Mixed feelings for former Layer Road hero
Chris Lakey Jamie Cureton silenced the visiting Colchester fans with his first hat-trick for Norwich City - but insisted he still had a soft spot for the club he left last summer for Carrow Road.
Jamie Cureton silenced the visiting Colchester fans with his first hat-trick for Norwich City - but insisted he still had a soft spot for the club he left last summer for Carrow Road
Cureton was booed by the visiting contingent each time he touched the ball - echoes of the frosty reception he got when he played at Layer Road back in December - but he responded in the perfect way by taking his tally for the season to 12 in 24 starts.
Last season, while he was at Colchester, Cureton scored in both games against the Canaries, but respected his warm reception from Norwich fans by refusing to celebrate.
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On Saturday, he was able to break off the shackles against the side sitting bottom of the table and seemingly heading towards League One football next season.
"I said after the last game that if that's their way of treating me then I won't go mental, but I will celebrate my goals, and obviously they booed me from the start, so I always had it in my head I would celebrate.
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"But I still feel for them, it is nothing against the club and nothing against my old team-mates. I have some very, very good friends there and I am disappointed to see where they are and they deserve a lot more because they work tirelessly, their whole ethic is on work rate.
"It is just a shame - the club seems to be moving in the right direction, the stadium is coming and all that sort of stuff, and it looks at the moment like they could go down.
"It is not the step they wanted and I feel for them, definitely."
Cureton has been frustrated by some poor misses in front of goal recently, most notably a late, late chance against Stoke which would have salvaged a point. But there as no doubting his pedigree on Saturday as he put City 2-0 up nine minutes before the break, made it 3-1 from the penalty spot not long after half-time and then, late on, added City's fourth.
Other chances came his way too as City finally found their goal touch.
"I probably had two other chances - but three out of five isn't bad," he said.
"It' been one of those seasons; I have missed a lot of chances and scored a few, but I always back myself - if I play enough games then I'm normally a one-in-two and I always back myself to score.
"Even when I missed the chances I knew it seemed one of those games - you can tell there are going to be more chances. I am always confident, even when I miss, it doesn't faze me. I get annoyed because I feel I should score but I back myself all the time to take my chances.
"I have done that all season, I have had a lot of downs and stuff and a lot of pressure but on the whole things have managed today to come my way and I'm pleased."
It was hat-trick number 10 of Cureton's career - which began with City back in November, 1994 - but his first in Norwich colours.
"I think the only club I didn't score a hat-trick for was Swindon," he said. "Every other club I have managed to get one if not two, or three with Bristol Rovers. It is very special being my 10th and for Norwich and against Colchester so it has all come into place."