Master poacher Cureton delighted to keep defenders and age at bay
Jamie Cureton is proving at 37 that age is certainly no barrier. The Exeter City striker netted a superb brace in Saturday's 4-2 victory at Oxford United and showed that there is plenty of life left in the old dog yet.
In fact, on Saturday's showing, Cureton is perhaps enjoying his football more than ever. His double took his tally for the season to five in as many League games and maintained Exeter's fantastic start to the npower League Two season.
However, Cureton is a realist. He knows he is in the twilight years of a distinguished career and, as the goals keep coming, he is enjoying every minute. And, rather ominously for City's League Two rivals, he has no desire to hang his boots up just yet.
"I don't like to set myself any targets, but if I can play until I'm 40, then that will be some achievement for myself. I enjoy training and love the game and if I can stay fit, then I will keep going," Cureton said.
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"The key thing for me is that I still enjoy my football. The boys can't understand it! They see my age and I get frustrated coming off, frustrated losing games and I even get frustrated losing games in training. I love the game and that is what keeps me going.
"I have been OK with injuries and my legs are good. Until they go or I lose my appetite for the game, then I'll keep going."
Cureton has made a decent living out of getting goals. He is a master poacher, having netted 236 times in all four divisions of English football, but his weekend brace were not typical Cureton tap-ins. The first was a 20-yard shot into the top corner after a solo run that started inside his own half and the second a fine individual strike in which he beat his man on halfway, ran in on goal and lofted the ball delicately over the goalkeeper.
"I'll take them as they come! It's unusual for someone of my age to pick the ball up and run for 30 yards and then smash it in the top corner, but it just happened that they were the chances that came to me," he said.
"I have had a few runs like this, but not many at the start of the season, I tend to score most of my goals later in the season. I am hoping that, if it carries on, I will have a good tally.
"I don't have many years left, which is disappointing for me, so I want to make sure that I have a good year. Thankfully, I am playing in a team that does create chances and plays in a certain way which suits me.
"I am trying things that I haven't done for years. Maybe you start to doubt yourself, but I guess it's confidence and there is still a bit of pace in the legs yet. I'm just really enjoying my football."
Such was the quality of Cureton's goals and his all-round performance that even the Oxford fans rose as one to applaud. "It was quite nice," said Cureton, whose career included a brief spell with United's arch-rivals Swindon Town. "They applauded both of my goals as well, which is quite unusual because you usually get abused when you celebrate in the corner.
"It's great for us to come away to a tough place and one of the favourites, but I think we have shown what we can do and what we are capable of."