Cureton brace sets up City victory
St James' Park
Jamie Cureton`s double helped Exeter City to a possibly pivotal 2-1 victory over Leyton Orient.
Both sides look likely to come up short in their late scamper for the play-offs but it was clear to see why these two perceived over-achievers have transformed from relegation fodder to promotion dreamers in the space of twelve months.
Almost a year ago to the day the same teams played out a disjointed goalless draw. On that day the game was starved of the necessary quality and innovation needed to win games at this level. Today, two footballing sides served up an entertaining game filled with positive intent.
Fresh off the back of three straight wins Paul Tisdale`s side fearlessly rained wave after wave of attack down on their opponents in a pulsating opening. The only surprise was that such a spell of dominance only yielded the one goal.
Only four minutes had elapsed when Daniel Nardiello delivered the killer pass at at the end of a sweeping team move. Cutting in off right flank the Welshman threaded a pinpoint low cross between keeper and defender for the prolific Cureton to tap home.
The Grecians sensed blood, Nardiello flashed a shot over the bar and Cureton almost connected with Scott Golbourne`s cross at the far post as City threatened to disappear out of sight.
Shell-shocked Orient were rocking, Elliot Omozusi`s header back to his keeper was far too weak but the opportunist Cureton lifted his effort just over the bar.
Having sustained limited damage from the early siege to their goal Orient stunned St James` Park with an unannounced equaliser. Collecting Charlie Daniels` pass Dean Cox took one touch before unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard shot past a helpless Ben Hamer - one of the best goals seen at the Park this season.
Brimming with confidence Cox almost repeated the trick midway through the first-half, once again his speculative drive beat Hamer but this time his shot crashed back off the post.
City were to calve out one more chance for themselves before the break. James Dunne`s run and cross hung invitingly in the air for Nardiello to attack but he was just off target with his attempt.
whilst not as frantic, the second period was equally engaging as both sides cancelled each other out with defences on top.
Despite enjoying prolonged periods of possession City we struggling to fashion telling contributions in the final third. Richard Logan`s introduction refocused the attack and his uncomplicated back-to-goal play helped swing the momentum back the way of the home side.
Sure enough Logan had a hand in City`s winner on 79 minutes. Stretching for a loose ball the striker stabbed an awkward strike at goal which Jamie Jones could only parry into the path of the onrushing Cureton who couldn`t miss.
City survived one or two scares in stoppage time but Hamer was in imperious form when called upon as City racked up a fourth consecutive league victory.
Too little too late? Quite probably, but you never know. Bournemouth have regained sixth spot, three places and five points above City with four left to play.
City: Hamer, Tully, Duffy, Archibald-Henville, Golbourne, Dunne, Noble, Harley, Sercombe (Logan), Nardeillo (Thomson), Cureton