Colchester U (1) 1 V Oldham (0) 0
Saturday, March 7 2009 Boundary Park
Clive Platt`s effort sealed a win for Colchester United yesterday against Oldham after a very professional away-day display.
The first-half performance was hailed by one interviewee as the best-ever since Paul Lambert arrived in October. The Scot admitted that the team could have been four-nil up at the break.
Platt`s goal, his sixth of the season, came inside two minutes as a barnstorming start by United evoked their vintage smash-and-grab tactics of 2006/7 in the Championship.
“After the first-half, we should have been out of sight – we should have had four.” Lambert told the BBC after the game. “It wouldn`t have flattered us, because I thought we were terrific.”
By contrast, the opposing manager called his XI a “shambles.” Oldham`s side featured former Premier League talents like on-loan striker, Dean Windass, Sean Gregan and Steve Kabba.
That Colchester have a double-header of home games to come against strugglers Crew Alexandria and then Swindon Town makes this win look timely, even if it is premature to say it could be a last-chance spring board toward the play-off positions.
The U`s made several changes to the side that drew against Huddersfield this week, with injury preventing midfielder Mark Yeates and Paul Reid from inclusion; Yeates was not even in the squad, for the first time this campaign.
Defender Chris Coyne and striker Steven Gillespie deputised, the latter handed his first start since January having spent the previous four matches on the bench. Ex-Oldham boys Marc Tierney and Scott Vernon also both featured in the game.
Platt`s solitary game-winner was because of his good reactions. The powerful striker claimed a stray back-pass from one-time Aston Villa defender Reuben Hazell to force an opener.
It was intended for Oldham goalkeeper, Greg Fleming, but instead the chance fell to Platt thanks to this mistake.
The side grew in confidence, and Hazell was again in action, this time for a positive reason – he managed to clear the ball off the line from Marc Tierney, while the home side weathered an onslaught from the lively United midfield. Simon Hackney, David Perkins and Kem Izzet all had opportunities to extend the lead. Steve Gillespie also hit the bar.
In the second half, Oldham improved. Mark Cousins palmed Kabba`s early effort away and the Latics also hit the post.
Another save from Cousins, who kept his place from the surprise selection this week after injury to Jimmy Walker, kept Colchester`s win intact, and United won a deserved three points.
U’s: Cousins, Maybury, Coyne, Baldwin, Tierney, Hackney (Wordsworth 77), Perkins, Hammond, Izzet, Gillespie (Vernon 65), Platt (Wasiu 78).
Subs Not Used: Gerken, White.
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