Jamie rues misses but savours point

CHRIS LAKEY Jamie Cureton ended a 10-game scoreless run to send Norwich City fans into raptures yesterday - and then praised the new-found calmness of the Glenn Roeder regime.

CHRIS LAKEY

Jamie Cureton ended a 10-game scoreless run to send Norwich City fans into raptures yesterday - and then praised the new-found calmness of the Glenn Roeder regime.

Cureton had been on the sharp end of some criticism from former boss Peter Grant, mostly due to "the pass that wasn't", when he went for a hat-trick goal against Barnet in the Carling Cup rather than squaring to David Strihavka, who was arguably in a better position to score.

And City's leading scorer clearly welcomes the new man's obviously calmer demeanour.


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"He is a more calming influence," said Cureton, after claiming his fifth of the season yesterday afternoon. "There is not so much shouting, it is not so intense. I think he has come in and been a bit more relaxed and maybe that has helped the boys a bit.

"Today we played in a relaxed way considering how big the occasion was. We were very attacking, very positive and he has tried to put that in to us, that we are a good side, that the slate is wiped clean and we start again. And looking at the performance today we have got to take a lot of positives out of it."

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Cureton had made a flying return to the City ranks after his summer move from Colchester, with that brace against Barnet and another two in the 2-1 home win over Southampton in his next game.

They dried up after that, with chances as rare as hen's teeth, although Cureton shouldn't have had to wait until the 67th minute to get back on the scoresheet yesterday after missing two gilt-edged chances in the first half.

The first came on 35 minutes after good work by Darel Russell - the ball fell to Cureton but he hit his shot horribly wide. Then, with half-time fast approaching, he was again in the right place to pick the bones out of a goalmouth melee, but succeeded in poking the ball past the far corner post from eight yards.

Cureton cut a disconsolate figure as he trudged off at half-time, but that was all forgotten when he got on the end of a John Hartson flick to calmly plant a sweet right-foot shot past Neil Alexander and level it at 2-2.

"I just was basically praying the game was not going to end in a loss and those two misses were going to be very much highlighted," he said.

"I didn't mind if I didn't score as long as we got something out of the game. I just didn't want to finish the game if we had lost. I know what I am like; I would have killed myself until the next derby that I had missed two sitters.

"Thankfully we got back into the game with one, but I always felt that there were going to be more chances for me and thankfully there was and I scored the hardest one of the three.

"I tend to score the harder chances. I knew what I was going to do, I've been in that position a lot of times in training and in games and people who know me will know the first thing that was on my mind was to lob it back across. It is all about connecting and thankfully for the first time on the day I managed to get it right.

"It was a massive thing or me, to get my goal, it sort of wiped out the two misses I had, but for the club as a whole, the situation we found ourselves in at half-time we needed to get something out of the game. We had to win at all costs, because obviously things have not been great and we have managed to stop the rot.

"We have lost a lot of games and have not been performing well, but I think for 90 minutes we performed very well - maybe a bit disappointed with the two goals we conceded."

City's next task is to build from the derby point, beginning tomorrow night at home to league leaders Watford.

"It is one game - we now have to reproduce that on Tuesday," he said. "We want the atmosphere the same, we want to play the same and treat every game as a derby.

"I think everyone has gone away positive, the fans definitely, which is a big thing because they were down as much as we were and a bit depressed about everything. There has been a hell of a lot gone on in the last three months so a point today is a massive turning point.

"People think it is like a win, we take it as a sort of win. We needed something, other teams are starting to win and pull away and we don't need that gap getting any bigger so I think the boys will come back in very, very pleased, buzzing and looking forward to Watford."

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