2017-18 English Carabao Cup, Third Round
  • Josh Clarke (90'+1')
  • Mario Vrancic (10' PEN, 51')
  • Josh Murphy (68')

Mario Vrancic at the double as Norwich cruise to victory

Mario Vrancic grabbed a brace and Josh Murphy one as Norwich cruised into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a comfortable 3-1 win at Brentford.

The shot-shy Bees added some respectability to the scoreline with an injury time consolation from Josh Clarke, but in reality this was a stroll in the park for the Canaries.

Vrancic gave the visitors the lead from the spot after Bees debutant Chris Mepham was harshly adjudged to have tripped Marley Watkins in the box with just 10 minutes gone.

Vrancic doubled the advantage just after the break with a superb low free kick curled round the wall from the angle of the box.

And Murphy made it three after 68 minutes when he raced onto a Tom Trybull through ball to clip over onrushing Bees keeper Luke Daniels.

Clarke pulled one back at the death with a speculative long range drive that fizzed in at the near post, but the outcome was never really in doubt.

A physical but fair Norwich dominated midfield and at times in the latter stages proceedings resembled a training game.

A key moment came after the opener as Dean Smith's strugglers were handed a golden chance to level things up when Kamohelo Mokotjo was felled inside the box by Wes Hoolahan, but Yoann Barbet's spot kick almost cleared the stand.

The Bees, giving three reserve team players their debuts, had half chances throughout the opening 45 but found any attempt to build rhythm foiled by a string of strange refereeing decisions.

One of the debut boys Ilias Chatzitheodoridis saw a rising drive clutched beneath the bar by Canaries keeper Angus Gunn minutes after the deadlock was broken.

But the hosts were inches away from going two behind after 24 minutes when an accidental clash of boots led to a free kick that Vrancic fizzed just wide of the far upright.

Nico Yennaris saw two snapshots easily saved by Gunn, but it was always the more experienced Norwich side that posed the greater threat going forward.

After the break they made their dominance tell with a second goal from Vrancic after 51 minutes.

Murphy drilled a cross low across goal which eluded everyone before he pounced on a Barbet blunder to power an effort wide of the far post.

Bees substitute Justin Shaibu cut in from the left after 66 minutes only to see his powerful drive cannon back to safety off the foot of the post.

Norwich extended their lead through Murphy after 68 minutes before Clarke netted his side's consolation late on.