Late own goal finally ends Colchester United’s losing run

Owen Garvan, whose 81st minute corner led to the U's equaliser at Oldham this afternoon

Owen Garvan, whose 81st minute corner led to the U's equaliser at Oldham this afternoon - Credit: Su Anderson

Oldham Athletic 1 Colchester United 1

Colchester United avoided setting an outright club record 10th league defeat on the spin, at fellow strugglers Oldham Athletic this afternoon, thanks to a late own goal.

The U’s were undone by a fourth minute corner routine, with striker Rhys Murphy running through uncontested to slot home what looked like being the only goal of the game.

But Oldham could not hang on, and defender Timothee Dieng could only divert home Owen Garvan’s 81st minute corner into his net, to gift the U’s an unlikely equaliser.

Kevin Keen’s men delivered a below-par performance, certainly not up to the standard of their previous two games under new boss Keen, against Southend and at home to Gillingham, but at last their losing run is over.

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Oldham took just four minutes to break the deadlock, catching out the U’s with a slick training ground free-kick routine.

The U’s conceded a needless foul, with Matt Briggs’ unnecessary trip just 25 yards out, and they were punished.

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The visitors expected Mike Jones to shoot, from the free-kick, but instead he slotted a low ball through for an unmarked Danny Philliskirk, who flicked on to the onrushing Murphy.

And Murphy made no mistake, steering his shot beyond the reach of exposed keeper Elliott Parish. There was no defender close to the Latics striker.

But with nine minutes remaining, keeper David Cornell failed to deal with Garvan’s inswinging corner, and the ball appeared to be deflected in off centre-half Dieng.

U’s boss Keen had named an unchanged side from the narrow 1-0 defeat at Gillingham last Monday, which was the U’s ninth league defeat on the trot.

But they found themselves trailing from Oldham’s first attack of the game, with Murphy putting the finish touch to a neat free-kick routine.

The U’s tried to get back on level terms quickly. Marvin Sordell’s goal-bound shot was accidently blocked by fellow striker Chris Porter on 10 minutes, and shortly afterwards Richard Brindley was only a whisker away with a 30-yarder which swerved just wide of the near post.

In the 20th minute, a quickly taken free-kick by Joe Edwards released George Moncur down the left edge of the penalty area. Moncur twisted and turned before teeing up Gavin Massey, whose low 20-yard daisy-cutter was well-smothered by keeper David Cornell.

It was very poor quality fare, although Moncur was unlucky to see his long-rang shot take a deflection on its way wide of target on the half-hour mark.

In a bid to freshen things up, Moncur then moved up to partner Porter in attack, with Sordell switching to the right wing and Massey to the left flank.

Massey did have some joy down the wing, by sprinting beyond his marker and crossing into the danger zone in the 40th minute, but the ball was cut out by defender Timothee Dieng.

The U’s made a change for the start of the second period, with Garvan replacing Joe Edwards in the centre of the park.

But it was Oldham who stepped up a gear, after the interval, and Parish had to arch back to finger-tip Jake Cassidy’s bullet header over his bar, from Mike Jones’ 52nd minute free-kick.

The U’s were also wobbling, from the ensuing corner, with Parish again coming to the visitors’ rescue with an instinctive block from Brian Wilson, the former U’s skipper.

United did not really threaten, in the second period, until Alex Gilbey whipped over a free-kick, in the 62nd minute. A diving Tom Eastman was inches away with connecting, deep inside the six-yard box. It only needed a touch.

Moncur also sliced a shot wide, from 15 yards out, as the U’s enjoyed a purple patch midway through the half.

On 72 minutes, Sordell had a sight of goal, after shrugging off a defender, but he blasted horribly over the top from a narrow angle.

However, the U’s did grab an equaliser in the 81st minute, when Garvan’s corner eluded keeper Cornell and seemed to go in off defender Dieng.

And three minutes later, only the woodwork denied the U’s a winning goal as substitute Darren Ambrose’s rising shot struck the bar and dropped to safety.


OLDHAM ATHLETIC: Cornell, B Wilson, Dummigan, Dieng, Mills, Philliskirk, Kelly, Jones, Wellens, Murphy (sub Poleon, 74), Cassidy. Unused subs: Coleman, J Wilson, Croft, Rasulo, Winchester, Yeates.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Parish, Brindley, Eastman, Elokobi, Briggs (sub Wynter, 59), Edwards (sub Garvan, 46), Gilbey, Moncur (sub Ambrose, 70), Sordell, Porter. Unused subs: Barnes, Wright, Lapslie. Vincent-Young.

Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire)

Attendance: 3,535 (101 away fans)

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