Lucky late Norwich goal frustrates Brentford as it finishes honours even
Brentford 1 Norwich City 1
Brentford were robbed of a deserved win by a deflected goal three minutes from time.
Ivan Toney’s eighth goal of the season – all coming in the last six games – looked as though it would be enough to take Brentford into the top six.
But Canaries sub Kenny McLean had the good fortune of seeing his off-target shot take a wicked deviation off Mads Bech Sorensen, completely wrong-footing Bees keeper David Raya.
The home side had been looking well set, having seized control of the game with Toney’s 27th minute strike and the former Peterborough marksman, already looking a good fit, and in a rich vein of form, almost made it 2-0 soon after.
They looked in little danger of surrendering their advantage after that, but there was to be a sting in the tail.
In fairness, the Bees had taken a while to show their hand. Like a prize fighter sitting back to see what the opponent had to offer. And the Canaries appeared to have plenty. They passed crisply and confidently, creating some neat patterns and incisive-looking moves, while hogging the ball impressively.
This is a side that has retained its Premier League personnel – a squad which earned plenty of plaudits in spite of last season’s relegation from the top flight.
Indeed, the Bees were almost undone by the excellence of Emi Buendia early on, when he bamboozled Henrik Dalsgaard and cut inside Ethan Pinnock before having his final shot deflected just over.
And Mario Vrancic was not too far away with a daisy-cutter from outside the area which had David Raya scrambling to his left.
But the Bees then decided it was time they started imposing themselves a bit more, and after Dalsgaard had hooked just wide following a long throw-in from Sorensen, Toney turned the tide.
After he had turned in a Bryan Mbeumo cross from close range, he was denied a second when Tim Krul sprang low down to his right to keep out a header that was begging to be put away after a fine cross from Rico Henry. Between those moments, Mathias Jensen flashed a shot just wide.
Just past the hour, Krul made a fine reflex stop to stop Dalsgaard from tapping in from inches after Toney had headed down beautifully into space, but the home side looked in control, even with the slenderest of leads.
It was a mistaken belief. Norwich were poor in the second half, as the Bees kept dangerman Teemu Pukki subdued and an anonymous Todd Cantwell was hooked at half-time. But they return to East Anglia with a share of the spoils.
Brentford: Raya – Dalsgaard, Pinnock, Bech Sorensen, Henry – Dasilva (Janelt 70), Jensen, Marcondes – Mbeumo, Toney (Forss 83), Ghoddos (Canos 59). Subs not used: Thompson, Goode, Fosu, Daniels