Cureton grabs hat-trick as U's win

JAMIE Cureton enjoyed an early birthday present by bagging a hat-trick and so helping Colchester United to their first points of the season, at the expense of woeful Derby County.

By Carl Marston

JAMIE Cureton enjoyed an early birthday present by bagging a hat-trick and so helping Colchester United to their first points of the season, at the expense of woeful Derby County.

The U's were terrific value for this first ever victory in the Championship, although two late goals led to an uncomfortable final few minutes for Geraint Williams' men.

Cureton scored twice in a two-minute spell midway through the first-half, firing home the opener in the 28th minute and then heading in Kevin Watson's free-kick on the half-hour mark.

Derby striker Arturo Lupoli pulled a goal back before the break, but the U's were soon in charge again. Chris Iwelumo tucked away a 49th minute penalty, and Cureton rounded off his hat-trick with a deft lob on 67 minutes. He celebrates his 31st birthday on Monday.

Derby had been outclassed, but they were given hope by a second goal from Lupoli in the 80th minute, and a header from substitute Paul Peschisolido on 88 minutes.

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It would have been very cruel on Colchester to have been denied a victory at the death. But they held on to get their Championship campaign up and running.