Brentford sit deep for Norwich draw

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Dean Smith

When Dean Smith planned Brentford’s tactics before their 0-0 draw with Norwich at the end of December, perhaps the 5-0 thrashing by the same team earlier that month was in his thoughts. Until Robbie Brady was sent off for their opponents late on, Smith’s men showed no attacking intent and looked happy with a point.

They got it partly due to good performances from defenders such as John Egan, but also wasteful finishing from Cameron Jerome, who headed straight at Daniel Bentley after Brady’s cross early on. Norwich’s better moments came when Brady combined with hardworking striker Nelson Oliveira, though those moments were sporadic.

The visitors could have done without both Youssuf Mulumbu and Alex Tettey in midfield. The duo got stuck in when needed, yet their gritty qualities were surplus to requirements against a team that sat deep. Neither are the most creative and that showed with sideways passes and punts up field, which limited the supply to attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard, who was well-pocketed by the energetic Ryan Woods.

Fellow Bees midfielder Josh McEachran was anonymous and Nico Yennaris looked tired, though the latter did play the ball through for Hogan to have a snapshot on 44 minutes. Sulley Kaikai made two powerful bursts beyond Brady but was otherwise kept quiet with neither side threatening early in the second half.

Jerome’s best chance came when Pritchard’s ball over the top found Ivo Pinto, who produced his best cross of the game for the striker, who fired over from close range on 73 minutes. Jerome worked hard and showed good movement though, setting up Jacob Murphy moments later, but the substitute was denied by Bentley. Norwich’s failure to take their chances could have been punished after Brady was controversially sent off after a fifty-fifty challenge with Woods.

In the closing stages, Ryan Bennett made two pieces of last ditch defending to deny Hogan and then Egan. Timm Klose, Norwich’s most aggressive defender on the night and Russell Martin also had to be alert as the Canaries clung on.

Brentford would not have deserved a win had they got it, because they showed no attacking intent at 11 v 11 and did not hit the target all evening. Norwich came closer to scoring but the slow football on show in West London did not cover either side in glory.

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