Old boy bags hat-trick as U's fall apart

Norwich City 5 Colchester United 1By Carl MarstonFORMER Colchester United marksman Jamie Cureton bagged a hat-trick as the U's dreadful run continued at Carrow Road.

Norwich City 5 Colchester United 1

By Carl Marston

FORMER Colchester United marksman Jamie Cureton bagged a hat-trick as the U's dreadful run continued at Carrow Road.

Hosts Norwich City eased their own relegation worries with a comfortable victory, while at the same time leaving the U's rooted to the basement with relegation now inevitable.


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Canaries right-back, Jon Ostemobor, broke the deadlock after just six minutes with a fine solo goal, before Cureton doubled the lead with a lethal volley from Darren Huckerby's cross on 36 minutes.

Geraint Williams' men gave themselves a fighting chance by halving the deficit before half-time, thanks to Kevin Lisbie's 15th goal of the season.

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But it was one-way traffic throughout the second-half. Cureton converted a 53rd minute penalty, following Phil Ifil's foul on Matty Pattison, and then crashed home Norwich's fourth and his hat-trick goal in the 88th minute.

There was still time for Dion Dublin to score a fifth in injury-time, thanks to a sublime chip over a stranded Dean Gerken.

The U's have now collected just two points from a possible 27 in their last nine games, with seven defeats and just two draws.

Norwich struck with the opening goal after just six minutes, thanks to a wonderful solo goal from OTSEMOBOR.

There seemed to be little danger when Otsemobor collected the ball near the half-way line. The Canaries right-back decided to embark on a run that gained momentum as he eluded the lunge of Adam Virgo and then held off the challenge of Medy Elito inside the box.

Otsemobor then applied a killer finishing touch, firing home past Dean Gerken from the right side of the box, the ball soaring into the far corner of the net.

The Liverpool-born defender was 40-1 against scoring the first goal of the game. It was also his first goal for the Canaries.

This quickfire opener therefore ensured that the U's had now gone 38 games without a clean-sheet.

CURETON doubled the lead for Norwich in the 36th minute, so chalking up his 12th goal of the campaign.

Huckerby was the creator. He beat defender White for pace down the right wing and whipped over a cross for Cureton to volley home in clinical fashion. The 33-year-old connected sweetly with the cross, hooking home with his right boot.

The U's were denied by the woodwork in the 40th minute. Lisbie met Phil Ifil's precise cross with a powerful header from eight yards out that cannoned off the top of the bar and dropped to safety.

Yet less than a minute later and LISBIE was on target for his 15th goal of the campaign. A mistake by defender Jason Shackell, who could only head White's long ball forward into the path of Lisbie, set up the chance on a plate.

Lisbie was through on goal, but he still showed terrific composure to sidefoot past keeper Marshall and then stay on his feet to poke into an empty net, despite the desperate late challenge of a back-tracking Shackell.

Dublin was so close to restoring Norwich's two-goal lead in the 52nd minute. The veteran striker spotted that Gerken was off his line and tried his luck with an outrageous lob from 35 yards out. Gerken gave up the ghost but the ball ricocheted back off the bar and into the path of Cureton, who blasted the rebound over the bar.

However, CURETON was not to be denied as he scored City's third goal from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute.

Skipper Mark Fotheringham delivered a cross from the right wing that Cureton missed, but the ball carried on through for Pattison, who was upended by Ifil on the edge of the six-yard box. Referee Mark Haywood had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Up stepped Cureton to send Gerken the wrong way with his penalty, so notching his 13th goal of the season.

Norwich added a fourth, with CURETON completing his hat-trick, to seal the win in the 88th minute. Substitute Rigters crossed from the left flank and Dublin nudged the ball back into the path of Cureton, who found the back of the net with a thunderous 12-yard shot.

And DUBLIN completed the rout with a fifth goal in the second minute of injury-time. The veteran striker latched onto the loose ball, from Russell's deflected shot, and beat Gerken with a sublime chip from just inside the penalty area.

That put the finishing touches to another miserable afternoon for the U's.

Squads

NORWICH CITY: Marshall 7, Otsemobor 8, Shackell 6, Doherty 6 (sub Pearce, 46, 6), Bertrand 7, Huckerby 7 (sub Rigters, 78), Fotheringham 7, Russell 7, Pattison 7 (sub Croft, 54, 6), Dublin 8, CURETON 9. Unused subs: Camara, Evans.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken 6, Ifil 6, Balogh 5, Virgo 6, White 5, Izzet 6, Jackson 6, Hammond 6, Elito 5 (sub Vernon, 46, 6), LISBIE 7 (sub Wordsworth, 71), Platt 6. Unused subs: Baldwin, Guy, Bankole.

Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 25,215

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