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Match Reports

Fonkeu's strike helps City's U23s see off Middlesbrough

10 December 2017

Pierre Fonkeu's first-half strike helped Norwich City's Under-23s inflict only Middlesbrough's second Premier League 2 defeat of the season with 1-0 victory at Colney.

Fonkeu finished well in the 18th-minute and City arguably had the better chances to score again, particularly when Steven Naismith was thwarted at close-range by Boro 'keeper Aynsley Pears in the second half.

But the Belgian's strike was enough to see City move up to ninth in Division Two.

Matt Gill welcomed Marcel Franke and Steven Naismith to his starting eleven, as well as Russell Martin who once again featured in the back four. Adam Phillips also returned to the team after his one-match suspension.

A mixture of rain and sleet made conditions very difficult at Colney but, after a slow start to the match, it was City who took the lead on 18 minutes. Lovely build-up play ended in Fonkeu sliding the ball underneath Boro keeper Aynsley Pears and into the bottom corner of the net.

The visitors responded well to going behind with Alex Pattinson and Ben Liddle both having strikes well held by Aston Oxborough and that was just about all of the action in a quiet first half.

Boro began the second half well but were very wasteful when the chances came their way. First, Pattinson headed poorly from a Amadou Sylla cross into the arms of Oxborough and then the same man fired harmlessly over after being played through by Marcus Tavernier.

City had a great opportunity to double their lead on the hour mark. Tristan Abrahams slid a delicate pass across the box and it fell to Naismith whose shot was well charged down by Pears from point-blank range. Cantwell subsequently fired the rebound over the crossbar.

Then on 76 minutes, Cantwell produced some lovely footwork to shift the ball to the left-hand side and find Jamal Lewis but the left-back got under his strike and it flew over the bar.

Moments later, Fonkeu and the Phillips both forced Pears into action before, at the other end, Oxborough produced an outstanding reflex save to deny a Mitchell Curry header.

City ended with a flourish after Devonte Aransibia made Pears tip the ball round the post with a long-range strike but Fonkeu's early goal was the difference as City made it back-to-back victories.

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