Ever-present Kem chuffed to score

KEM Izzet finally ended his goal-drought last Saturday, but Colchester United's ever-present midfielder believes that he should be nudging double-figures for the season already.

By Carl Marston

KEM Izzet finally ended his goal-drought last Saturday, but Colchester United's ever-present midfielder believes that he should be nudging double-figures for the season already.

Izzet opened the scoring against third-placed Birmingham, by sweeping home the rebound after Jamie Cureton's initial shot had thudded back off the far post. Blues midfielder Stephen Clemence grabbed an equaliser to force a 1-1 draw.

“I should be on about nine goals for the season!” confessed Izzet, who has played all 33 league and cup games this term.


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“But it was great to finally score, and I've now set myself a little target of scoring five or six goals before the end of the season.

“I've been told that my last goal was against Brighton (March 20, 2004). I remember that one, because it was a header and Rowan Vine set me up,” recalled Izzet.

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Ironically, former team-mate Vine was in the Birmingham starting line-up on Saturday. It was the third time that the 24-year-old striker had played against the U's this campaign, after two appearances for his last club Luton Town, and he has still not finished on the winning side.

Vine scored a consolation goal from the penalty spot as the Hatters crashed to a 4-1 defeat at Layer Road on Boxing Day, but he never looked like scoring on Saturday.

Izzet, by contrast, has kept plugging away this season. His appearances in central midfield have gradually got stronger, as was confirmed by his displays in last week's back-to-back home fixtures.

“I could have scored one or two goals against Preston (1-0 win) in the previous game. That's the way it has been going for me this season, with a lot of shots being cleared or blocked,” continued Izzet.

“Ironically, I've hit most of my previous shots a lot more cleanly than the one I scored from. They just haven't been going in for me this season.

“Of course I was chuffed to score, but I'd rather we had got the three points, so I'm both pleased and disappointed at the same time.

“We played some good football against Preston, and it was a really positive game for me, but Birmingham came here to spoil the game. It was like playing a land of giants at the back, so all you can do is get your foot in and win the ball.

“I was in the right place at the right time to score, but it was a really bitty game. We just had to grind our way through it. We know that we are capable of matching these teams,” added Izzet.

Izzet and Wayne Brown are the only two players to have started every game for the U's this season. They will be looking to continue their excellent record at Barnsley on Saturday.

n Medi Elito, a first-year youth team player at Layer Road, has been called up to the England Under-17 squad for a forthcoming tournament in the Algarve.

Elito was originally on stand-by for the squad, but has been given his chance because of an injury to a team-mate. England Under-17s have games against Portugal, France and Germany, in their build-up to the UEFA European Championships next month.

n Colchester United Reserves' home match against MK Dons, scheduled for tomorrow, has been brought forward 24 hours and will now take place this afternoon (2pm).

n The U's Under-18s chalked up a 1-0 win over visiting Brentford in a Youth Alliance fixture on Saturday, thanks to a 58th-minute penalty from Anthony Wordsworth.

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