Cureton foiled by former team-mate

David Cuffley Striker Jamie Cureton was left shaking his head after a former Norwich City team-mate stopped him scoring for the fourth game in succession.

David Cuffley

Striker Jamie Cureton was left shaking his head after a former Norwich City team-mate stopped him scoring for the fourth game in succession.

Cureton was desperately close to salvaging an unlikely point for nine-man City in stoppage time against Coventry at the Ricoh Arena, only for goalkeeper Andy Marshall to dive to his right to keep out his instinctive volley and preserve his side's 1-0 lead.

It was Marshall's second important save from the Canaries' leading scorer after he smothered his first-time shot from a free-kick early in the second half - the only two goalbound efforts the visitors managed in the whole match.

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Cureton had scored in the previous three games, including a late equaliser at Watford last week, but this time it was not to be.

He said: “Marshy palmed it out very well. It would have been nice to have nicked a draw but I suppose the way we played and with nine men, you can't expect anything but a loss, really.”

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Cureton and Marshall made their Norwich first team debuts within a few weeks of each other in 1994.

“He's a good goalie. I've known him since the youth team,” said Cureton. “We played together a while, and he was playing against his old club so that's something a bit extra as an incentive. He's managed to pull off two saves from me, one from the free-kick and one right at the end, so he got the better of me today. I think they were maybe the only two attempts we had.”

Cureton sympathised with team-mates Gary Doherty and Darel Russell, both sent off for two yellow cards.

He said: “I don't think they were malicious challenges. Both players got up and were fine. I think a ref sometimes can use a bit of common sense and if they're on a yellow, say 'Look, that's your last one' but they don't seem to do that. They want to get you off the pitch as quickly as possible. It's disappointing and both lads have apologised.”

Defeat by the Sky Blues left City still needing at least a couple of victories to feel safe in the Championship, and almost certainly ended any remote hope of challenging for sixth place.

“With us getting beaten by Blackpool and then here, you tend to slip away a bit, but we'll just put our heads down and try to win as many games as possible. If we get back in contention, great. If we don't, we'd like to finish the season on a high,” said Cureton.

Manager Glenn Roeder felt Cureton should have scored from the 46th-minute free-kick that was rolled into his path.

“It was really frustrating - on a free kick that we work hard on in training - to get Jamie in with really a 14-yard penalty kick and I would have expected him to bury that. You can say Marshall made a good save - it's an average save, he should have saved that. Jamie should have worked him harder on that opportunity. That was a free look at the goal 14 yards out.”

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