SC Rot-Weiß Oberhausen 1 Norwich City Under-23s 2: Todd Cantwell and Belgian starlet Pierre Fonkeu on target to open German tour with a win
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Matt Gill praised his young guns after a comeback 2-1 friendly win against SC Rot-Weiß Oberhausen on Wednesday afternoon in sweltering temperatures.
Todd Cantwell slotted Glenn Middleton's pass in the 44th minute, to cancel out Can Serdar's free header at an Oberhausen corner.
Club Brugge trialist Pierre Xavier Fonkeu then bundled home Diallang Jaiyesmi's low cross to seal the win for Gill's side just past the hour mark, but the young Canaries' were indebted to keeper Aston Oxborough who made a string of fine stops.
'It was a really good workout,' said Gill. 'No disrespect to King's Lynn but that was a step up. Those boys gave us a challenge, we have stepped up the training and the intensity with the idea of putting in place building blocks for the season. There is still plenty to work on but credit to the boys how hard they worked in the heat.
'We said before the game we didn't want to use that as an excuse and just sat here after the game we are all sweating. The boys who played 90 minutes, especially, it is all credit to them the work they have put in over the past three weeks with the support staff and people like Jay Eastoe-Smith and Ross (Hollinworth). They have really conditioned them well.'
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Tony Andreu was the only senior player on duty with Will Wright and ex-Liverpool midfielder Adam Phillips joining fellow trialist Fonkeu in the line up.
The German regional side carried the greater attacking threat in the early sparring but Oxborough underlined his shot-stopping ability to deny first Marvin Lorch and then Tarik Kurt from close range after City's defence had failed to track the runners.
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The big keeper had no chance when Serdar was left unmarked to head home from close range but Cantwell pounced in the final seconds of the half and another fine Oxborough save was the trigger for a counter that put City in front.
The likes of Andreu, Middleton, Cantwell and Jaiyesmi were withdrawn in the sweltering temperatures entering the final quarter as Gill shuffled his options ahead of a second and final friendly on Friday back at the Canaries training base.
Oxborough again proved secure to dive to his left to grasp Enes Topal's curling effort from the edge of the area. Fonkeu spurned a glorious chance for his second in the 83rd minute when he skied Bilaz Kimal's low cross from six yards.
City's Under-23s will complete their pre-season camp on Friday lunchtime against Eintracht Braunschweig U23 at Hotel Klosterpforte.
The Under-23s will then form a Norwich City XI which takes on National League side Sutton United on Friday, July 28 (7.45pm), before concluding preparations for the new Premier League Two season with a fixture against Burnley at Colney on Friday, August 4 (12pm).
• SC Rot-Weiß Oberhausen (starting XI): Wozniak, Stojan, Topal, Serdar, Reinert, Odenthal, Langen, Kurt, Lorch, Scheelen, Ben Balla.
• Goal: Serdar (39)
• Norwich City U23s: Oxborough, Efete (Aransiba), Arrons, Phillips (Hylnsson 69), Wright, Odusina, Jaiyesmi (Higgs 69), Andreu (Kimal 76), Fonkeu, Cantwell (Sambu 69), Middleton (Catton 58). Sub (not used): Hallet.
• Goals: Cantwell (44), Xavier (63)
• Referee: Markus Wollenweber