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Match Reports

Stunning Maddison strike earns City victory at Brentford

27 January 2018

A sensational curling strike from James Maddison gave City a battling win over Brentford at Griffin Park.

Maddison's early effort was enough to separate the two sides in an entertaining end-to-end game, and Norwich inflicted the Bees' first home league defeat in 13 matches. 

Daniel Farke named all three of Thursday’s signings on the bench. The only personnel change to the starting XI was Mario Vrancic coming into central midfield in place of Harrison Reed, who slotted in at right wing-back in place of the injured Ivo Pinto.

It was a bright opening couple of minutes, with a Brentford corner causing panic in the City area before Norwich went down the other end and Nelson Oliveira almost took advantage of a lack of composure from goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, who had come out of his goal, before Andreas Bjelland cleared.

Good early pressure from the visitors was rewarded in sensational style in the fifth minute.

Christoph Zimmermann did well to win a ball inside Brentford’s half, and his interception fell to Maddison. The City attacker nutmegged his man and then curled an unstoppable effort into the top-right corner from 25 yards.

In a season of stunning strikes from Maddison, that might well be the best of the lot.

It was a trigger-happy opening, with Oliveira troubling Bentley from 20 yards, before Florian Jozefzoon headed straight at Angus Gunn from six yards after Reed had done really well to block a floated cross to the far post.

Gunn was called into action again shortly after, saving smartly low to his right from a Yoann Barbet cross-shot from the left that looked destined for the bottom far corner.

On 20 minutes Oliveira went agonisingly close to doubling City’s lead. The striker picked up the ball on the edge of the area, made space to shoot with his left foot and crashed a curling effort against the post with Bentley beaten.

Three minutes later and Norwich had a half-chance. A corner was taken short to Reed, and his precise ball into the area was driven a couple of yards wide by Zimmermann.

Brentford should have been level just before the half-hour mark. Jozefzoon got it on a plate six yards out from an Ollie Watkins cut-back but somehow drove wide of the post, with the Brentford fans already starting to celebrate.

Norwich had another chance to double their lead on 37 minutes. A Maddison corner caused a scramble in the box, it fell to Grant Hanley but his side-footed effort from six yards was straight at Bentley.

City twice went close straight after the break.

First Murphy couldn’t quite get on the end of a through-ball from Vrancic, with Bentley getting to the ball millimetres ahead of him. And then Reed broke into the box and shot just wide from a very narrow angle.

Brentford began to see more of the ball, but City looked dangerous every time they countered with the front three finding plenty of space as Brentford committed men forward.

On 65 minutes Gunn saved smartly to his right as Jozefzoon cut in from the right and bent a low effort towards the far corner.

After 76 minutes Daniel Farke made his first change, bringing off Murphy and introducing Moritz Leitner for his City debut.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, substitute and former Canary Sergi Canos blazed over from six yards with the goal gaping – although he was under strong pressure from Timm Klose.

Farke made his second change on 82 minutes, introducing Marley Watkins for Oliveira.

New boy Leitner showed his class, somehow picking out Maddison with a side-footed pass between three Brentford defenders, but Maddison couldn’t quite get it under control in the area.

With four minutes remaining Brentford's Watkins muscled his way through on the right but Gunn covered the angle well at his near post and clung on to Watkins' powerful shot.

City began to retreat, as Brentford pushed desperately. Reed brilliantly blocked Canos' 20-yard drive before Watkins’ drive was straight at Gunn.

Five minutes of injury time were added, with Norwich pushing all men behind the ball.

Farke made a late change, with Tom Trybull replacing Vrancic in the last minute of stoppage time. 

As the match somehow entered the 8th minute of injury time, Brentford had a free-kick right on the edge of the area but Jozefzoon blazed it over with the last kick of the game. 

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