OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0, COLCHESTER UNITED 1
Oldham Athletic slipped up yet again against a team at the foot of Sky Bet League One as Colchester United triumphed at SportsDirect.com Park.
Latics have failed to beat any of the sides in the bottom four, an inherent failing and something of a conundrum.
After beating Swindon Town, one of the favourites for promotion four days earlier, it is a puzzle why they toiled against a struggling side.
And how the U’s must wish they played at Oldham every week as they have a remarkable record – they are unbeaten in their last seven visits which has yielded three wins and four draws.
This time Sammie Szmodics’ second minute goal was the difference between the two sides as the forward struck the decisive blow.
Liam Kelly had the ball in the net deep into additional time as Latics thought they had snatched a point, but the assistant’s flag prevented the goal from counting.
It was especially disappointing for the bumper crowd of 5,668 who took advantage of the £5 Valentine’s Day special offer. It is not the first time Latics have put on such a promotion only for the team to fail to deliver on the pitch.
And the only cheer for Latics is that they stay in the play-off places after Chesterfield’s late defeat.
Latics got off to the worst possible when they failed to clear a David Fox corner and Szmodics put the ball beyond Jake Kean to open the scoring for the U’s.
It was a nasty jolt as Latics struggled to create an opening against a resolute Colchester defence.
After half an hour, Colchester could have doubled their lead when Gavin Massey let fly from 25 yards but keeper Jake Kean saved well.
The visitors again went close two minutes later as goalscorer Szmodics ghosted behind Kelly but shot wide.
The way Latics started the second half suggested they must have had a rollicking at the break as Mike Jones shot wide.
Kean was alert at the other end as Massey nipped inside Brian Wilson but the goalkeeper saved well with his feet.
Latics had their best opportunity of the game ten minutes into the second half when Jacob Mellis curled a shot from the edge of the box, but U’s keeper Sam Walker tipped the ball around the post.
Johnson made a triple change to get back into the game with Carl Winchester, Rhys Turner and Dominic Poleon replacing Jones, Mellis and Rhys Murphy who had been making his first start.
They made an instant impact as Latics looked more of a threat, but the U’s defence stood resolute.
Just after the hour mark, leading goalscorer Forte raced through one-on-one with Walker but failed to find the net.
Latics threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the U’s as Kelly was denied by Walker before opposite number Kean pulled off a super stop to deny Massey.
Dominic Poleon went close for Latics curling an effort just wide of the upright before the drama deep in additional time when Kelly thought he had snatched a draw only for the joy to be cruelly cut short by an assistant’s flag.