Best win of the lot

COLCHESTER United boss Phil Parkinson believes that his on-loan striker Jamie Cureton is worth his weight in gold.Cureton tucked home his seventh goal for the U's, in just six starts, to snatch all three points in a backs-to-the-wall 1-0 victory at Hartlepool on Tuesday night.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United boss Phil Parkinson believes that his on-loan striker Jamie Cureton is worth his weight in gold.

Cureton tucked home his seventh goal for the U's, in just six starts, to snatch all three points in a backs-to-the-wall 1-0 victory at Hartlepool on Tuesday night.

The 30-year-old's predatory effort, slotting home Mark Yeates' deflected cross from the narrowest of angles, extended United's amazing winning streak to eight games, which equals the club record set during the autumn of 1987.

“Jamie (Cureton) was not at his best, but he did it for us again,” said a jubilant Parkinson.

“However well or badly he is playing, he is always likely to score a goal. I played with Jamie for so long when I was a player (at Reading), and I know what he's about.

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“He just keeps plugging away, waiting for that half-chance. He's scored seven goals already, which tells a story,” added Parkinson.

The in-form U's powered into the play-off zone, thanks to their first victory at Victoria Park for 15 years. They leapfrogged Chesterfield into sixth spot, after Roy McFarland's men could only share a goal-less draw at Southend.

Hartlepool had been humbled by non-league Tamworth in the FA Cup last Saturday, suffering a 2-1 home defeat. The U's expected a backlash on Tuesday night, but they weathered the storm, bolstered by another solid display of goalkeeping from 37-year-old Aidan Davison.

Parkinson continued: “We came to Hartlepool expecting an enormous reaction, following their Cup defeat, and so it proved.

“They came at us like a house on fire at the start of the match. The pressure was on our lads, but they stood up to it. We knew that we would have to defend well.

“We have a lot of big characters in the squad now. There are seven or eight players in the team that you can hang your hat on to be strong characters.

“This is a winning team, and everyone wants to be in it.

“Aidan (Davison) was exceptional for us. Conditions were very difficult, with all the rain and a wet ball, but everything stuck for Aidan. He dealt with all the crosses, and the back four stood up well in front of him.

“We deserve to be in the top six after this fantastic run. At times we have played with attacking flair, but on other occasions we have had to battle.

“Other teams will have been looking out for our result at Hartlepool, waiting to see how we would fair after a long journey on a wet and cold Tuesday night.

“People will look at the fact that we have come away with a win, and realise that Colchester are capable of sustaining a promotion bid this season.

“This result will tell them what we are all about. In fact, out of the eight wins, this latest is the best result yet, because it had everything.

“As a player and a manager, I have never been on a run like this before. It's very enjoyable,” added Parkinson.

The U's remarkable run of victories, that began at the end of October, has featured five league wins and three cup triumphs. The Essex club have notched League One victories over Yeovil, Rotherham, Blackpool, Gillingham and Hartlepool, knocked out Leamington and Shrewsbury from the FA Cup, and beaten Northampton in the LDV Vans Trophy.

They now have a chance to beat the old record, which has lasted for 18 years, although they couldn't face a tougher task - an away match at league leaders Swansea City this Saturday.

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