Bees move six points clear of drop zone with crucial 3-1 win at basement club Norwich
Norwich City 1
An Ivan Toney hat-trick – including two penalties inside four minutes in the second half – helped Brentford to a vital 3-1 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road this afternoon.
Toney opened the scoring midway through the first half, slamming home from close range after a corner from Christian Eriksen – making his first start since suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020 – was flicked on at the near post.
And Ben Gibson had the sort of four minutes a defender has nightmares about early in the second period. He gave away both penalties, which Toney dispatched past Tim Krul for his eighth and ninth Premier League strikes of the season.
Teemu Pukki added a consolation for Norwich in second half stoppage time.
There was an emotional minute’s applause for the people of Ukraine pre-match – fans of both clubs given yellow and blue cards to wave, while others waved the Ukrainian flag.
When the action got going, Norwich had a great chance to opening the scoring. Billy Gilmour played in Milot Rashica, whose effort was saved by David Raya. Gilmour skied the rebound when well-set.
Sergi Canos then saw a shot easily saved by Tim Krul as the Bees worked their first move of the game.
Pukki drew a save out of Raya after 18 minutes, the Bees’ keeper getting down well to his left, before Joshua Sargent’s shot flew over the crossbar.
But shortly after that, Ethan Pinnock’s long throw eventually fell to the feet of Canos, whose fierce shot was pushed round the post by Krul.
And from the resulting corner the Bees took the lead.
At the other end Canos was forced to concede a corner following a right-wing cross, but after that opening burst, Norwich were offering little in the way of attacking threat, and an undercurrent of boos rang around Carrow Road as referee Anthony Taylor blew for half-time.
Six minutes into the second half things got worse for Norwich. Gibson’s foot was high as Brentford skipper Pontus Jansson went for a header, and although referee Taylor initially waved away the Brentford appeals for a penalty, VAR called him over and, as always, the ref changed his mind. Toney sent Krul the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-0.
Within four minutes the game was all over. Toney, tripped in the area, earned the Bees’ second penalty in four minutes. His kick, like the previous one, was low to Krul’s right and Brentford were three up.
Again Gibson was the offender, and chants of ‘sack the board’ came from the home fans, while the visiting Bees were in dreamland.
Pukki could have given the Canaries something to work with a couple of minutes later, but his shot from just outside the area was easily saved low down to his right by Raya.
And when it seemed things could hardly get worse for Norwich, the home side had a Rashica strike ruled out for offside in the build-up.
Bryan Mbuemo had a strike of his own cancelled for offside after 75 minutes, but it mattered not one bit, despite Pukki’s late strike for the home side.
Brentford may have played more games than their rivals – indeed, no team in the division has played more than their 28 – but points on the board are far more important at that end of the table – and Thomas Frank’s men are now six clear of the drop.
Norwich: Krul, Byram, Gibson, Hanley, Gilmour (Rowe, 74), Normann (Lees-Melou 81), Rashica, Williams (Aarons, 81), Pukki, McClean, Sargent
Brentford: Raya, Henry, Pinnock, Norgaard (Onyeka, 60), Canos (Wissa, 81), Toney, Jansson, Mbeumo, Ajer (Roerslev, 75), Eriksen, Janelt
Referee: Anthony Taylor