann, Dowell, Płacheta, Sørensen, Giannoulis
Bookings: Gibson (51 mins)
Brentford: Raya; Ajer (sub Roerslev 75 mins), Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Janelt, Nørgaard (sub Onyeka 59 mins), Eriksen; Mbeumo, Toney, Canós (sub Wissa 82 mins)
Subs (not used): Lössl, Zanka, Bech, Baptiste, Jensen, Ghoddos
Bookings: Ajer (24 mins), Eriksen (40 mins), Jansson (79 mins), Roerslev (89 mins), Mbeumo (90 mins)