Thorpe hope for U's

TONY Thorpe may not have scored on his full debut for Colchester United, but he achieved the next best thing - setting up the winner.Front-runner Thorpe was chopped down by Swindon keeper Rhys Evans, leading to the 14th-minute penalty which Chris Iweloumo converted.

By Carl Marston

TONY Thorpe may not have scored on his full debut for Colchester United, but he achieved the next best thing - setting up the winner.

Front-runner Thorpe was chopped down by Swindon keeper Rhys Evans, leading to the 14th-minute penalty which Chris Iweloumo converted. It proved to be the only goal of the game.

While Jamie Cureton was back at Layer Road, leading the Robins front-line after a successful loan stint with the U's, his former strike-force partner Thorpe was handed his first U's start, ironically against his old employers.


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It was interesting to compare the performances of both strikers. Cureton netted seven goals in 10 outings for Colchester last autumn, while Thorpe has only mustered one goal all season - for Swindon. Yet Thorpe certainly won Saturday's head-to-head.

“Considering this was my first real game for three months, I surprised even myself!” insisted Thorpe after the 1-0 win. “I was pleased with my contribution, although I know that there is a lot more to come. It was nice to play a big part in what was a big win for the team, although I could have scored two goals today.

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“If I'd had a few more games under my belt, then I reckon I would have scored a couple. However, their keeper (Rhys Evans) made some good saves.

“People would obviously have been making the comparison between me and Jamie (Cureton) today. I'd like to think that I made the more important contribution, although Jamie obviously scored a lot of goals for Colchester earlier in the season,” added Thorpe.

Former Luton Town, Bristol City and QPR striker Thorpe has had to bide his time at Layer Road, since arriving during the January transfer window.

The 31-year-old had failed to make a serious impact at Swindon during the first half of the campaign, managing just one goal in 10 appearances, and his opportunities with Colchester had been restricted to just four brief outings as a substitute.

That was until Saturday, when he teamed up to good effect with leading scorer Iwelumo. Now he is hoping for a big role to play in the U's late bid for promotion.

Thorpe continued: “We have some big games coming up, and I want to be involved. I'm looking at making the top two. It's not beyond us.

“Although I haven't been playing much, I've kept fit. The gaffer makes sure that even the players who are not in the team are still very fit.

“It's been a frustrating last few weeks for me. The team has struggled a little since the Chelsea game, which took a lot out of the lads both physically and mentally.

“But this was a big win. We really should have scored a few more goals, and won by three or four. I was pleased to play my part, by winning the penalty. I managed to turn the centre-half.

“Swindon are a team who are fighting for their lives. They had chances themselves, but I thought we thoroughly deserved the win.

“Perhaps a few people thought that the gaffer kept me on for 15 minutes longer than expected (finally substituted after 80 minutes). I certainly thought so! I'm feeling a bit tired, and I'll probably be very stiff in the morning.

“But we have some big games coming up, and I want to play more games now,” added Thorpe, who has a short-term contract until the end of the season.

The U's travel to mid-table Doncaster Rovers tomorrow, and are back on the road next weekend for a trip to Scunthorpe United.

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