Cureton delivers perfect response

Striker Jamie Cureton admitted it was “a little bit of a shock” to be left out by Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder at Watford last night - but he responded with his third goal in three games to earn a valuable Championship point.

Striker Jamie Cureton admitted it was “a little bit of a shock” to be left out by Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder at Watford last night - but he responded with his third goal in three games to earn a valuable Championship point.

The substitute had been on the field just six minutes when he produced a cracking finish from winger Lee Croft's centre to cancel out Danny Shittu's 11th-minute opener for the promotion-chasing Hornets.

Cureton's goal, 10 minutes from time at Vicarage Road, was his 11th of the season, and the 32-year-old revealed that he had been stung by his omission after wearing the captain's armband and scoring in each of the previous two games.

He said: “I was disappointed I didn't start and had to do something when I came on, and I managed to score, so I'm very pleased.

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“It just sat up nicely. I was going to take a touch to maybe lay someone in, but it bounced up perfectly, so as soon as it did that, I was only ever going to do one thing and that was hit it. As soon as it left my foot, it was one of those - you know straightaway.”

Roeder left it late to name his side, said Cureton, so there was no time to explain his thinking.

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He said: “I don't know why because the gaffer didn't name the team until we were down here, so we haven't spoken to each other about it. It's down to him. It was a little bit of a shock and I was very disappointed, to be honest. He knows that, he knows I want to play every week. You've been captain, scored two in two and you don't play.

“I'm very disappointed when I don't play especially when I feel I'm in form and I'm doing what I'm expected to do, but the manager has a reason why he's done it today. I've done what I've done to try to force his hand to play me next week.

“I'm very pleased with my form. I've just got to keep doing that to try to stay in the team. The manager's got options and he makes decisions. I was very frustrated when he named the team in the dressing room and got a bit down, to be honest. Thankfully I've been given 20 minutes and I managed to score.”

Cureton paid tribute to his team-mates for fighting back for a well-deserved draw.

He said: “It's pleasing because the boys worked very hard and blocked everything. This is a tough place to come, so it was nice to come away with a point.

“I think we stood up to them very well. We were a bit disappointed with the goal we conceded but we know what we've got to do when we come here. You stand up to them, be physical with them, and hopefully try to get the ball down at times when you can. I think we did that all night and managed to come away with a point. I think if we had performed a little bit better in the first half, there could have been a chance of three points.”

Roeder said Cureton scored “a wonderful goal” but his omission was a question of size.

He said: “Jamie Cureton was very unlucky not to start the game. But when I looked at the opposition and their unique brand of football, I looked for what physical presence we had in the squad. We're not a particularly big team and it was pretty obvious Dion Dublin was going to have to do a job on Shittu.

“Unfortunately, he put his hand in the air at half-time, because between Dion and David Marshall the ball was delivered inside the six-yard box, they didn't deal with it and we were a goal behind.”

He added: “Jamie was very disappointed, which pleased me. Jason Shackell was very disappointed that he didn't get a start. These are all pleasing factors. What they must do is contain their disappointment so they don't carry it on when they come on as subs.

“Jamie Cureton's got a big part to play in the final 10 games of the season. Saturday is a different game at Coventry. We're not going to have the same problems that we could have had against Watford.

“Jamie is lacking height, probably the only reason he didn't start. You have to set your stall out according to who you're playing. We knew it would be an aerial battle all night unless we could get the ball down and play ourselves, which in the second half we did. It's such a satisfying result to get a point here tonight. I would have hated to have left here with nothing.”

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