Brentford 0-1 Norwich: James Maddison stunner secures win
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 27/01/18 7:14pm
Norwich midfielder James Maddison's superb 30-yard strike in a hard-fought 1-0 win was enough to end in-form Brentford's 13-game home unbeaten Championship run.
Highly-rated Maddison curled home a beauty into the top corner after six minutes to give Bees keeper Daniel Bentley no chance.
Nelson Oliveira almost made it two midway through the first half with a carbon-copy strike, but this time his rasping drive from the edge of the box bounced to safety off the outside of the post.
Brentford were rocked back on their heels by the early goal, but the unmarked Florian Jozefzoon should have levelled on 14 minutes - but his close-range header went straight to goalkeeper Angus Gunn.
Two minutes later, wing-back Yoann Barbet thought he had hauled Dean Smith's side back into it with a sizzling low drive that flashed inches past the far upright and Jozefzoon came close just before the half-hour mark when he got across his marker only to steer his first-time drive wide.
Grant Hanley almost made it two for the visitors seven minutes before the break, but his toe-poked effort in a crowded box was held by the relieved Bentley.
Brentford looked far more lively after the break, but it was Harrison Reed who almost stretched the visitors' lead when he outstripped Barbet to whip in a low drive that eluded everyone.
Substitutes Alan Judge and Sergi Canos gave the hosts a boost and the Irishman almost marked his league return with a goal before firing his low drive just wide.
Canos, who joined the Bees after a stop-start stay at Carrow Road, should have made his former employers pay after 81 minutes but skied Ollie Watkins' low cross from the byline high over the bar.
Watkins himself went close five minutes later, turning his man brilliantly only to be denied by a great reflex stop from Gunn, but Brentford - missing leading scorer Lasse Vibe, who is rumoured to be on the brink of a move to China - lacked the cutting edge to seriously test a resolute Canaries rearguard.
Substitute Emiliano Marcondes and Barbet saw late efforts blocked by City's desperate defence as they saw out five minutes of injury time to put a halt to Brentford's recent run of five wins in six.
Dean Smith: "I'm disappointed because the best team got beat but saying that, the difference between the sides was a 25-yard shot into the top corner.
"We were camped in their half for long spells and they defended deep like many teams have here this season. They have pace on the counter so we had to be mindful of that but I thought we handled them very well defensively.
"Every time we've sold someone, the squad knits together and we've got better each time. I looked over my shoulder at our bench and we have Alan Judge, Emiliano Marcondes and Sergi Canos, but today we just lacked that final ball."
Daniel Farke: "This was their first home defeat since August so this win and clean sheet are simply outstanding especially when you consider it's been a pretty difficult week for us with people leaving and coming in.
"We had problems with injuries so to come here to Brentford, a side who have been on fire, and win with such good defensive behaviour deserves compliments. This was important for us because now we can start planning for next season without fear of relegation."