U’s and me: Can Freddie Sears emulate the 20-plus goal exploits of Jamie Cureton?
Only one Colchester United striker, in the last 22 years, has reached the 20-goal milestone for a season.
In fact, the only U’s player to achieve that landmark, since the Essex club returned to the Football League in 1992, has been Jamie Cureton.
Livewire Cureton, who is still playing at the ripe old age of 39 (for Dagenham & Redbridge), plundered 24 goals during the U’s most successful ever season in their history, including 23 league goals as Geraint Williams’ men finished 10th in the Championship in 2006-07, and so 30th in the Football League pyramid.
Cureton’s heroics have stood out as a lone beacon – but now current striker Freddie Sears is on course to shine just as brightly this season.
Sears has already rattled up 12 goals to his name this campaign, 20 19 appearances, nine in the league and three in cup competitions.
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The ex-West Ham attacker netted his 10th and 11th goals in a 6-3 win at Gosport Borough, in the first round of the FA Cup, so setting up a second round tie at home to fellow League One side Peterborough. He bagged his 12th goal in the 3-2 defeat at Barnsley last Friday night.
One of Sears’ goals at Gosport was a penalty, calmly slotted home in the 26th minute to put the U’s 3-0 up.
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It certainly helps, with the end-of-season goal total, if a striker can convert a few penalties, and that spot kick was all the more important when considered that Sears had missed his previous one, in the 2-1 home defeat to Port Vale.
Of course, the prospects of Sears becoming only the second U’s player to score 20 goals in a season in 23 years – the previous one to Cureton was player-coach Roy McDonough with his 29 goals in the non-league double season of 1991-92 – could hinge on what happens when the transfer window reopens in January.
Sears’ current contract expires this summer, and other clubs will have been keeping a close eye on the 24-year-old’s impressive form this season.
The U’s have already offered Sears a new contract, and will be hoping that he puts pen to paper in the next few weeks.
Otherwise, they might have to cash in on their prize asset in January, or face the threat of him leaving on a free transfer next summer.
Such are the realities of football.
List of the U’s top goal-scorers since 1992 (in all competitions):
1992-93: Gary Bennett & Steve McGavin (both 10 goals)
1993-94: Steve Brown (13)
1994-95: Steve Whitton (13)
1995-96: Tony Adcock (17)
1996-97: Tony Adcock (14)
1997-98: Mark Sale (8)
1998-99: David Gregory (14)
1999-2000: Steve McGavin (16)
2000-01: Mick Stockwell (11)
2001-02: Scott McGleish (16)
2002-03: Joe Keith & Scott McGleish (9)
2003-04: Scott McGleish (17)
2004-05: Craig Fagan (14)
2005-06: Chris Iwelumo (19)
2006-07: JAMIE CURETON (24)
2007-08: Kevin Lisbie (17)
2008-09: Mark Yeates (13)
2009-10: Kevin Lisbie (13)
2010-11: David Mooney (14)
2011-12: Anthony Wordsworth (13)
2012-13: Jabo Ibehre & Freddie Sears (both 8)
2013-14: Freddie Sears (12)