Report and Gallery: Colchester United 0 Oldham Athletic 0

Sammy Szmodics hits the inside of the Olham post with this second half shot

Sammy Szmodics hits the inside of the Olham post with this second half shot

Colchester United 0 Oldham Athletic 0

U’s Colchester United are still searching for their first win of the season, despite an encouraging second-half display against Oldham at the Weston Homes Community Stadium tonight.

The U’s failed to win any of their first seven league and cup fixtures of last season, and they have now drawn a blank with their first four fixtures of this campaign.

However, the U’s could count themselves a shade unfortunate not to beat the Latics, especially as Sammie Szmodics rattled a post with a superb effort in the 53rd minute.

Darren Ambrose had also gone close, early in the second period, while keeper Elliot Parish made sure that the U’s at least took a point with an excellent double save to thwart Jonathan Forte and Lee Croft, just before the hour mark.

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The U’s have taken two points from their first three league fixtures, but will hope for a bigger haul at Fleetwood Town this Saturday.

There was a surprise in the U’s team selection, with no place in the starting XI, or even the 18-man squad, for George Moncur.

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Midfielder Moncur had bagged nine goals last term, second only to leading scorer Freddie Sears, but he was substituted during the second half of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Peterborough, and did not look happy with the decision.

But although ex-West Ham man Moncur had looked angry and upset with that decision, he did shake hands with manager Tony Humes as he passed the dug-out.

Szmodics replaced Moncur in the attacking midfield role tonight, one of two changes to the team from the loss at London Road. The other change saw teenager Kane Vincent-Young come in for the injured Matt Briggs at left-back.

It was a very subdued opening from both sides, although Oldham looked comfortable on the ball following their 1-0 home win over near-neighbours Fleetwood last Saturday.

Winger Lee Croft took a tumble in the box, under a challenge from Szmodics on seven minutes, but referee Keith Hill was not impressed and awarded a goal-kick.

Gavin Massey did threaten on the break for the U’s in the ninth minute, but he dragged his shot across goal from keeper Eliot Parish’s big punt upfield.

Otherwise, there was no goalmouth action of any note during a disappointing first half-hour, with the exception of U’s keeper Elliot Parish catching Jonathan Forte’s cross-cum-shot at his near post.

Oldham did go close from a 37th minute corner routine, with defender James Wilson’s shot at the far post fizzing across goal. There was some pinball in the U’s box before Vincent-Young cleared from Rhys Turner’s blocked effort.

The U’s showed a marked improvement at the start of the second half, going close on three occasions inside the first 10 minutes.

Joe Edwards tried his luck with a long-range volley which dipped just over the bar, while Darren Ambrose sliced a shot narrowly wide with just keeper Coleman to beat.

And only the woodwork denied the hosts an opening goal on 53 minutes, as Szmodics’ superb toe-poked shot, at full stretch between two defenders, cannoned back off the post.

Parish then performed heroics with a double save at the other end, to keep Oldham at bay in the 59th minute. Having parried Forte’s goal-bound drive, he recovered to beat away Croft’s follow-up with an instinctive save.

It had been a far more entertaining second period, and livewire Szmodics almost benefited from a slack back pass by Wilson, only for keeper Coleman to hack away in the nick of the time.

COLCHESTER: Parish, Brindley, Wynter, Eastman, Vincent-Young, Edwards, Gilbey, Szmodics, Massey, Bonne, Ambrose (sub Sembie-Ferris, 87). Unused subs: Lewington, Elokobi, Wright, Olufemi, Kent, Dunne.

OLDHAM: Coleman, Brow, J Wilson, Burn, Mills, Croft, Jones, Kelly (sub Dieng, 75), Forte, Philliskirk (sub Dunn, 61), Turner (for Green, 71). Unused subs: Cornell, Poleon, Winchester, Murphy.

Referee: Keith Hill (Herts)

Attendance: 2,917 (207 away fans)

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