Ghosts of strikers gone

Monday 10th October 2011 14:49

Cureton: Sorely missed

Cureton: Sorely missed

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With Colchester struggling to find the net Daniel Jolly reminisces about a dangerous trio.

Shot shy U's faltering

As you look through the Leyton Orient squad list, you are forgiven for feeling like you are being transported into Dickensian England.

Casting your eyes down, you are haunted by ghosts of Colchester United strikers past - with Jamie Cureton, Kevin Lisbie and David Mooney now all wearing the red of Orient.

In their time in the Blue and White stripes, the trio amassed a total of 45 goals, during 125 games.

Cureton was the first to join the club in October 2005, when manager Phil Parkinson signed him on a month's loan from Swindon. After working with the veteran striker during his time at Reading, Parkinson was convinced that Cureton could bring some cutting edge.

The manager's faith wasn't misguided as the Bristolian forward scored seven goals in just ten games.

He returned on a permanent basis in June 2006 after the Robins were relegated.

He forged a successful partnership alongside Chris Iwelumo. Forming a traditional 'big man, little man' partnership, that combined with devastating effect.

During the 2006/07 season, the pair netted 42 goals between them as the U's finished in 10th place in the Championship. The three most memorable goals of Cureton's 24 came at Roots Hall, home of bitter rivals, Southend.

At the end of the campaign, Curo left Essex citing a lack of ambition from the club as they failed to re-sign a number of key players. He eventually returned to Norwich City for a fee of £825,000.

They say that when one door closes, another one opens. That was certainly the case for Colchester as Kevin Lisbie arrived as a direct replacement for Cureton.


Scepticism was the intial feelings of most U's fans as during the 12 years preceding his arrival in Essex, he only netted 22 goals. He proceeded to prove everyone wrong by scoring 17 goals before déjà vu struck again.

Like a certain Mr Cureton before him, Lisbie departed for a rival club - with Ipswich his destination for £500,000.

This wouldn't be the last that Colchester fans would see of the ex-Charlton man as he made a popular loan return in August 2009, after becoming out of favour at Portman Road.

His second spell began in perfect fashion as he netted a brace in the famous 7-1 victory over Norwich at Carrow Road, with eleven more goals following.

Mooney arrived at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in August 2010, after initially joining on loan from Reading until January. Following a solid start in the stripes, the Irishman decided to extend his stay until the end of the season.

He would end up being the club's top scorer as he ended with 14 goals.

During Colchester's barren summer of transfer activity - especially in terms of adding to their striking ranks - the triumvirate were all linked with returns to Essex.

Manager John Ward played down speculation of all three making returns - insisting that he had other players in mind to strengthen the striking department.

Two months into the season, the U's still only have two recognised strikers on their books - Steven Gillespie and Kayode Odejayi. Both are struggling to find their form in the 2011/12 campaign, with just five goals between them so far. In fact, a striker hasn't netted for 556 minutes.

The last contribution came in the 74th minute of Colchester's 1-1 draw against Scunthorpe at the start of September, when Steven Gillespie found the net.

Ironically, a reminder of what Colchester are missing came on Saturday at Glanford Park. Lisbie netted twice as Orient came from behind to get the three points.

The patience of the fans is running out and while there isn't a lack of goals coming from other areas, the U's faithful are struggling to try and work out how John Ward is seemingly happy with the striking options at his disposal.

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