Spirited Norwich City down Brentford 1-0 in a battling Championship win at Griffin Park.
PUBLISHED: 22:44 27 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 28 January 2018
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James Maddison's wonder strike earned Norwich City a brave Championship win at Brentford on Saturday.
Maddison lashed home a 25-yard strike in the fifth minute but it was City’s defensive resolve that inflicted a first home league defeat on the play-off chasing Bees since August 12.
Daniel Farke included all three new signings, Onel Hernandez, Moritz Leitner and Dennis Srbeny, in his matchday squad after their arrival from Germany. Mario Vrancic was the one change to the starting line up from the side that lost 2-1 in the Championship to Sheffield United. Harrison Reed was re-deployed for captain Ivo Pinto, who missed out with a knee problem.
Marley Watkins was also included on the bench after recent speculation touting him with Bristol City and Farke’s public dressing down over his attitude.
City got the perfect start in the fifth minute when Christoph Zimmermann’s block saw the ball squirted towards Maddison who nutmegged Ryan Woods and unleashed a dipping 25-yard strike over Daniel Bentley.
Nico Yennaris tried to reply, but choked his effort from long range. Florian Jozefzoon headed straight at Angus Gunn, after Reed lunged full stretch to clear the initial danger.
Nelson Oliveira curled a superb 25-yard effort against the outside of Bentley’s far post in the 19th minute, with the game swinging from one end to the other.
City worked a sharp corner in the 23rd minute that saw Reed whip a first time cross the late-arriving Zimmermann diverted wide.
Jozefzoon went even closer in the 26th minute, when he lashed Ollie Watkins’ cutback inches past Gunn’s right-hand post.
Brentford continued to dominate possession but City’s threat on the counter forced a Maddison corner, which Grant Hanley could only poke at Bentley as he lost his balance four yards out.
Norwich started the second period in positive fashion. Josh Murphy burst clear but was unable to glance the ball around the advancing Bentley. Reed then cut along the byline but guided a strike beyond the far post.
Brentford made a double change on the hour mark that saw the introduction of ex-City player, Sergi Canos, and the Spaniard wasted no time testing Gunn from 20 yards.
Farke’s side were unable to get themselves out of their own final third for a prolonged period. Jozefzoon hammered a low shot wide after Canos had robbed the dawdling Vrancic.
Leitner was introduced for his debut in the 78th minute with Murphy making way, before Watkins replaced Oliveira shortly after.
Canos skied a huge chance from seven yards when Norwich were cut open down their left. His afternoon deteriorated further when he was booked for tipping over Reed.
Gunn thwarted Watkins at his near post in the 86th minute with a superb stop.
• Brentford: Bentley, Bjelland, Jozefzoon, Yennaris, Maupay (Canos 59), McEachran (Judge 59), Watkins, Mokotjo (Marcondes 75), Woods, Barbet, Mepham. Subs (not used): Daniels, MacLeod, Egan, Dalsgaard.
• Bookings: Canos (foul on Reed, 83); Bjelland (foul on Leitner, 90)
• Norwich City: Gunn, Zimmermann, Hanley, Klose, Reed, Vrancic (Trybull 90+5), Tettey, Lewis, Maddison, Murphy (Leitner 78), Oliveira (Watkins 82). Subs (not used): McGovern (GK), Stiepermann, Hernandez, Srbeny.
• Bookings: Lewis (foul on Jozefzoon, 41); Hanley (foul on Canos, 90)
• Goal: Maddison (5)
• Time added on: 1 minute / 5 minutes
• Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland)
• Attendance: 10,252 (1,641 away fans)